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.
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11:20am Monday 28th July 2014
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