UK judges clear men jailed for Malaysian student robbery
Two men jailed for robbing a Malaysian student in one of the defining images of last year's London riots have won an appeal to have their convictions quashed.
Prosecutors said late Thursday they would not seek a re-trial of John Kafunda and Reece Donovan, both in their 20s, who were convicted of robbing Asyraf Haziq Rosli, 21, in March.
They had their convictions quashed by the Court of Appeal following a hearing behind closed doors in London.
Judges said they would give their reasons for their decisions at a later date.
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said it would not seek a new trial because there was no realistic prospect of a fresh conviction.
A spokeswoman said an issue raised at the men's appeal related to the anonymity granted to two prosecution witnesses at the trial in March.
"Our application for witness anonymity for two witnesses in this trial was allowed by the (trial) judge. Without anonymity being given, these witnesses would not have given evidence," said the CPS spokeswoman.
"The Court of Appeal has quashed these convictions as a result of allowing this application."
Asyraf had been in Britain just a month when he was caught up in the riots which swept across London in August 2011, sparked by the killing by the police of a black man.
The accountancy student was knocked off his bicycle and left bloodied with his jaw broken in two places in Barking, east London.
Footage shot on a mobile phone showed a man putting his arm around Asyraf and pretending to protect him from further trouble while men rifled through the student's rucksack, stealing a Playstation and games.
Kafunda and Donovan denied they were in the video, which was viewed millions of times on YouTube.
Asyraf said after the attack that he bore no grudge towards those involved, saying he felt "very sorry for the people who did this" and insisting that it had not put him off Britain.