The convictions of two men who died before their judgments could be overturned are due to be heard today – almost 50 years after they were imprisoned on the basis of a disgraced police officer’s evidence.
Saliah Mehmet and Basil Peterkin were British Rail workers who were convicted in 1977 after thefts from the goods depot where they worked on the evidence of the disgraced British Transport Police officer Detective Sergeant Derek Ridgewell – as reported previously. The miscarriage of justice watchdog the Criminal Cases Review Commission has so far referred nine cases (including the Oval Four and Stockwell Six, see here) that relied on Ridgewell’s evidence back to the courts, all of which were quashed.
They announced their review of the Peterkin and Mehmet cases after tracking down surviving family members.
The legal charity APPEAL is representing family members of Mehmet and Peterkin, who died in 2021 and 1991 respectively. In 1977, the two men were each sentenced to nine months’ imprisonment at the Central Criminal Court after being convicted of Conspiracy to Steal from the Bricklayers Arms Goods Depot, where they were employees.
The Crown Prosecution Service confirmed in September last year that it would not be contesting Mr Mehmet and Mr Peterkin’s posthumous appeals, stating ‘the safety of the Appellants’ convictions is fundamentally undermined by the lack of integrity of the officers involved’. They noted these appeals were ‘materially indistinguishable’ from the previous appeals concerning Ridgewell which all led to quashed convictions.