Commission refers the drug smuggling conviction of Goldie Coates to the Court of Appeal

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

The Criminal Cases Review Commission has referred the conviction Goldie Coats to the Court of Appeal.

Ms Coats was convicted on 7th November 2008 of being knowingly concerned in the fraudulent evasion of the prohibition on the importation of goods contrary to section 170(2)(b) of the Customs and Excise Management Act 1979.

Ms Coats was travelling with her co-defendant, Aaron Blackstock, when they were stopped by HM Revenue and Customs Officers at Heathrow in October 2007 on a return flight from Jamaica. Their luggage contained 1.26 kg of cocaine at 100% purity with a street value of £64,000.

Mr Blackstock pleaded guilty and was sentenced to six years’ imprisonment.

Ms Coats pleaded not guilty; she said she had no idea that the suitcases contained drugs. She was convicted and sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment.

Ms Coats was refused leave to appeal against her sentence and did not seek to appeal against her conviction. She applied to the Commission September 2009.

Having investigated the case, the Commission has decided to refer Ms Coats’ case to the Court of Appeal because it considers that new medical evidence suggesting that Ms Coats was suffering from battered woman syndrome at the time of the offence raises the real possibility that the Court of Appeal will quash the conviction or reduce the sentence.

Ms Coats has not been legally represented during her application to the Commission.

This press release was issued by Justin Hawkins, Head of Communication, Criminal Cases Review Commission, on 0121 633 1806.


  1. The Criminal Cases Review Commission is an independent body set up under the Criminal Appeal Act 1995. It is responsible for reviewing suspected and alleged miscarriages of criminal justice in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and in the Court Martial and Service Civilian Court. The Commission is based in Birmingham and is funded by the Ministry of Justice.
  1. There are nine Commissioners who bring to the Commission considerable experience from a wide variety of backgrounds. Commissioners are appointed by the Queen on the recommendation of the Prime Minister in accordance with the Office for the Commissioner for Public Appointments’ Code of Practice.
  1. The Commission receives around 1,000 applications for reviews (convictions and/or sentences) each year. Our current rates of referral are around 4%, which means around one in 25 of all applications are referred to the appeal courts.

4. The Commission considers whether, as a result of new evidence or argument, there is a real possibility that the conviction would not be upheld were a reference to be made. New evidence or argument is argument or evidence which has not been raised during the trial or on appeal. Applicants should usually have appealed first. A case can be referred in the absence of new evidence or argument or an earlier appeal only if there are “exceptional circumstances”.

5. If a case is referred, it is then for the appeal court to decide whether the conviction is unsafe or the sentence unfair.

Criminal Cases Review Commission


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