On May 25th 2021 the Court of Appeal concluded on the case of Kevin Brecani -v- Regina that the original trial judge was right to have concluded a NRM positive conclusive grounds decision by the Single Competent Authority that Kevin Brecani was a victim of Modern Slavery.
The judgement critisised the defense team for not providing their Expert Witness with crucial facts of the case and therefore had not considered the range of facts needed for reaching an informed opinion, nor was the Court persuaded that he had sufficient knowledge of Modern Slavery in the context of this case. The expert introduced by Brecani's defense team was Craig Barlow.
Barlow had not been provided with the opportunity to respond to the judgement before its publication which was unfortunate as there were factually incorrect statements made about him.
"I was shocked by the complete inversion of the facts of my qualifications and experience," said Dr Barlow. "These were then compounded by a number of inaccurate statements about my report that were misleading. I therefore wrote to the Registrar of the Court of Appeal. The two key points of complaint were:
The Judgement stated that Dr. Barlow had not completed his PhD Research, despite him clearly stating in his report that the research was complete.
The Judgement referred to his knowledge being based upon research that he had 'undertaken into the trafficking of children for the purposes of Criminal Exploitation as part of a PhD Course'."
Dr Barlow explained that a PhD is not a course but a substantial body of research offering new knowledge to the field; in this case, the trafficking of children for Criminal Exploitation. "In addition to this, I had provided a full CV and a list of similar cases in which I had provided evidence before the Brecani trial."
The Registrar considered Dr Barlow's complaint. It seemed that his CV and similar case work had not been put before the Court. In a letter to Dr Barlow the Registrar explained, "The Court proceeds upon the information put before it. Before a judgement is handed down it is provided to the parties expressly for the purpose of enabling any factual errors to be picked up. The appellant's legal team did not suggest that the Judgement contained factual errors."
The Judgement has now been amended to make clear, "He has completed his PhD research into the trafficking of children for the purposes of Criminal Exploitation at the Wilberforce Institute at the University of Hull." The Court referred to the shortcomings in the evidence provided by the defense team and did not criticise Dr Barlow.
Dr Barlow said, "I am very grateful to the Court for making this important amendment. Whether or not a report by an expert is ruled inadmissible is neither here nor there - I had been diligent in fulfilling my duties to the Court, I made it clear the provenance of the evidence of which I relied and the limitations of the evidence. I am appalled that my CV and experience had not been put before the Court together with my report (which included a summary of my qualifications and experience). If the judgement had been shared with me before it had been handed down, these errors would have been resolved and the reputational damage avoided"