Owen Crooks

Years in prison:
Year of crime:
Year conviction was overturned:

Antonio Christie, Levi Walker, Adam Joof, Michael Osborne, and Owen Crooks were convicted of the murder of Kevin Nunes, a footballer and drug dealer who was murdered in September 2002. The prosecution alleged that the appellants were members of two separate gangs and had joined forces to eliminate Kevin Nunes because he was dealing drugs in competition with them. On the day of the murder, Joof and Christie had been released from custody, having faced allegations of kidnap and rape made against them by Jodie Pitt (a former girlfriend of Joof). There was no scientific evidence apart from recovery of Osborne’s DNA on a sim card found in a phone that was taken from Nunes. A cell mate of Osborne alleged that Osborne had confessed to shooting Nunes (although it was not the prosecution case that Osborne had been the one who shot Nunes). The prosecution was dependent on the evidence of three witnesses. The key witness was Simeon Taylor who claimed to have witnessed the shooting. However the court noted that it was difficult to reconcile his role – if he knew what was going to happen then he himself was party to the joint enterprise (and in fact it was different to discern any real difference in his actions and those of one of the defendants). In addition, Taylor had raised a complaint of racism against the police, and the decision was made not to investigate this during the trial incase the investigation turned up something that had to be disclosed. There were also disclosure issues in the case. Specifically, a police report released prior to the original trial was critical of the handling of Taylor as a witness (the senior officer gave an example of dishonesty on the part of Taylor and said there was an unwritten understanding he would be retained on the witness protection scheme “at any cost”) and was not disclosed to the defence. If it had been, the defence could have used it to undermine Taylor’s credibility and the integrity and honesty of the police handling the investigation. The case was described by the court as a very bad case of non-disclosure and a serious perversion of the course of justice. The appeal was allowed and the convictions quashed.

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  • Offence: Murder
  • Jurisdiction: England & Wales
  • County: West Midlands 
  • Ethnicity: Black
  • Gender: M
  • Years in prison: 4
  • Offence convicted of: Murder
  • Year of crime: 2002
  • Year of initial conviction: 2008
  • Year conviction was overturned: 2012
  • Age when imprisoned: 26
  • CCRC Referral: Y
  • Tried with others: Y
  • Link to full case: https://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWCA/Crim/2012/1475.html
  • Type of fresh evidence at appeal: Evidence relating to the reliability of witness testimony, Evidence casting doubt on the integrity of police
  • Compensation: Unknown
  • Crown argued case at CofA: No
  • Retrial: No
  • Previous appeals: Unknown