A SCRAP metal merchant convicted after a sting by undercover police has had his name cleared today.
Joseph Smith, of Smiths of Bloxham scrap merchants, was convicted of attempting to convert criminal property and hit with a £1,750 fine, and a £2,500 costs order, at Oxford Crown Court in December last year.
Between December 2011 and May 2012, undercover officers had visited the yard 33 times offering metal for sale, which they claimed Mr Smith bought, believing it to be stolen, although in fact it was not.
Mr Smith, 25, of Milton Road, Adderbury, denied any wrongdoing.
And today, Lord Justice Davis, Mrs Justice Thirlwall and Mrs Justice Andrews, sitting at London's Criminal Appeal Court, overturned his conviction.
The court heard how the undercover cops offered stripped power cable and a vehicle to Mr Smith at his scrap yard which he bought.
He was later arrested and prosecuted on the basis that he had understood the goods to be stolen - although they were in fact not - but had proceeded with the purchases nevertheless.
Mr Smith's lawyers today pinpointed flaws in the trial judge's directions to the jury relating to his state of mind at the time.
Allowing the appeal, Mrs Justice Thirlwall said jurors could have been left in doubt as to "the mental element required for a criminal offence."
Crown lawyers made no application for a retrial.
Thames Valley Police spokesman Chris Kearney said: “Thames Valley Police accepts the decision made by the Court of Appeal today and will now review the investigation to see what learning can be taken and implemented from this.”
- Do you want alerts delivered straight to your phone via our WhatsApp service? Text NEWS or SPORT or NEWS AND SPORT, depending on which services you want, and your full name to 07767 417704. Save our number into your phone’s contacts as Oxford Mail WhatsApp and ensure you have WhatsApp installed
Our top stories
9:41am Wednesday 29th July 2015
An Oxford street remains closed after canisters containing an unidentified substance were discovered.
10:00pm Tuesday 28th July 2015
FOUR people were killed in traffic accidents in 24 hours on Oxfordshire’s roads.
6:30am Wednesday 29th July 2015
CONFLICT between wheelchair users and parents with buggies has led to problems on the buses across Oxfordshire.
9:00am Wednesday 29th July 2015
POLICE chief Francis Habgood has said “difficult choices” will have to be made about policing across the Thames Valley.
9:31am Wednesday 29th July 2015
A NEIGHBOUR helped an elderly couple to safety after their home was filled with smoke from a burnt-out boiler, the fire service said.
7:00am Wednesday 29th July 2015
A WARD of 30 beds at Witney Community Hospital will shut for seven months to send staff elsewhere in the county and save money, it was announced yesterday.