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A man convicted of possessing cash generated through crime won an appeal fight thanks to Stuart Miller Solicitors.

Mr X was jailed after a jury ruled that cash found at his house in London was illicit and the profits of criminal conduct.

More than £2,200 was found in cash at his home in East London, while more than £85,000 was spent buying two BMWs.

Mr X, who admitted other fraud charges, denied the cash at his house belonged to him and said the car purchases were made through a combination of wages, rental income and cash gifts from family and friends.

He was jailed for 22 months in total but appealed part of his conviction after concerns emerged over how the crown court judge instructed jurors in response to an unrelated question on tax evasion.

A spokesman for Stuart Miller Solicitors explained: “Mr X’s defence was that he had acquired some of the money by selling gold jewellery originating from Pakistan.

“During Mr X’s evidence, the jury sent a note asking the judge whether the gold had been declared when it was imported and whether VAT or duty had been paid on it.

“The judge replied that such matters were not part of the prosecution case.

“After the jury retired, it sent a second note asking the judge whether tax evasion could constitute criminal conduct for the purposes of the case.

“She reminded them that the prosecution did not need to prove the source of Mr X’s funds, just that the only inference was that those funds were criminal and Mr X knew or suspected as much.

“She then went on to answer that tax evasion was a criminal offence.”

Mr X was found guilty just minutes later.

Stuart Miller Solicitors took his case the Court of Appeal, arguing that the judge was wrong to mention tax evasion because it was not relevant to the trial.

The spokesman added: “The judge should have responded to a jury question about tax evasion by instructing the jury that tax evasion had never been part of the prosecution, had never been subject to any evidence and the jury should simply not speculate on that matter any further.

“Instead, the jury was left with an answer enabling it to convict not only on a basis that was not legally explained to it but on a basis which had never featured at trial.”

At the Court of Appeal, top judges agreed with Stuart Miller Solicitors and quashed the convictions.

Mr X had already served 16 months in prison at this point. Prosecutors wanted a retrial but judges ruled it “was not in the interests of justice”.


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