Jailed Florida Brit takes innocence fight to court of appeal

February 10, 2015

Jailed Florida Brit takes innocence fight to court of appeal  

Briton Kris Maharaj yesterday filed notice to appeal the decision of a Florida judge who refused to grant a retrial for his 1986 conviction, despite overwhelming evidence of his innocence.

Miami Judge William Thomas denied a new trial to Mr Maharaj at an evidentiary hearing held on January 9th. Judge Thomas refused to consider most of the evidence that the murders were committed by the Colombian Cartels. Mr Maharaj now has 50 days to file the full brief appealing Judge Thomas’ decision.

Mr Maharaj was convicted for the murders of Derrick and Duane Moo Young, father and son, in the Dupont Plaza Hotel in downtown Miami in 1986. He has always maintained his innocence and, at the hearing in January, substantial evidence was presented to the court that the murders were in fact committed by Colombian drug cartels.

Kris Maharaj, immediately after Judge Thomas’ judgement was given, said: “This is a body blow, enormously dispiriting. More than anything, it is dreadful for my wonderful wife Marita, who has stood by me all this time. I would have given up and just died if it were not for her. But I will not stop fighting for justice until they do carry me out of this terrible place in a coffin.”

Clive Stafford Smith, Kris Maharaj’s long-time pro-bono lawyer and Director of Reprieve: “I am not sure there has been a more dispiriting moment in the 30 years of my career, as Kris is utterly innocent. But as he told me, we just have to keep on fighting until we get him justice.”

ENDS

Notes to editors

1. For further information, please contact Clemency Wells in Reprieve’s press office: +44 207 553 8140 / clemency.wells [AT] reprieve.org.uk

2. The court document that was filed is available upon request.