Europe’s top legal minds are set to consider an appeal from a Blackpool man currently serving an indefinite jail term for attempted murder.
Lee Anthony Roberts’ victim Dave Wilson has campaigned for four years to see his friend and attacker released from prison and said he hopes justice will finally be served.
OK, he shouldn’t have used a knife – he stabbed me – but we are both to blame, not just him.
Roberts, 40, was sentenced to a minimum of seven years behind bars in 2011 for stabbing his victim following an argument.
But Mr Wilson, who runs the Sandylands guesthouse on Banks Street, said he bears “no animosity” towards his former lodger and has long maintained Roberts’ trial was unfair.
Now the European Court of Human Rights is set to consider the appeal, based on allegations of misconduct in the jury room.
Court papers seen by The Gazette and sent to the UK courts, asking for them to respond, question whether Roberts’ right to a fair trial was breached. The issue hinges on a report from the Criminal Cases Review Commission that found there was “some evidence” to suggest one of the jurors in the case conducted his own research outside the court room.
The Gazette reported two years ago how, at the centre of the CCRC case was a complaint the foreman of the jury, who was a practising solicitor, had introduced “extraneous material”, not part of the trial, into the jury’s deliberations.
Mr Wilson, who regularly makes the 440-mile round trip to see Roberts in prison, said he is “convinced” someone who sat on the jury has the answers they need to win the appeal.
He added: “Something went on in that jury room. Somewhere out there is the truth about what happened.
“Things were admitted into the jury room that weren’t admitted into court – when the judge found out she should have declared a mistrial.”
When the case was heard the Court of Appeal judge ruled any alleged wrongdoing would not have influenced the outcome of the trial.
However Mr Wilson disputes the verdict and believes the “unsafe” verdict should be quashed because the trial was unfair.
‘We’re both to blame... not just him’
Victim Dave Wilson believes his attacker should not have received the sentence he was given.
Mr Wilson, who was stabbed by Roberts following an argument, said: “It is four years this month and I have been behind him all the way.
“My views haven’t changed – I don’t think it was a fair trial and the sentence he got was too harsh.
“It was six of one, half a dozen of the other.
“We had a drink, I hit him, he hit me back.
“OK, he shouldn’t have used a knife – he stabbed me – but we are both to blame, not just him.”