AN IRISHMAN who served almost 20 years in a British prison before having his rape sentence quashed has been denied compensation for the third time.
Dublin native Victor Nealon was found guilty of rape at Hereford Crown Court in 1997, for an attack that occurred outside a nightclub in the Worcestershire town of Redditch.
His appeal for “miscarriage of justice” compensation was dismissed at the Court of Appeal in London yesterday.
The 54-year-old served 17 years of his life sentence before he lodged a successful appeal to have his conviction quashed in 2013.
Based on fresh DNA evidence uncovered from Mr Nealon’s alleged victim’s clothing in 2009, the judge deemed that his conviction was unsafe and he was released.
His case for compensation was brought to the court by his solicitor, Mark Newby.
“It’s absolutely ridiculous,” Mr Newby told The Irish Post.
“He’s got to prove beyond reasonable doubt that he did not commit the crime.
“Mr Nealon has DNA evidence saying it was someone else but no forensic scientist will say that is totally conclusive.”
Mr Newby argued in court that the Criminal Justice Act 1988, which governs compensation payments, was amended in 2014 in a way that violated Article 6 (2) of the European Court of Human Rights because it required a person seeking a compensation to conclusively prove they were innocent.
Mr Nealon has fought the case for compensation since his release in 2013 – and is now gearing up for his fourth attempt to receive it.
Though no figure is decided on until compensation is given the green light in court, Mr Newby believes Mr Nealon would be in line to receive a considerable sum.
“In this case, he was wrongfully imprisoned for 17 years so I would expect a substantial figure to be awarded if he gets compensation,” he said.
Any money Mr Nealon is entitled to would be of great benefit to him – with Mr Newby confirming that the Dubliner is currently living below the poverty line in Birmingham.
A second man sought compensation at the Court of Appeal yesterday along with Mr Nealon – 28-year-old Sam Hallam who was convicted of murder in 2005 and also had his conviction deemed unsafe.
Mr Hallam, who had served seven years of his life sentence when he was released in 2012, also lost his case for compensation.