Paul Glover – the smoking teapot reveals his innocence!
On 21 December 1994, Paul Glover was sentenced to 15 months imprisonment alongside four co-defendants for handling stolen goods as part of an alleged ‘joint enterprise’ theft of pottery and glassware valued at £121,000. A lorryload had been hijacked and taken to a car breakers yard before being redistributed.
The alleged offence by Paul Glover relates to 22 crystal glasses purchased for £160 cash. These glasses, even if they were from the consignment stolen (evidence suggests that they were not), represent a tiny fraction of the stolen goods and monetary value of the property. Yet, Paul Glover was sentenced as if he was a full member of the gang that received the goods. Paul Glover states that he knew when he purchased the glasses (and crucially a teapot) that they were not stolen goods, he told us:
“I knew the origin of the crystal glasses and without doubt knew they were not stolen, and therefore had no doubts about making a cash purchase.”
Since 1997, Paul Glover has been attempting to persuade the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) to refer his case to the Court of Appeal (CoA), without success. In rejecting his submissions the CCRC fall back on the oft-used excuse that there is no real possibility that the CoA will agree to hear his appeal. The CCRC has proceeded down the well-trodden path of analysing what happened at the trial and despite procedural irregularities and the ‘normal’ mistakes and errors made by the judge, prosecution and defence in presenting the facts of the case, have ruled that the imperfections pointed out by Glover are minor and do not represent a miscarriage of justice.
The circumstances of Paul’s conviction are familiar. His defence advised him that he had no case to answer and did not call a number of witnesses that could have been helpful to the defence. Paul was not given an opportunity to give evidence himself. When the judge rejected the suggestion that there was no case to answer, in Paul’s own words:
“The trial judge refused the submission of no case to answer and in replying to my barrister he stated that he had to get over count 3 – the 22 Crystal Glasses. I took that to mean that we had to prove that they were not stolen.”
Paul Glover paid cash for the 22 cut crystal glasses, but refused to name the person he bought them from. Paul told us:
“I refused to name the person because I knew that the glasses and the holly leaf teapot that I had purchased were not stolen and would not be identified as such. This was proven on the 29th of November 1993 when a witness, Mr. Chawner of Doulton security, examined the boxes and he was unable to identify them as being from the stolen load. My solicitor advised that the batch numbers on the boxes were different and not to answer any questions, with reference to the glassware on my second police interview under caution. I therefore answered no comment to all questions.”
The refusal to divulge the identity of the person who sold him the glasses and the teapot may well have influenced the jury, even if it should not have done so. The judge instructed the jury that Glover’s refusal to answer questions could not be held against him and that he was not obliged to tell the police the name of the person who sold him the items. Nevertheless, it appears that in finding Glover guilty of joint enterprise with the other four defendants they must have taken his silence as an indication of guilt as there was no other evidence that he participated in the theft of the goods.
Paul Glover did not know any of the co-defendants and had never met them. It would appear, at face value, that the police had no case against him and certainly no evidence that he had participated in either the original ‘heist’ of the lorryload of goods, or the distribution of the stolen goods. There was a single item of circumstantial evidence used to implicate him. Paul Glover had visited the scrapyard where a small quantity of stolen goods were recovered, seeking to purchase a rear bumper for his car. Police observers noted his car registration and later visited the house of the registered owner where they found the cut crystal glasses under the stairs in a box.
Therefore, as we see so often in the adversarial court system used in the UK, the prosecution were able to construct and present a hypothetical case to the jury, suggesting that the discovery of the box of glasses proved that Glover must have been part of the overall plot and inviting them to draw their own conclusions.
This was supported by the judge in directions given to the jury. On numerous occasions during the trial the prosecution, defence and the judge used the phrases, “the jury will have to infer” “or the jury will draw their own conclusions.” This was despite there being no evidence that the glasses in Glover’s possession were part of the stolen consignment. Paul Glover was, in effect, found guilty by the jury because they did not believe his explanation to the police about how he came to purchase the glasses.
However, the floral teapot plays a crucial role here. Nobody denies that it was part of the goods purchased by Glover and found in the cardboard box with the glasses – suggesting that they were purchased at the same time. However, the teapot was not part of the stolen consignment. So, the fact that the teapot existed alongside the glasses supports Paul Glover’s version of events. I would argue that in an inquisitorial court system Paul Glover would never have been charged with an offence because there simply was no evidence to support a charge of theft or handling stolen goods.
The CCRC responses
Paul Glover has asked the CCRC to do the job that it was set up to do but refuses to do. That is, act as an inquisitorial body. The CCRC had a strong clue that Glover may have been wrongly convicted – the floral teapot, in a cardboard box with the glasses, and the cardboard box had different markings to all the other storage boxes involved in the consignment. There is a strong possibility that further investigation could reveal vital information indicating that the glasses/teapot were not stolen. The CCRC has simply overlooked or ignored this factor. The CCRC refuses to conduct such an enquiry and in rejecting Glover’s submission its reasoning is all about the ‘real possibility’ test in relation to evidence presented at trial and the likelihood that the CoA would refuse to hear an appeal.
There seems to be an attitude at the CCRC to the effect that if Paul Glover had revealed who he bought the glasses from he would not have been prosecuted, i.e. co-operate with the police and tell them who the seller was. But, it was not Glover’s obligation to assist police enquiries and he didn’t want to involve the person who sold him the glasses in the police investigation. He allegedly told the police:
“I’d sooner not say, I don' t want any trouble, I didn’t know it was stolen. I don' t want any repercussions."
The CCRC has rejected all of Paul Glover’s submissions as being irrelevant to the outcome of the case, citing various reasons. In common with many other cases, there were deficiencies with procedural aspects of the case surrounding the indictment, but the CCRC is fully aware that the CoA has a very lenient view towards ‘technicalities’ and does not regard errors or omissions in indictments as being significant unless they had a detrimental affect upon the defence, which the CCRC invariably argue is not the case.
By Bill Robertson
Bill Robertson has researched alleged miscarriages of justice for around 20 years and advised on several cases, including the most recent application to the CCRC by Jeremy Bamber. Please let us know if you think that there is a mistake in this article, explaining what you think is wrong and why. We will correct any errors as soon as possible.