Florida judge orders new hearing for evidence of Briton’s innocence

April 24, 2014

A judge in Florida has ordered a full evidentiary hearing in the case of Krishna (‘Kris’) Maharaj, a British businessman who has been in prison since receiving a death sentence in 1987.

Mr Maharaj’s original sentence was quashed in 2002, after serious misconduct by the judge and prosecution in his original trial came to light, but he has remained in prison ever since, despite mounting evidence that he is innocent.

Now 75 years old, Mr Maharaj was handed a death sentence three decades ago in Miami for the murders of Derrick and Duane Moo Young. Over the years, evidence suppressed by the US government has leaked, showing the Moo Youngs were laundering up to US$5bn for the Colombian drug cartels. Recently, former cartel operatives admitted that the murders were carried out by the Medellín cartel on the orders of drug baron Pablo Escobar.

Today, at the 11th Judicial Circuit Court of Florida in Miami, Judge William Thomas ordered a full evidentiary hearing in Mr Maharaj’s case, to consider issues of innocence;  governmental suppression of favourable evidence; and perjury by prosecution witnesses.

Clive Stafford Smith, Mr Maharaj’s lawyer and Director of legal charity Reprieve said: “This is fantastic news.  Judge Thomas has shown great courage in ordering this crucial new hearing, which is a vital step along the road to finally proving Kris’ innocence.  At last, after 27 years in prison for a crime he patently did not commit, there is a chance that justice will be done in Kris’ case.”


1. For further information, please contact Donald Campbell in Reprieve’s press office: +44 (0) 207 553 8166 / +44 (0) 7791 755 415 (mobile) / donald.campbell@reprieve.org.uk

2. The full judge’s opinion can be read here.