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Magpie

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Reply with quote  #61 

A New Variant of Miscarriages of Justice -DNA

 

The following would appear to be a new variant of miscarriages of justice. The common denominator is only DNA 'evidence'.
In Ireland such a case the defendent would be acqitted if it gets to court eg
http://www.online.ie/news/viewer.adp?article=%203040050


Frederick Howe,October 2003


Should have been the situation in England after the R v. Watters appeal.

Rawson Watson

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/kent/3044458.stm


Rawson Watson
I followed ,as far as reported in the Press,the prosecution of Rawson Watson. Nowhere did I see reference to the damming DNA evidence being re-tested on different loci. Not just re-testing with the regular SGM+ but some other supplementary set of test loci. The 'expert' who made mention of a possibility of a random false match as being "billion to one against", is tantamount to perjury. The only other evidence against Mr Watson, seemed to be conjectured, that he obtained a forged passport or passport control stamps. Why someone should forge a passport and deliberately not choose a date showing he was in Toga at the time of the supposed heist just beggars belief. Unless there is incontravertible evidence, I am not aware of, his prosecution should be appealed.


John Duffy

http://www.news.scotsman.com/latest.cfm?id=2222270


Quote
Tue 25 Nov 2003 3:34pm (UK)
'I Was in the Pub' Says Double Rape Accused By John Bingham, PA News A Glasgow Rangers soccer fan accused of raping two step-sisters at knifepoint in a park four years ago was busy drinking after an "Old Firm" derby match on the night in question, a court heard today. Glasgow-born John Duffy, 23, of Knaphill, Surrey, denies two counts of rape and two counts of indecent assault in Goldsworth Park, Woking, Surrey, on November 7, 1999. No one had been charged in connection with the case despite a national appeal on the television programme Crimewatch until Duffy was asked to produce a routine DNA sample after being suspected of drink-driving earlier this year. The court was told last week that Duffy's DNA profile was consistent with a previously unmatched sample taken from blood found on the victims' clothes and fingernails after the alleged attack. But Duffy told Guildford Crown Court today that he was drinking in a pub with family and friends on the night in question. When asked about his movements by police after his arrest Duffy had been unable to recall where he had been that evening but said he later realised that he had been watching the Rangers-Celtic match - a clash he always watched. Duffy told the court that the Old Firm derby was "the biggest match in the Scottish league" - on that occasion Rangers won 4-2. Duffy was able to recall the score as well as details, including an injury to a Celtic player. He said he then remained in the pub, during a Leeds-Wimbledon clash shown afterwards, which ended with a score of 2-1 and was later picked up and driven to the home he shared with his girlfriend. When asked by defence counsel David Barnes what state he would have been in after the night in the pub, Duffy said he he would have been "very merry". The prosecution says the step-sisters, then aged 16 and 18, were out for an evening stroll when they were approached from behind by a stranger armed with a knife. He steered the teenagers towards a copse near the park's lake where he indecently assaulted and raped them, it is alleged
End quote


Yet again a prosecution case made on ONLY DNA 'evidence' AFAIK. Is there no competent defence counsel in this blighted country? Without independent corroborative evidence a DNA 'match' is just a coincidence until further evidence puts a defendent at the scene of a crime, especially as 7 years previously. I bet, yet again, no extended-loci test of both SoCo sample and defendent.


The Wider Implications of DNA Profiles - the Attribution Problem

Beware! Police DNA database and postage stamps

Please be aware all criminals or non-criminals like me (courtesy of section 82 of the 2001 Criminal Justice and Police Act) who have had DNA samples taken from them and the profile placed permanently on the Birmingham Forensic Science Service (FSS) database.
DO NOT lick postage stamps before sticking on envelopes - use damp cloth or sponge...................

Technical Problems with DNA Profiles

Lack of Validation

Conventional fingerprint forensic evidence has been around for over 100 years and you would think it was tried and tested technology but not the case. See the cases of police detective Shirley McKie and David Asbury in Scotland Shirley Mckie the forensic fingerprint details are worth downloading to look at..............


What they aren't telling you about DNA profiles
and what Special Branch don't want you to know.
http://www.oldbury.chat.ru/dnapr.htm
or nutteingd in a search engine.

http://www.oldbury.chat.ru/dnamoj.htm

 

 


Scotland on Sunday Sun 17 Aug 2003

 

 

Police outrage over demand for their DNA

JASON ALLARDYCE

PLANS to force police to give DNA samples have sparked a rebellion among rank-and-file officers.

