In its judgment, the court ruled by a majority of twelve to five that there had been no violation of the ECHR.

“A finding that it could not be established beyond reasonable doubt that an applicant had not committed a criminal offense – by reference to a new or newly discovered fact or otherwise – did not amount to a finding that he or she had committed the criminal offence,” said the report.

“Therefore, it cannot be said that the refusal of compensation by the Minister of Justice attributed criminal culpability to the applicants. The Court concluded that the refusal of the applicants’ claims for damages under section 133(1ZA) of the (Criminal Justice) Act 1988 had not breached the presumption of innocence.”

Sam Hallam was 17 when he was found guilty of the murder of 21-year-old Essayas Kassahun, who died after being attacked by a group of youths on the St Luke’s estate in Clerkenwell, London, in October 2004.

He served seven years and seven months before his convictions were overturned in 2012. The Court of Appeal ruled that there was room for mistaken identity and that his alibi was a faulty memory rather than a lie.

Supporters included Ray Winstone

He has always insisted he was never at the scene and that his family and friends waged a high-profile campaign insisting he was innocent, with supporters including actor Ray Winstone.

Victor Nealon was convicted of attempted rape in 1996 and served 17 years and three months before his conviction was overturned. Further forensic analysis of the victim’s clothing revealed evidence of DNA from an unknown man.

However, neither was declared “completely innocent” by the Justice Department. Nealon was told by the Department of Justice that the unknown man’s DNA may have nothing to do with the attack on the victim. Hallam was told that the new evidence in his case did not prove conclusively that he was not at the scene of the murder.

The verdict means that there are no further legal options for the couple to overturn the Ministry of Justice’s decision.

The ruling comes amid heightened concerns about the fate of those acquitted for miscarriages of justice following the case of Andrew Malkinson, who served 17 years in prison for a rape he did not commit. He has not yet received a cent in compensation for his wrongful conviction.

He was found not guilty by the Court of Appeal in July 2023 and his supporters say he is now dependent on food banks.