Sam Karim QC and Ben Williams have successfully defended a claim for Judicial Review on behalf of the Criminal cases review Commission (CCRC) before the Divisional Court.

This was a particularly complex and sensitive claim which concerned Mr Anthony Lyons who had been convicted of rape and sexual assault following his retrial in 2010. A number of women had alleged that he had perpetrated sexual offences against them over a ten year period between 1998 and 2008. The Prosecution’s case was that the Claimant masqueraded as a guru and spiritual healer at a centre of a group of followers, mostly women who were interested in alternative therapies and Buddhism. The complainant’s accounts contained a number of similarities in that they described being invited to meet Mr Lyons in company with other women. They were given various treatments by him and were advised on spiritual matters. It was the prosecution case that having established trust in this way, he would take advantage of them and subject them to sexual abuse. As a result of the convictions he received a 10 year prison sentence.

Mr Lyons made an application to the CCRC in 2014. The Commission ultimately refused to refer his case to the Court of Appeal after a detailed investigation into a large number of matters put forward by him. He therefore sought to judicially review that decision alleging that the CCRC had erred in its approach to the receipt of fresh medical evidence, which he said cast doubt on the conviction. He also sought to argue that new evidence as to one of the complainants cast doubt on her credibility and that the CCRC had failed to properly approach this in its reasoning.

In a reserved decision handed down on the 5th February, Lady Justice Nicola Davies DBE giving the Judgment, found that the CCRC had not erred in its approach to Mr Lyon’s challenges. The Court accepted the arguments put forward by the CCRC that it was entitled to reach the decision it did in the circumstances.

Sam and Ben were instructed by Frazer Stuart, Head of Legal at the CCRC.

The Judgment can be found here.


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