Grieving Sunderland dad’s dismay at legal bid by member of killer gang

John Johnson and, below, his son Kevin, who was stabbed to death.

John Johnson and, below, his son Kevin, who was stabbed to death.

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A FATHER whose son was stabbed to death has hit out after one of the killers won the latest step in a legal battle to gain his freedom.

John Johnson spoke out after discovering Jordan Towers, now 20, has been granted a judicial review of a decision not to have his case re-examined by Appeal Court judges.

FILE PIC '25/05/2007   Photographer: NOP    'COPY PICS OF KEVIN JOHNSON . KEVIN WAS STABBED TO DEATH OUTSIDE FAMILY HOME IN PARTICK ROAD PENNYWELL '''copy pic Kevin Johnson age 17 years

FILE PIC '25/05/2007 Photographer: NOP 'COPY PICS OF KEVIN JOHNSON . KEVIN WAS STABBED TO DEATH OUTSIDE FAMILY HOME IN PARTICK ROAD PENNYWELL '''copy pic Kevin Johnson age 17 years

Towers was locked up for life at Newcastle Crown Court in October 2007 after he was found guilty of the murder of 22-year-old Kevin Johnson in Pennywell.

Towers had been refused a review by the Criminal Case Review Commission (CCRC), but this has now been overturned after Towers appealed the decision.

Mr Johnson said: “The CCRC is an independent body that examines criminal convictions and sentences.

“It has the power to refer a case back to the Courts of Appeal if it considers a conviction or a sentence to be unjust.

“As I understand it, to get it referred back to the Courts of Appeal you have to have fresh evidence or a point of law which was not raised at the trial.

“As there is no fresh evidence, they must be going on a point of law.

“The point of law, I presume, is not giving evidence at his trial.

“He was given this advice by his legal team at the time and he chose not to give evidence.

“They are now saying the outcome of the trial could have been different if he had gone in the box.

“Every time a law firm has a different opinion, does it have to go to an appeal?”

Towers, who was 16 at the time of his trial, was one of three teens convicted of the murder of father-of-one Kevin, after he asked them to be quiet outside his home in Patrick Road in the Pennywell area of the city.

But Henry Blaxland QC, who now represents Towers, said the outcome of the trial could have been different had the youngster opted to go in the box.

He argued Towers and his co-accused should have been represented by completely separate legal teams, and the CCRC should have referred his case to the Court of Appeal when it examined his case last year.

Mr Justice Ouseley ruled Tower’s case “arguable”, and gave him permission to have the CCRC’s decision examined at a full judicial review hearing early next year.

The laws on joint enterprise, which campaigners say lead to the locking up of innocent people, were in the news earlier this month, when it was announced the Justice Select Committee of MPs will examine how widely they are being used.

Twitter: @janethejourno