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Purley train crash convictions overturned

Anthony Scrivener QC and Gerard Forlin have today put a final gross negligence manslaughter appeal to rest before new changes to the law take effect.

The pair fought successfully to have the convictions of Robert Morgan, a train driver from West Sussex, overturned. Mr Morgan had been operating the Littlehampton to London Victoria train when it collided with a Horsham to London Victoria service and killed five people in 1989. He was subsequently convicted of manslaughter.

Today three Appeal Court judges ruled that had the jury heard evidence of the particularly questionable and arguably dangerous infrastructure surrounding the scene of the incident they may not have convicted Mr Morgan and as a result his convictions were held to be unsafe.

The appeal is of particular historical significance to chambers as the court researched the entire 82 year history of cases concerning gross negligence manslaughter beginning with a leading case R v Bateman [1925] All ER Rep 45. Sir Edward Marshall-Hall KC and Norman Birkett KC, both of whom have previously been heads of 2-3 Gray's Inn Square had acted for the appellant, a doctor, in this case.

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