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
5:33pm Friday 4th September 2015
LOCAL control of health service budgets in Oxfordshire has been included in a £4bn bid to secure major new powers from the Government.
3:46pm Friday 4th September 2015
A DESIGNER clothing firm has today been fined £1.2m for "systematic" health and safety failures that led to a four-year-old boy being crushed by a 7ft mirror.
11:48am Friday 4th September 2015
A woman and her daughter who were missing from Witney have been found safe and well.
11:06am Friday 4th September 2015
A SIGNALLING problem at London Paddington is expected to cause delays of up to half an hour to all trains travelling from Oxfordshire to the capital until midday.
8:30am Friday 4th September 2015
HUNDREDS are expected to attend a demonstration in Oxford this weekend against the UK Government’s stance on refugees.
8:00am Friday 4th September 2015
A MAN who killed his 26-year-old friend by speeding near North Leigh was jailed for a year yesterday.