Radio Sandwell News

London riots: 'Mugging' verdicts quashed

2012-11-29 21:43:49

John Kafunda and Reece Donovan

Two men found guilty of robbing a Malaysian student during the riots in London have had their convictions overturned.

Ashraf Rossli, 20, was attacked on 8 August in Barking, east London.

Footage of him being helped up before being robbed was recorded on a mobile phone and posted on YouTube.

John Kafunda, 23, of Ilford, and Reece Donovan, 25, of Romford, had robbery and violent disorder convictions quashed at the Court of Appeal.

The hearing was held in private at the Court of Appeal, but Lord Judge, Mr Justice Fulford and Mr Justice Bean announced their decision in open court.

During the original trial, Mr Kafunda told police he was "a million per cent sure" he was not the man seen in a CCTV film talking to Mr Rossli while his alleged accomplice rifled through his rucksack.

'Witness anonymity'

In March, Mr Kafunda had been jailed for four years and three months and Mr Donovan had received a five-year sentence.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said it would not be seeking a retrial.

A spokesman said: "Victims and witnesses are at the heart of the Criminal Justice System and it is important that they have the support necessary to enable them to give their best evidence at court.

"Where it is necessary to protect the identification of a witness we can in certain circumstances apply to the court for witness anonymity.

"Our application for witness anonymity for two witnesses in this trial was allowed by the judge. Without anonymity being given these witnesses would not have given evidence.

"The Court of Appeal has quashed these convictions as a result of allowing this application."


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