29 July 2020 04:37
Gary Cunningham (L) and Olivia Labinjo-Halcrow (R) (Pictures: PA) A woman who had been facing 18 years in prison for killing her boyfriend with a knife has successfully appealed her conviction. Delivery driver Gary Cunningham, 29, was found dead on the top floor of a block of flats in Harborne, Birmingham, in February 2019. He had been stabbed multiple times in the leg. But she took her case to the Court of Appeal and judges there have decided to quash the conviction today after concluding that it was unsafe. Advertisement Lady Justice Macur, Mr Justice Nicklin and Judge Gregory Dickinson ruled that it had not been proven that she was not acting in self defence.
Appeal judges said this was 'fundamentally wrong in law' because it transferred the 'evidential burden' to the defence. Ms Labinjo-Halcrow had a 'volatile and tempestuous' relationship with Mr Cunningham (Picture: PA) In a written ruling, Lady Justice Macur said that the relationship between Ms Labinjo-Halcrow and Mr Cunningham had been 'volatile and tempestuous'. Ms Labinjo-Halcrow had said she had 'no memory' of stabbing Mr Cunningham but, 'accepting it was likely she had done so', she would have been 'acting in self-defence or acting with diminished responsibility or in loss of control', said Lady Justice Macur. Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at [email protected] For more stories like this, check our news page.
Three judges, who considered the case at a recent Court of Appeal hearing in London, quashed her conviction on Tuesday after concluding that it was unsafe. Lady Justice Macur, Mr Justice Nicklin and Judge Gregory Dickinson said there was a question as to whether jurors could have been sure that she was not acting in self-defence. The trial judge had given jurors a direction relating to whether evidence demonstrated that Ms Labinjo-Halcrow had been physically and sexually assaulted by Mr Cunningham. Mr Cunningham slowly bled to death after the gruesome attack and was eventually discovered by a delivery driver propped up against a fire exit door (pictured, police at the scene on the morning of February 23 this year) Appeal judges said that direction was 'fundamentally wrong in law'. They said it transferred the 'evidential burden' to the defence. Image copyright West Midlands Police Image caption Olivia Labinjo-Halcrow was jailed last August after being found guilty of manslaughter A woman jailed for killing her partner has had her manslaughter conviction quashed by the Court of Appeal. Gary Cunningham was stabbed 12 times with a kitchen knife and bled to death in a block of flats in Harborne, Birmingham, on 23 February last year. Olivia Labinjo-Halcrow was acquitted of murder but convicted of manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility and jailed for 18 years. Three Appeal Court judges ruled her conviction was unsafe. They said the judge at the trial at Birmingham Crown Court last August had given jurors a direction relating to whether evidence demonstrated Ms Labinjo-Halcrow had been physically and sexually assaulted by 29-year-old Mr Cunningham. The judges - Lady Justice Macur, Mr Justice Nicklin and Judge Gregory Dickinson - said that direction was "fundamentally wrong in law" as it had transferring the "evidential burden" to the defence. Image copyright West Midlands Police Image caption Gary Cunningham died after being found stabbed in flats in Birmingham In a written ruling Lady Justice Macur said the relationship between Ms Labinjo-Halcrow and Mr Cunningham had been "volatile and tempestuous". Ms Labinjo-Halcrow had said she had "no memory" of stabbing Mr Cunningham, but, "accepting it was likely she had done so", she would have been "acting in self-defence or acting with diminished responsibility or in loss of control", said Lady Justice Macur. Follow BBC West Midlands on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Send your story ideas to: [email protected]