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Nat Fraser Conviction Quashed by Court of Criminal Appeal in Edinburgh

The Court of Criminal Appeal in Edinburgh has, today on 8 June 2011, quashed Scottish man Nat Fraser’s conviction for murder, although the hearing on whether there is to be a retrial is continuing.

A businessman from Elgin, 52 year old Nat Fraser was imprisoned in 2003 following a criminal trial in which he was found guilty of ordering a hitman to kill his wife, Arlene Fraser, despite her body never having been discovered.

A fortnight ago, the UK Supreme Court unanimously allowed an appeal by Fraser’s lawyers, remitting the case to the Court of Criminal Appeal in Edinburgh to consider whether to grant authority for a new prosecution and to quash the conviction.

The appeal came as Fraser’s solicitors argued that there had been a miscarriage of justice and, specifically, a breach of his right to a fair trial under Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights, following claims that the evidence for the initial trial had been tampered with and that prosecutors had not been provided with all relevant facts.

Lord Hope said: “I very much regret any further delay that this decision may lead to in the final disposal of the case. I regret too the distress that it will cause to Arlene Fraser’s relatives, who were present in court throughout the hearing of the appeal.

But it has to be recognised that the appellant was entitled to a fair trial. Any unfairness at the trial may be put right at the stage of an appeal. But for that to be achieved the right tests must be applied, so that the appeal too is fair. The conclusion that I would reach as to what these tests lead to leaves us with no alternative but to make the orders which I have proposed.”

Luke Mitchell Murder Conviction Appeal

Following these developments, convicted murderer Luke Mitchell also recently attempted to have his conviction for murder overturned to the UK Supreme Court, although the Court of Criminal Appeal in Edinburgh refused to grant such leave to appeal. Mitchell is now expected to appeal directly to the Supreme Court with arguments founded on devolution issues.

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