Four men jailed over a £1.75 million Heathrow warehouse heist after being found guilty in a historic trial without a jury have lost appeals against their convictions.
John Twomey, Peter Blake, Barry Hibberd and Glenn Cameron were convicted of robbery by a judge at the Old Bailey last March but argued that their trial was “unlawful”.
The trial in relation to an armed robbery at the warehouse in February 2004 was the first serious criminal trial to be held without a jury in England and Wales.
At the Court of Appeal, the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Judge, Mrs Justice Rafferty and Mr Justice Roderick Evans, who had been urged to find their convictions”unsafe”, rejected their challenge.
A non-jury trial took place after the Court of Appeal ruled there was a serious danger that a jury could be nobbled. There had been three previous abortive attempts to try the case, lasting up to six months at a time.
At the end of the fourth trial, Mr Justice Treacy passed guilty verdicts on Twomey, 62, of New Milton, Hampshire; Blake, 58, of Notting Hill, west London; Hibberd, 43, of Shepherds Bush, west London; and Cameron, 51, of New Milton, Hampshire.
Twomey was sentenced to 20 years and six months. Blake was jailed for life with a minimum term of 10 years and nine months. Cameron and Hibberd were sentenced to 15 years and 17 years and six months respectively.
Their appeal centred on the secret evidence of alleged jury tampering which had led to the trial being heard by a judge alone. It was decided at the time that this material could not be made public or disclosed to defendants because of its sensitivity.
But John Aspinall QC, for Twomey, said that in this case there had been no disclosure by the Crown about the jury tampering, either at the trial or during a previous Court of Appeal hearing which decided it should be heard without a jury.
But in a lengthy written ruling, Lord Judge said the four “received a fair trial before a court vested with appropriate jurisdiction”.