An Indian cricket star who was found guilty of sexually abusing a child in Northern Ireland is making one last attempt to appeal his conviction.
Uday Joshi is currently serving a six-year sentence in HMP Magilligan after a jury found him guilty in February 2012 of serious sex offences against a teenage boy, dating back to 1979.
He appealed against his conviction but this was rejected in September 2012.
However, his legal team claim there is new evidence which calls into question the case against Joshi, and they have just cleared a major hurdle in their efforts to launch a final attempt at overturning the verdict.
His case had been referred to the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC), which will decide whether or not there is enough fresh evidence to warrant a second appeal.
Around half of cases received by the CCRC are rejected during an initial review stage.
Joshi’s case has now cleared this stage, and it is expected that in October an investigator will be appointed to comb through the case in more detail to decide whether an appeal should go ahead.
New evidence which Joshi’s legal team are relying upon centres on the night in 1979 when the 13-year-old victim said he had first been abused.
Joshi was coaching cricket at the time, and it was the Sunday night before a new round of training was to begin.
During the trial, the court heard that Joshi and the victim’s father had been in the bar of Woodvale Cricket Club that evening, whilst the boy waited outside.
The jury was told Joshi suggested the boy could sleep at his grandmother’s house where he himself was staying, and it was there, later that night, that the cricketer invited the child into bed and sexually abused him.
However, Joshi’s legal team argues that this account cannot be accurate.
They have tracked down a member of the cricket club who has “categorically stated” that on Sundays their club bar was closed, something which it is claimed “undermines totally” the victim’s account.
There is no timeframe for a decision by the CCRC.
But if an appeal were to be granted, his solicitor Charlene Graham says it would be the only remaining opportunity Joshi will get to clear his name.
However, she does not believe the chances are good.
She told the News Letter: “I think unfortunately when you look at the statistics coming back from the CCRC, cases referred back to the Court of Appeal in Northern Ireland are few and far between – and this really is this man’s last chance.”
During Joshi’s trial, the court was told he had an unblemished character, and sporting and educational figures stepped forward to vouch for him. His lawyers had also said important records from police and the cricket club are missing and that there were inconsistencies in evidence before the court.
The pensioner has always protested his innocence. However, dismissing his appeal in 2012, a trio of judges said they were “not left with any sense of unease about the verdict”.