CONVICTED killer Luke Mitchell is set to lodge another appeal against his murder conviction after campaigners backing his case said they would be presenting new evidence.
The legal team representing Mitchell – who was ordered to serve at least 20 years for the murder of his 14-year-old girlfriend Jodi Jones in Dalkeith – is compiling a dossier to be handed to the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (SCCRC), which investigates possible miscarriages of justice.
As well as the mystery new evidence, Mitchell, 23, is still hoping to benefit from the so-called “Cadder ruling” by the UK Supreme Court which outlaws the use of evidence obtained by police interviewing a suspect without a lawyer.
His supporters believe a recent decision by the SCCRC to refer the case of convicted rapist Ryan McCallum, who was interviewed without a lawyer present, back to the High Court “opens a new door” in Mitchell’s’ long-running appeal process.
The move follows a decision in November by the UK Supreme Court, whose justices refused to hear Mitchell’s case, saying that his appeal against conviction is “closed”.
Sandra Lean, a supporter of Mitchell’s who highlighted his case in her book No Smoke! The Shocking Truth About British Justice, said: “The application to the SCCRC would have happened regardless of their decision in the McCallum case following the Supreme Court’s decision last year not to hear Luke’s case.
“The legal team is still working on aspects of the appeal to the SCCRC.
“Until the application is together and has been submitted, we’re not in position to divulge the contents of this appeal. The SCCRC should hear it first. That is likely to take another few months.
“Our position is that there is a great deal of evidence that has never been put before any court. That new evidence will form part of the application.”
Mitchell, who was 14 at the time of the killing in 2003, lost an appeal against his conviction in May 2008, although appeal court judges criticised the police’s “overbearing and hostile interrogation” of Mitchell in a bid to obtain a confession.
His bid to challenge his conviction following the Cadder ruling was rejected in April last year, and he was refused leave to take his appeal to the Supreme Court in November on the basis that his previous appeal had been dealt with before the Cadder decision and could therefore not be re- opened.
Ms Lean added: “There are several aspects of Luke’s treatment by the police that constitute human rights breaches. But an arbitrary date has been placed on cases that the Supreme Court will look at. What happens to those people whose rights were breached in the same way prior to the Cadder ruling?
“The SCCRC’s decision to refer the McCallum case opens a new door for Luke’s appeal. The SCCRC are obviously looking at the idea that refusing to hear such cases might cause problems with European Human Rights legislation down the line.”
The SCCRC can refer Mitchell’s appeal back to the High Court for review, but judges decide whether or not they hear the case. The SCCRC was contacted for comment on the case but failed to respond.