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New hope of attack re-trial; CRIME: Case review after club brawl victim 'nearly died'.

Byline: Emma Stone

THE CROWN Prosecution Service has pledged to review the case of a Coventry businessman who spent two weeks on a life support machine following a nightclub attack.

Joe Richards, who owns a chain of fruit and veg shops across the Midlands, suffered multiple skull fractures, a brain haemorrhage and "died" twice in hospital following the attack almost four years ago.

The 40-year-old says the attack, which also robbed him of a sense of taste or smell, was completely unprovoked.

But the police and prosecution accepted the account of his attacker that he was provoked, hit Mr Richards from the front in response to a punch thrown at him and that the businessmen then fell to the floor.

His attacker was charged with grievous bodily harm with intent. But in court he pleaded guilty to a lesser charge and was fined and given 200 hours community service.

Since then, Mr Richards and his legal team have been working to have the case re-examined, using obscure case law last used 40 years ago. The Exception to the Elrington Principle maintains individuals can be retried if new evidence comes to light proving they had previously been charged with the wrong or a lesser offence.

In recent months, Mr Richards, who was left brain-damaged by the incident, submitted new medical and witness evidence supporting his case to the Director of Public Prosecutions, the head of the CPS, along with arguments by eminent barrister Hugh Tomlinson QC, in his bid to get the case reopened.

Initially he was told by the CPS that they would not re-prosecute his attacker, but now the service has pledged to fully review the case and conduct a complete appraisal to establish whether the man convicted of the attack can be re-tried. Mr Richards said: "It is with great relief that I heard that the CPS has looked further into the newly gathered evidence, and that they have realised it has a high level of credibility and as such they have decided to carry out a more in-depth investigation.

The ultimate aim of the CPS is to see that justice prevails and they will do what they can to achieve this, even if that means correcting gross miscarriages of justice where needed.

"I am extremely grateful that the CPS is keen to see that justice wins through."


and is fighting to have the case against his attacker re-examined.
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Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Sep 2, 2009
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