Hitchin’s Courdel Reid to walk free within seven days after aggravated burglary conviction is overturned
PUBLISHED: 17:44 21 June 2017 | UPDATED: 10:57 26 June 2017
A prisoner is to walk free within a week after having his aggravated burglary conviction quashed in a landmark court case.
Courdel Reid, from Hitchin, was jailed for nine years after being convicted in 2015 of being the getaway driver for a gang of four violent burglars during a series of crimes in Hitchin and Stevenage.
The 23-year-old won the right to appeal last year after the Supreme Court ruled that judges had misinterpreted the law of joint enterprise for decades.
This afternoon at Cambridge Crown Court prosecutors dropped the charge of aggravated burglary, with Reid instead pleading guilty to the lesser charge of burglary.
The basis for this was that he did not know any of the other four men had used weapons during the burglaries – so the conviction of aggravated burglary was unlawful.
Reid is the first to get a quashed conviction and the opportunity of a retrial since the joint enterprise laws were rewritten last year during the case of Ameen Jogee – who had his murder conviction quashed and changed to manslaughter.
Judge Gareth Hawkesworth today gave Reid a new sentence of seven days, meaning the 23-year-old from Sanfoine Close – who has served two years and eight months in custody – could be home by the end of this week. He will remain on probation for 12 months.
Reid’s mother Karen James told the Comet afterwards that the family was overwhelmed with joy following the decision.
She said: “It’s brilliant. We’ve won, it just feels amazing.
“I feel so relieved and happy for my son that he can get on with his life. I really feel like we’ve got justice now.
“It tormented me and I just couldn’t accept it – I couldn’t leave my boy like that, no way.
“It just goes to show you should just never give up if you think something’s wrong.
“We’ve all been heartbroken. It was a terrible injustice. But we’re all delighted now – and my daughter Kelise can’t wait to have her big brother home at last.”
Gloria Morrison, one of the leading activists in Joint Enterprise: Not Guilty by Association – which campaigned to reform the law – also welcomed the outcome.
She said: “We’re very pleased that this aggravated burglary conviction has been suitably challenged, following the Jogee case last year.
“Justice has been done for Courdel – but not as yet the 800 other prisoners we’re supporting in joint enterprise cases.”