In the Media

Lapland theme park pair have convictions quashed

PUBLISHED October 26, 2011

Appeal court rules Victor and Henry Mears's convictions were unsafe because jury in 2008 trial should have been discharged Two brothers jailed after being accused of conning thousands of customers into visiting what they claimed was a Lapland-style theme park had their convictions overturned by appeal judges on Wednesday. Three court of appeal judges heard arguments that the jury hearing the original case should have been discharged after it was revealed that a member had been exchanging text messages with her fiance. As a result, the judges announced they had "reached the conclusion that the convictions are unsafe". Victor Mears, 67, and Henry Mears, 60, were jailed for 13 months in March this year and have now served their sentences. Bristol crown court heard during their trial that in 2008 they offered Lapland New Forest visitors a winter wonderland with snow-covered log cabins, a nativity scene, husky dogs, polar bears and other animals, as well as a bustling Christmas market. Instead, families found a muddy field, a broken ice rink and fairy lights hung from trees, the court heard. Dorset trading standards prosecuted the brothers under consumer protection laws. The brothers, both from Brighton in East Sussex, denied eight charges of misleading advertising but were found guilty on all counts. Their appeals were heard by Lord Justice Moore-Bick, Mr Justice Butterfield and Mr Justice Irwin. No application was made for a retrial. Moore-Bick announced at the end of a hearing in London: "We have reached the conclusion that the convictions are unsafe." He said the court would give reasons for its decision at a later date. Crime Court of appeal © 2011 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds