Since February 2010, a major and wide-ranging police inquiry has been underway into the conviction of this Hoxton man, who is widely believed to be innocent of the 2004 murder of Essayas Kassahun.
In January, Sam Hallam’s representatives were informed that the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) has exercised its powers under section 19 of the Criminal Appeal Act 1995 to require an outside police inquiry into his case. Such inquiries are very rare. This is only the 48th occasion a police inquiry has been ordered out of more than 12,000 applications received by the Commission since undertaking responsibility for investigating alleged miscarriages of justice in April 1997.
A team of Thames Valley Police officers led by Detective Chief Inspector Steve Tolmie has interviewed witnesses and re-examined case evidence over the past eight months. Sam Hallam was interviewed at HMP Bullingdon in March by the Senior Investigating Officer leading the inquiry. At the request of the CCRC, Sam Hallam’s representatives agreed to delay publicising the inquiry to minimise the possibility of collusion between some witnesses prior to interview. It is believed the police inquiry is now nearing completion. Thames Valley Police will submit their findings to the Commission who will decide whether to refer Sam Hallam’s conviction back to the Court of Appeal.
Sam Hallam’s mother, Wendy Cohen, said: “The original Metropolitan Police investigation into Essayas Kassahun’s murder was substandard and deficient in many respects. This caused my son’s conviction as an innocent man. I hope and pray that Thames Valley Police have carried out a thorough investigation which will be enough for Sam’s case to be sent back to the courts and his conviction quashed.”
Note: this story was amended at 18:45 on Wednesday 6 October 2010.