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“You must never give up”. Successful Appeal against a Life Sentence

“You must never give up”. Successful Appeal against a Life Sentence

Given a life sentence for murder in the UK, he was released and went back to Poland in January this year. In total he spent over 6 years imprisoned in England.  After two Appeals and fighting for his release and a change in the category of the crime, the lawyer Anna Matelska from the Legal Firm “AM International Solicitors”- in London had successfully taken up his case and overturned his sentence. “I think, that it can give hope to many convicted persons abroad to never ever give up” – said the lawyer.

The Media gave heavy coverage to the case, when a few years ago in Northampton the remains of a Polish man, who had gone missing half a year before, were found. It was not possible to establish how he had died but after almost two years from the date of his disappearance, four suspects were arrested.

The investigation revealed that the deceased was a 27 year -old man who had been living with his girlfriend in London. He was addicted to Amphetamine and had run up debts with a Polish acquaintance. This acquaintance was friendly with the 26 year -old man who was later accused with the murder of the above. The pair searched for the 27 year- old man to retrieve the money from him and they finally found him. The Crown Prosecution presented the case accusing that they took him by force to the house of the acquaintance to whom he owed the money. He was held there and beaten. Other men also took part in this attempt to retrieve the money from him.

The 27 year- old man was sending text messages to his girlfriend and a friend, asking for their help. He stated to them that if he did not give back what he owed then he would be killed. His partner was able to collect a small sum but she received a phone call that the sum was too small and that she should try to get some more.  And that was that. She never saw her boyfriend again. One of the witnesses later stated that he was at the house where the 27-year-old had been held and beaten and that he saw that he had been threatened with a knife only by the man to whom he owed the money.

To this day it is not known what happened next but it is known that two days later the 27-year-old Polish man was driven from the house. It is not known if he was dead at this juncture or whether he was only unconscious. When more than half a year later his remains were found, they were in such a state of decomposition, damaged by animals and agricultural equipment that the cause of death could not be established. The man to whom the 27-year-old owed the money and a second Polish man, who was later sentenced to life for the murder, had left for Amsterdam. The former died in a car accident in Poland and was therefore never called to account for his actions.  The second man was arrested almost two years later, along with a few other Polish men who had been involved in the case. The Coroner was unable to establish the cause of death.

The accused 26-year-old Polish man, who during the kidnapping was 24 years old, was the only one from among the four arrested that was sentenced for murder. He was given a life sentence of at least 22 years without parole. The second arrested man was sentenced for manslaughter, kidnapping, unlawful imprisonment and preventing the right to burial. The third man only for kidnapping. The fourth was not found guilty at all.  Additionally, the accused was also given – 4 years for kidnapping, 4 years for unlawful imprisonment and 5 years for preventing the right for burial – all of them to run consecutively.

The first Judgement for murder was revoked by the Court of Appeal in the year 2013 but after the trial was discontinued and then held again in full, the accused was again found guilty of murder. This Judgement was also revoked by the Court of Appeal in the year 2018. The Law was then changed in Great Britain regarding joint enterprise in murder cases. The Court of Appeal decided that a retrial with a Jury would take place in the middle of 2018 and this trial brought a breakthrough in the case. In the first day of the trial, the Crown Prosecution accepted a manslaughter plea. The Prosecution did not have sufficient evidence regarding the circumstances of the death and what had occurred during the murder of which the 26-year-old was accused. Our client went back to Poland at the beginning of January 2019. The young man at his arrest in 2012 was 26- year- old.

“He could have spent all his life in prison if we had given up and had not appealed” – said his Lawyer Anna Matelska from the Legal Firm -AM International Solicitors. – His family in Poland were supporting him all this time. I think that it is not only his success but importantly that this can give hope to many convicted persons abroad that you should never give up – adds Ms Matelska.

Working on the case were a team of Lawyers from the firm- AM International Solicitors- as well as a very experienced Barrister and The Queen’s Counsel. – “The evidence material was subjected to a very detailed analysis by our team of Lawyers and by the QC. Personally, I do not know any case where a person has been twice found guilty of murder, twice absolved from the charge of murder and finally the Crown Prosecution Service accepting a manslaughter charge”- underlined Ms Matelska.

The accused man, now 34 years-old, went back to Poland where he works and lives with his family.

I went to England as a very young man- for work. I did not think that life would take such a turn. From the beginning I was saying that I was not guilty and after six years it has been possible to prove it. Faith to the end. I am very happy and grateful to the lawyers that they proved my innocence” – he said.

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