It is understood all eight of Scotland’s police forces are about to demand that in future new recruits hand over samples to be included in a national genetic database.

This would allow any body matter, such as hair or saliva, found at a crime scene, to be compared with the DNA records of officers, so investigations are not thrown off course through accidental contamination by officers working there.

But rank-and-file police fear that calculating criminals with a grudge against members of the force could manipulate the system to damage the careers of innocent officers.

Members of the Scottish Police Federation believe criminals could deliberately contaminate the scene with officers’ DNA, either to implicate them in serious crimes or to give the impression that they had planted evidence. A federation spokesman said: "A point made by many of our members is that it is relatively easy for anyone so minded to obtain DNA traces of a police officer - for example from a discarded cigarette butt - and to deliberately contaminate a locus with it.

"Apart from the suspicion which may or may not fall on the officer, it has the potential to diminish the evidential value of any DNA traces of the real perpetrator of the crime."

Last night the officers’ fears were dismissed as "far fetched" by a source close to the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland, which is driving the new plan forward.

But the possibility of framing police officers is an extremely sensitive issue for the force. A policewoman lost her job after being wrongly accused of leaving her fingerprint at a murder scene. All officers already have to provide fingerprints as a condition of appointment.

Former Strathclyde WPC Shirley McKie was accused of contaminating the scene of the murder of Ayrshire woman Marion Ross, who was found stabbed at her Kilmarnock home in January 1997.

McKie maintained that although she was one of the first officers to arrive at the scene, she had never been in Ross’s house.

Despite the defence argument that the murder scene had been contaminated by police incompetence, David Asbury was convicted on other fingerprint evidence and sentenced to life imprisonment. But 10 months after the conviction, McKie was charged with perjury and suspended by Strathclyde Police for allegedly lying on oath, although she was later fully acquitted.

Civil liberties campaigners last night voiced concerns about the DNA testing plan. John Scott, the chairman of the Scottish Human Rights Centre, said the move was "an intrusion into personal privacy".

He said it would be easier to justify checking samples against police DNA when the need arose, rather than impose blanket DNA testing.

Scott also agreed a determined criminal could attempt to frame a police officer with a stolen DNA sample. "There have been cases where it has been suspected that fingerprint evidence has been planted," he said. "If you have access to someone’s DNA it allows greater scope for the possibility that evidence can be planted."

The police federation also doubts whether the planned DNA database represents good value for money. It has suggested it may be cheaper simply to obtain samples as required from an individual officer if it is suspected he may have contaminated a crime scene.

But the Scottish Executive, which is prepared to change the law to allow the testing regime to begin shortly, rejected such concerns. An Executive spokeswoman said: "The creation of such a database has clear benefits in terms of providing operational, time and financial savings."

The requirement for new recruits to provide a DNA sample as a condition of appointment has been in place south of the Border since last summer.

Under the Scottish plan, samples would be stored on a database to be searched only if a senior investigating officer had reasonable grounds to believe that innocent contamination of a scene of crime might have taken place.

Supporters say because technological developments had produced highly sensitive analytical techniques, there is a risk that a DNA profile could be inadvertently contaminated - for example as a result of an officer sneezing, coughing or shedding a stray hair.

While this may not lead to a wrongful conviction, it could delay an investigation or at worst prevent the real offender being identified.

Backers of the policy say that if investigators could quickly identify such innocent contamination using the DNA database and discard it, inquiries could proceed quicker.

A spokeswoman for Acpos confirmed that following a meeting last week, all forces had agreed to require new recruits to take a DNA test and follow the English model, although Scotland’s biggest force, Strathclyde Police, is considering requiring all its officers to provide a sample.

A source close to the association said: "The fact that you’ve got someone’s DNA at a crime scene does not mean people will believe that person is responsible.

"It is simply an indication that the person may have been at the locus. It would merely start an investigation which would require to look for corroboration."

 

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Reply with quote  #62 

Hi Magpie... thanks for your excellent post with regards to 'Another Miscarriage Of Justice', and in particular, the article relating to the police outrage over the demand to give their DNA.

 

I, for one, am intrigued as to know exactly why they are apparently so outraged.  Personally I think it is a good idea, and not only for the police, but for Scenes of Crime Officers and also those serving in the Armed Forces and other areas where they are public servants.  Giving DNA samples would surely protect them from instances whereby they may be wrongly accused of committing a crime, or being put at a place they weren't, and I'm surprised they aren't queuing up in their hundreds to willingly give a sample of their DNA.

