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Man, 24, cleared after 7 years in prison

A London man who spent seven years in prison after being convicted of murder at age 18 was released  Wednesday.

Sam Hallam, 24, was expected to be formally exonerated Thursday, The Guardian reported. A prosecutor said Wednesday the government would not oppose his appeal or release.

The victim, Essayas Kassahun, 21, was killed in a gang fight in 2004. His lawyer, Henry Blaxland, blamed police and the Crown Prosecution Service for relying on two eyewitnesses who changed their stories, and failing to investigate Hallam’s alibi.

“I am just shocked. I knew this would happen, he should never have been in there,” Hallam’s mother, Wendy Cohen, said. “My family has gone through hell, it is like we were all being tortured. Sam’s father killed himself while he was inside, all of us have suffered.”

Hallam’s supporters included the actor Ray Winstone. In an interview Wednesday evening on ITV, Winstone said police conduct in the case should be investigated.

“For me it is the disgraceful unprofessional action of the police involved in this case, action that has caused a terrible stress within the family of the Hallams,” he said. (UPI) 

<관련 한글 기사>

7년 옥살이한 청년 ‘살인범’ 석방 돼…

7년 전 에사이야 카사헌(21)을 살인한 혐의로 감옥형을 선고 받았던 샘 할람(Sam Hallam)은 지난 수요일 7년 만에 석방되었다고 영국 언론이 보도했다.

피해자 카사헌은 2004년 당시 패싸움 중에 사망한 것으로 알려졌다.

변호인 헨리 블랙슬랜드(Henry Blaxland)는 수사 당시에 할람의 입장을 조사하지 않은 채 두 증인의 일정치 못한 증언에 의존한 사실에 대해 경찰과 영국 왕립 경찰청을 비난했다.

할람의 어머니 웬디 코헨(Wendy Cohen)은 “가족이 지옥을 맛봤다. 아들이 옥살이 하는 동안 남편도 자살했다. 가족 모두가 피해자이다”며 억울함을 호소했다.