Manor Park knife teen wins right to appeal his convictions
A teenager who was locked up for 13 years after he was found guilty of a near-fatal knife attack in Stratford Park has won the first stage of a court battle to clear his name.
Aaron Wembo, 18, was convicted at the Old Bailey in December 2009 of attempted murder, wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm and violent disorder.
Wembo, of Browning Road, Manor Park, had allegedly been involved in a violent group incident in which 18-year-old Adnan Ali was left close to death.
Mr Ali suffered a punctured lung after he was stabbed six times in the attack in Stratford Park in West Ham Lane in June 2009, while his friend, 17-year-old Mehtab Kamal, suffered two knife injuries.
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Wembo was said by prosecutors at the trial to have been the knifeman who pounced after one of his friends had accused Mr Kamal of looking at him.
Following his trial, the Old Bailey judge, Judge Peter Thornton, lifted reporting restrictions to allow the then 17-year-old to be named by the media.
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But last week Wembo was granted the right to an appeal against the convictions after three senior judges at the Court of Appeal said it was “arguable” that the jury’s verdicts were “unsafe”.
Wembo’s legal team argued before Lord Justice Gross, Mr Justice Roderick Evans and Mr Justice Kenneth Parker that the identification evidence in the case was so flawed that the trial should have been stopped.
“We consider that there are issues on that discreet issue of identification which merit attention by the full court,” said Mr Justice Roderick Evans.
“We therefore grant leave [to appeal] on that ground.”
No date was set for the full appeal hearing.