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Downing hearing delay

Lawyers for the Crown Prosecution Service have been granted an extra week to decide if they will oppose bail for Derbyshire prisoner Stephen Downing.

Downing, jailed 27 years ago for a murder he says he did not commit, has been granted leave to appeal against his conviction to the Court of Appeal.

The Criminal Cases Review Commission was persuaded to refer the file to the appeal court on the basis of fresh evidence collected by Matlock Mercury editor Don Hale.

In another busy week for Don, he has been interviewed by a number of Australian media outlets – where the case is causing interest – and has been a guest on Edwina Currie’s discussion show on BBC Radio 5.

A march and protest in support of Downing last weekend has been hailed a success, with more than 80 people taking part in the parade through Bakewell.

Local people, members of Charter 88, Liberty and other groups involved with justice issues took part.

West Derbyshire MP Patrick McLaughlin led the march, together with campaigner Richard Brailsford, who in three weeks has collected more than 11,000 signatures calling for Downing’s release.

Don said afterwards: “It was a tremendous show of strength for Stephen and his cause. There were people from all over the country as well as locals.”

Downing has remained in prison for such a long time because he remains in denial of the offence.

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