The legal blunders that cost a man 14 years of his life

Andrew Adams was jailed for 14 years after being convicted of murdering a retired teacher. However, he had his conviction crushed back in 2007 because of blunders committed by his legal team.

Engineer Adams, was released into the open arms of his jubilant relatives. His case has made legal history when jurors present in his 1993 trial provided evidence that the jury was biased against Adams, as he had claimed. He was accused of shooting dead the 58 year old retired teacher Jack Royal, on his doorstep in 1990. The crown court had been informed that Adams had shot Royal as a present for his girlfriend, in revenge for Royal being acquitted of stabbing her brother to death in a street fight three years before.

However, after Adams was put in jail, jurors from his case came forward and offered evidence suggesting that they had been unfairly prejudiced by comments said by other members of the jury, outside the court room. The Court of Appeal was given testimony by four jurors. This was the first time jurors had to give evidence regarding a trial that had been involved in. Two members of the jury apparently commented on the case, influencing other juror’s opinions. One comment referred to Adams as a ‘bad lad’, while another juror claimed that she knew this case and ‘these lads are guilty’.

At the time of the case, no reports prejudicial comments were made to Newcastle Crown Court. At first, the Court of Appeal rejected the claims that the verdict was biased. Lord Justice Gage said ‘We are quite satisfied no evidence of bias has been shown so as to render the verdict unsafe.’

What the judges concluded was that Adams’ conviction was ‘unsafe’ because of blunders made by his team. His original team of lawyers withdrew from the case two weeks before the trial started.

What their replacements failed to do was utilise the evidence available at the time that may have led to his name being cleared. This was probably due to lack of time.

These blunders led to him being jailed for 14 years, but justice has been brought to him and he has been freed.