BBC News - Appeal over animal rights fire-bomb
Appeal over fire-bomb conviction
animal rights campaigner jailed for 10 years for fire-bombing Oxford
University has started an Appeal Court fight to clear his name.
Mel Broughton, 48, of Semilong Road in Northampton, was found guilty of
conspiracy to commit arson in February last year.
The court heard
he had targeted Queen's and Templeton colleges over plans to build an animal
Broughton argues he was found guilty on the
basis of unreliable DNA evidence.
He was arrested after two
improvised devices, made up of fuel and fuses made from sparklers,
exploded at Queen's College sports pavilion in November 2006, causing
almost £14,000 worth of damage.
'Great public concern'
similar bombs were planted underneath a portable building at Templeton
College in February 2007, but failed to go off.
leading figure in an animals rights movement set up in 2004 in protest at
plans to build an animal testing research laboratory at Oxford,
protested to police that he was a peaceful protester only.
appeal against the conviction was before Lord Justice Thomas, Mr Justice
Kitchin and Sir Geoffrey Grigson, sitting at London's Criminal Appeal
The appeal heard the prosecution had claimed in the original
trial that Broughton's DNA was found on a matchstick used as part of the
fuse in one of the failed Templeton College devices.
barrister, David Bentley QC, argued that the "reliability" of that DNA
evidence was "not sufficient" for it to be admitted before the jury.
However, prosecution lawyers insisted the DNA evidence had been
"validated" by "techniques which were entirely adequate".
Justice Thomas reserved his judgement on the case at the end of a half-day
hearing, to allow the court time to consider the complicated scientific
"It is the duty of this court to see whether the judge came
to a decision that was reasonably open to him. This sort of evidence is
of great public concern," the judge added.
The Appeal Court will give
its ruling on Broughton's appeal at an unspecified later date.
from BBC NEWS:
http://news. bbc.co.uk/ go/pr/fr/ -/1/hi/england/ 8537859.stm