A SCRAP metal merchant convicted after a sting by undercover police had his name cleared yesterdy.
Joseph Smith, of Smiths of Bloxham scrap merchants, was convicted of attempting to convert criminal property and given 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 after an appeal, judges at London’s Criminal Appeal Court overturned his conviction yesterday.
The court heard the undercover police offered Mr Smith stripped power cable and a vehicle which he bought.
He was later arrested and prosecuted on the basis that he had understood the goods to be stolen, but had proceeded with the purchases.
Mr Smith’s lawyers highlighted flaws in trial judge Ian Pringle’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.”
Prosecution 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 can be taken and implemented from this.”
In February, two workers from Nuneham Courtenay firm TR Rogers and Sons had their names cleared on appeal after they were convicted in the same undercover police operation.
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.
11:20am Monday 28th July 2014
What do you think? We welcome letters from our readers on a wide variety of subjects and you can send us a letter through the blue headline above.
8:30am Saturday 29th August 2015
A TOP transplant surgeon has backed the Oxford Mail organ donation campaign saying more donors are needed than ever before.
9:00am Saturday 29th August 2015
A RAPIST who disappeared before his trial to escape justice is believed to have had a second passport he could have used to flee the country.
8:00am Saturday 29th August 2015
MOVING tributes were paid to Carole Roberts yesterday at the former Lord Mayor of Oxford’s funeral.
7:00am Saturday 29th August 2015
Seven men have appeared in court accused of a catalogue of sex offences.
6:30am Saturday 29th August 2015
PLANS for an Oxford Garden City could return as the Vale looks to accommodate 4,000 new homes.
6:00am Saturday 29th August 2015
FULL plans have been revealed for 140 new homes in Littlemore near Heyford Hill Sainsbury’s.