 

But wait a minute... could their 'outrage' and obvious reluctance have something to do with the fact that they have something to hide?  Why else would people, who are employed to serve and protect, be so outraged at this request?  It seems bizarre, as this is one definite way to protect one's interests in a field where so many 'wrong-doings' and cover-ups are coming to light.

 

The only (and obvious) conclusion would seem to be that they are AFRAID.  And no doubt they'll spin some rubbish along the lines of 'it goes against their human rights and is a personal intrusion'.  WHAT ABOUT THE HUMAN RIGHTS OF ALL THE INNOCENT PEOPLE THEY HAVE KNOWINGLY FITTED UP OVER THE YEARS?

 

Would the REAL criminals please stand up.


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Magpie

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Reply with quote  #63 

Hi Admin. As you may have read in the latter article 'A federation spokesman said: "A point made by many of our members is that it is relatively easy for anyone so minded to obtain DNA traces of a police officer - for example from a discarded cigarette butt - and to deliberately contaminate a locus with it'.

 

Well we the PUBLIC can also point out that this contamination concern is as equal a risk for the innocent public as it is for police officers. 'It is relatively easy for the POLICE so minded to obtain DNA traces of an innocent member of the PUBLIC - for example from a discarded cigarette butt - and to deliberately contaminate a locus with it'.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Magpie

Hi Admin. As you may have read in the latter article 'A federation spokesman said: "A point made by many of our members is that it is relatively easy for anyone so minded to obtain DNA traces of a police officer - for example from a discarded cigarette butt - and to deliberately contaminate a locus with it'.

 

Well we the PUBLIC can also point out that this contamination concern is as equal a risk for the innocent public as it is for police officers. 'It is relatively easy for the POLICE so minded to obtain DNA traces of an innocent member of the PUBLIC - for example from a discarded cigarette butt - and to deliberately contaminate a locus with it'.

Well said Magpie... couldn't agree with you more.  I would imagine that there have been several cases whereby the police have indeed obtained DNA traces of innocent people in order to obtain a conviction.  In exactly the same way that even innocent people who weren't at a specific 'locus' still get convicted of crimes they haven't committed, because if the police want to convict you, they will.  By hook or by CROOK.  Evidence doesn't even have to exist in order to secure a conviction - they'll just make it up.  And worse still, get away with it.


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Reply with quote  #65 

It is extremely worrying in those cases where the defendant is found guilty on forensic evidence alone. We are all at risk of being a victim of a MoJ. Just think of all areas of life where we leave our DNA trail. Mr/Mrs Innocent pick up a magazine or an ornament etc... in a store and put it back on the shelf. That particular magazine/ornament is then purchased by someone who is later found murdered. There is no evidence to corroborate Mr/Mrs Innocent being at the crime scene but for their fingerprints/dna having been found on objects at the scene.

 

Forensic contamination by police officers/others is another concern. In the Barry George case, his lawyers state that the only forensic evidence that linked George with the murder was a particle from gunshot residue.


Trial and Error: The Case of Barry George
Scott Lomax

During the afternoon of Monday 26 April 1999 news of a terrible crime began to be spread around Britain. At 11:30 that morning the television presenter Jill Dando was shot dead on her doorstep, at 29 Gowan Avenue, Fulham, London, after a shopping trip. She no longer lived on Gowan Avenue (she had moved in with her fiancé and had placed the house on the market) but she needed to make a brief visit on that morning. Before she was able to unlock her door Jill had been held to the ground by her assailant, who pressed a gun into her head and fired a single shot.

The public were shocked to hear that a woman could be murdered, in broad daylight, in a brutal manner outside her home. What made it even sadder was that Miss Dando had recently announced her plans to marry her gynaecologist partner Alan Farthing. What followed was one of the largest and most expensive police investigations to ever take place in Britain. The team of up to fifty officers traced, interviewed, and eliminated thousands of suspects in the months following the incident. In total approximately £2,000,000 was spent on the police operation, which was named Operation Oxborough and headed by Detective Chief Inspector Hamish Campbell.

