Ex-soldier wins right to have Orkney murder case reviewed

Michael Ross was convicted of shooting Shamsuddin Mahmood  (below)  in 2008
Michael Ross was convicted of shooting Shamsuddin Mahmood (below) in 2008
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A FORMER soldier convicted of murdering an Asian waiter in Orkney is to have his case reviewed in the latest attempt to clear his name.

The Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission, which investigates alleged miscarriages of justice, has confirmed it has accepted an application from Michael Ross, 35.

Bangladeshi waiter Shamsuddin Mahmood

Bangladeshi waiter Shamsuddin Mahmood

Ross was jailed for 25 years in 2008 for the racist killing of Shamsuddin Mahmood, 26, at the Mumutaz restaurant in Kirkwall in May 1994.

The Inverness-based ex-Black Watch sniper was found guilty 14 years later of shooting the waiter in the head, aged just 15.

The killing had remained unsolved until Northern Constabulary carried out a cold case review.

Ross was finally charged with the murder and was found guilty at the High Court in Glasgow, where he was jailed for a minimum 25 years in 2008.

A further five years was added for an attempt to escape at the end of his trial. A car was found nearby with a rifle, ammunition and a grenade.

Attempts to overturn the conviction failed at the appeal courts.

Ross turned to the SCCRC in August, and a spokesman for the commission said: “We can confirm we have accepted Michael Ross’ case and will review it.”

Ross, who is serving the sentence at Shotts Prison in Lanarkshire, has always maintained his innocence.

The SCCRC has the authority to refer cases back to the appeal court.

His conviction was helped by an eyewitness who had originally stayed silent, but came forward more than a decade later saying he had seen Ross in the area of the restaurant.

Appeal judges have previously heard that Ross felt he had been unfairly treated by police investigating the murder claiming that, when officers questioned him as a teenager, they did not take his age into consideration.

His defence advocate Chris Shead has said the use of evidence gleaned from the interviews might have made his trial, years later, unfair and breached his human rights.

But judges ruled they were not satisfied it was a case that merited leave to appeal.

In 2008 a potential new witness came forward. Aberdeen woman Amelia Swanney, 30, said she was with Ross in another part of Kirkwall when Mr Mahmood was shot.

Ross’ father, Eddie Ross, a former policeman has relaunched his bid to get his son freed from prison, claiming the conviction was ‘a serious miscarriage of justice’.

He has printed more than 1,000 campaign letters and has been handing them out in the streets of Orkney.

The leaflet reads: “The case against Michael has to be one of the most flawed and corrupt court cases ever to come into the public domain and is an absolute disgrace.

“It has become one of an increasing number of criminal cases where the terms credible witness, evidence and beyond all reasonable doubt have been deliberately ignored.

“It brings new meaning to what is seen as a serious miscarriage of justice.”

Mr Ross sen, 59, worked for Northern Constabulary when the murder happened and was called to the scene of the shooting.

He was jailed for four years for trying to defeat the ends of justice. He now works as an undertaker.