Court date set for murder appeal hearing

SIMON Hall's appeal against his conviction for the murder of Capel St Mary pensioner Joan Albert is likely to be heard next month.

Colin Adwent

SIMON Hall's fight against his conviction for the murder of Capel St Mary pensioner Joan Albert is likely to be heard next month.

A spokesman for the Court of Appeal in London yesterday said the case has been given a provisional date for a directions hearing of March 10.

Hall, 32, formerly of Hill House Road, Ipswich, was given a life sentence for stabbing to death Mrs Albert at her home in Boydlands on December 16, 2001.

However, Hall has always strenuously denied killing the 79-year-old.

The Court of Appeal spokesman said the appeal is set to be presided over by Lady Justice Hallett. Mr Justice Ouseley and Mr Justice Hickinbottom are also due to be on the bench.

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Late last year the Criminal Cases Review Commission decided to refer Hall's conviction for appeal as it found new forensic evidence.

The commission (CCRC) believes its findings cast doubt on whether Hall is guilty of the murder.

The findings centre partly on fresh forensic analysis of fibre samples taken from the crime scene and other locations during the original police investigation.

There is also said to have been significant evidence relating to another burglary in Capel St Mary on the same night as Mrs Albert was murdered.

At the time it announced it was referring Hall's case for appeal, a spokesman for the CCRC said: “The commission has decided to refer the case to the Court of Appeal because it believes that new forensic evidence is capable of undermining key forensic evidence presented at the trial and therefore raises the real possibility that the court would quash the murder conviction.”

Hall was convicted at Norwich Crown Court in February 2003. He appealed against his conviction, but it was dismissed in April 2004. Hall then applied to the CCRC for a review in June 2005.