The gunman had been seen as he left Miss Dando’s garden. Two of her neighbours saw him walk away, one of these, Richard Hughes, describing his manner as “calm.” Neither realised the significance of their sightings at the time and Miss Dando’s body was not discovered until at least ten minutes later. Other witnesses reported seeing a man, in and around Gowan Avenue, that morning. Whether they saw the killer or not remains uncertain, but the police believed that, due to similarities in the descriptions, they probably each saw the man responsible. He was described as white in colour, with thickset broad shoulders and thick collar-length black hair which was pushed back. The man was clean-shaven and did not wear glasses. He appeared to be in his mid to late thirties. He was taller than 5’7” (probably a little under 6’0”) and medium build. The gunman was wearing a dark (probably black) wax jacket or Barbour style jacket and he looked respectable. Some described him as Mediterranean, whilst others reported a man who was not of Mediterranean appearance. Some saw a man with a blue shirt less than two hours before the crime, whilst another saw a man wearing a white shirt around the same time. It is highly likely that several men were seen but Oxborough placed all of the sightings into their scenario of the crime.

Three men were involved they originally said, but after a few months they believed a lone gunman must have been responsible. After all, if three people were involved in a plot to murder the presenter then surely the police would have heard something from the criminal world would they not? Campbell believed so but surely his reasoning is dubious. Multiple individuals certainly were acting in a suspicious manner in that area at that time.

A large range of motives were suggested. At one point, Jill’s killer was a hit man, hired by an ex-boyfriend who had become jealous when he heard of Miss Dando’s engagement. At other times he was believed to be an ex-boyfriend himself. As Britain was at war with Serbia at the time, in the Kosovo conflict, and because Jill had made an appeal for money to help the Kosovar refugees, the theory that she was killed by a Serbian hit man had to be followed up. Other theories included a spurned Mafia boss who had approached the victim and shown an interest in her, and a criminal who had a grudge against the presenter because of her work on Crimewatch UK. Although none of these theories could be eliminated with certainty, eliminated they all were. Eventually the police placed an emphasis on the view that Miss Dando was murdered by an obsessed fan who must have had a very strong interest in his victim.

On 11 April 2000 Barry George was interviewed by Detective Constable John Gallagher in connection with the murder of Miss Dando. George had emerged as a suspect because he had been agitated on the day of the crime when discussing problems with his GP and housing association, and also because he had become worried two days after the crime and had asked people to verify his movements on the day of the murder. However, he was satisfied when those he asked were able to prove that he had an alibi for the time of the murder.

In addition to this, one woman had informed Oxborough that Barry was odd and had owned air rifles. However, he had not been considered to be someone who needed to be interviewed quickly and therefore he was placed on a low priority amongst other people who should be interviewed at some point in the future. Over a month after being interviewed by Gallagher, on 25 May 2000, George was arrested on suspicion of murdering the presenter. Three days later he was charged with this offence and on 2 July 2001 he was found guilty by a majority of 10 – 1. However, this case has proven to be one of the most controversial cases in criminal history. Despite having his appeals dismissed at the Court of Appeal and the House of Lords there is a large amount of information, much of which the jury never heard and some of which the appeal judges misinterpreted, to prove that beyond doubt Barry Michael George had no involvement in causing Miss Dando’s death.

Orlando Pownall informed the jury that George was a loner who had an obsession with firearms and the victim. To ‘prove’ his claims he relied upon evidence obtained during searches and through questioning people who had, in the past, known the defendant.

It transpired that George was in possession of gun magazines and some books upon the subject of firearms. These all dated to the 1980s. Barry had joined the Territorial Army in 1981, but he left the following year after failing his basic training. He attempted to join a gun club in 1982, but he was refused membership because he could not find a suitable referee for his application. In the mid 1980s he had shown a gun to a friend, and on a separate occasion he had fired a blank round at another friend. Just to remind you, Miss Dando was shot in 1999. There is no evidence to suggest that George had an interest in firearms, which could be classed as anything remotely resembling an obsession, during the 1990s. By this time his interests had moved on to music and his idol Freddie Mercury, an interest which lasted beyond 1999. George is only able to focus his mind on one interest at a time and so his life is filled with different periods where he was interested in one subject. When this period closes he ceases to be interested with the subject any longer, or at least his interest diminishes so that he no longer actively involves himself with the interest. The magazines were found in his flat because he is a hoarder; unless he absolutely had to remove something from his flat, he never removed it. For this reason it took the police many days to conduct searches of his flat.

