Miscarriages of JusticeUK (MOJUK)

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Woman's Murder Conviction Referred To Appeal Court


Ananova, Monday January 7, 2002 3:32 PM

The case of a woman who shot her husband and claimed during her murder trial that she was a battered wife has been referred to the Court of Appeal.

Josephine Smith was convicted in 1993 of murdering her husband Brian despite her claims that she had suffered years of violence and sexual degradation.

The Criminal Cases Review Commission, the independent body which assesses alleged miscarriages of justice, has sent her case back to the appeal courts.

Smith, 40, shot her husband as he slept at their home in Watlington, near King's Lynn, Norfolk, with a gun taken from her parents' house a week earlier.

During her trial at Norwich Crown Court, Smith's plea of guilty to manslaughter on grounds of diminished responsibility was not accepted.

The mother-of-three claimed her husband had been violent to her over a number of years.

She said he had also made her watch pornographic videos before forcing her to re-enact degrading sex acts, including wearing dog collars and rubber suits.

Smith also claimed her husband beat her repeatedly and that she hid bruises beneath make-up and polo-neck sweaters. He had also threatened to track her down if she ever left him, she claimed.

The prosecution suggested she had manufactured and exaggerated the abuse to excuse cold-blooded murder and presented evidence of previous dishonesty involving mortgage and income support fraud.

Women's groups criticised the verdict and claimed that Smith was an example of an abused woman taking action against her abuser. In 1994 she failed to win leave to appeal against her conviction.