The family of a man convicted under the joint enterprise law have said they have been handed fresh hope after a Supreme Court decision last week.
On Thursday judges decided that the statute on joint enterprise has been wrongly interpreted for more than 30 years.
As things stand the law is used to convict people in gang-related cases if defendants ‘could’ have foreseen violent acts by their associates, however it has now been ruled that foresight cannot be used as a reliable test.
The ruling has implications for 28-year-old Luton barber Wayne Collins, who is serving a 18-year sentence for being part of a gang which shot at police during riots in Birmingham in August 2010.
During his trial it was alleged that Mr Collins had been with one of the gunmen during the day and his mobile had been tracked to the same location as this man’s phone.
Prosecutors said that the 28-year-old would have known that the man had a gun and planned to use it, but Mr Collins claims he played no part in the violence whatsoever.
Mr Collins’ sister Chanel told the Luton News that the Supreme Court decision has raised fresh hopes of an appeal against the conviction.
She said: “We are in high spirits as we feel like this could help my brother get out.
“It is really positive and was a good decision.
“(The conviction) was devastating as he had not done anything wrong at all.
“It was really confusing for us, there was no evidence against him and the whole thing was based on the joint enterprise law.
“It has had a massive impact on us and has been hard, but we have tried to stay strong.”
Mr Collins’ family have worked with pressure group Joint Enterprise Not Guilty by Association (JENGbA), which has campaigned for an overhaul of the law.
JENGbA’s Deborah Madden called Thursday’s ruling a “major turning point in British justice”.