As far as his ‘obsession’ with Miss Dando is concerned, there was very little evidence to suggest that he had any interest in her. George is the type of man who enjoys sharing his interests with people. He informed friends and strangers that he liked Freddie Mercury. George finds it impossible to keep his interests and hobbies to himself and he talks with such enthusiasm that it can escape no one’s attention of what it is that occupies his mind. Campbell told the public that Miss Dando’s killer would have had “an unhealthy interest in Jill Dando and more importantly it is unlikely to have been kept a secret.” However, no one has been able to inform the police that George had ever mentioned the woman he allegedly killed. George had taken thousands of photographs of women and television presenters. However, none of these were of Miss Dando yet the jury was never told this. George collected newspapers: the police found over eight hundred newspapers in his flat. In all of these only eight articles were found which referred to Miss Dando. It would have taken George many hours, if not days, to work his way through all of the rubbish and all of the many pages in the newspapers, to find these articles, none of which were highlighted or marked out in any way. Would an obsessed man want to search for lengthy periods of time for articles that discussed the target of his affection? Is it the case that eight articles from eight hundred newspapers indicates ‘compelling’ evidence of an obsession? Or could it be their presence be coincidental? It must be remembered that Miss Dando was in the media frequently, especially when her engagement was announced. If George had evidence of an obsession then, with his incredibly untidy flat, he would have been unable to find and remove it. An obsessed man would have clear signs of an obsession. Barry George did not.

The particle of alleged Firearms Discharge Residue (FDR) found in the pocket of one of George’s jackets, was seen to be compelling proof of his guilt. The particle matched those found on the victim inasmuch as they were composed of the same elements. This means that the particle in the jacket came from a source of powder that was of the same type as that used in the cartridge used in the murder weapon. It does not at all prove that the particle came from the murder weapon. The possibility that the particle had come from a blank firing gun, or even a firework, could not be ruled out.

 

The scientist who studied the particles, Dr Keeley, told the court that it was possible that contamination was responsible for the presence of the particle. He claimed that the possibility was small but the possibility could never be ignored. The defence scientist, Dr Lloyd, a forensic scientist with over thirty years of experience, told the court that “It is my view that this evidence is not reliable as evidence of the defendant’s involvement in the shooting… There is no particular reason why this particle can be so related to the shooting of Miss Dando.”

The jacket had been removed from its protective bag and had been placed upon a work surface in a photographic studio that housed ammunition. Items found at the crime scene, such as the bullet and cartridge as well as Miss Dando’s front door (which is where the bullet hit after passing through the victim’s head) were photographed in the studio. Contamination could have occurred here. The search team, who recovered the jacket, had not worn forensic clothing whilst searching George’s flat. One of the officers who was present, and who had handled the jacket, had handled ammunition whilst wearing the same clothing.

 

The vehicle in which the jacket was taken away had not been sampled, contrary to procedure, and therefore it may have contained forensic evidence which found its way on to the packaging and eventually on to the jacket itself.

Recent evidence has come to light that could explain how the particle could have found its way in to the jacket pocket. George has always maintained that the police took firearms in to his flat when they first searched it. This is common police procedure when it is believed that a suspect may own weapons. It was during this first search that the jacket was found and taken away for examination. The jacket’s pockets were opened inside the flat whilst particles of FDR could have been in the air as a result of the presence of armed officers. Numerous witnesses, including a church minister, have spoken about how they each saw armed police enter on that day. It would seem that the slight possibility is now appreciably larger.

Only one witness was able to say that she was “very sure” that she saw George on the day of Jill Dando’s murder. Susan Mayes saw a man across the road from 29 Gowan Avenue at 07:00, four and a half hours before the shooting. This man may not have been responsible for the crime. Mayes told the court that she looked at the man for five to six seconds. During some of this time his face was turned away. However, eighteen months later she identified George as the man she had seen.

The integrity of this witness’s evidence is questionable, partly because she had originally described the man she had seen as having a “short and smart haircut” yet later she described it as long and untidy. There is significant evidence to suggest that the police influenced Mayes’ identification. This is not an unknown occurrence. A trial recently collapsed in Sheffield when it emerged that the police had told a witness to pick out a particular man from a parade. Importantly neither of the witnesses who saw the killer, immediately following the crime, identified George as the man they had seen.

Can the evidence against George be described as ‘compelling’? It would seem not. It would also appear that his actions on the day of the murder can be accounted for.

Susan Bicknell claimed that George was with her at 11:50am, on 26 April 1999, at a disability centre known as Hammersmith and Fulham Action for Disability (Hafad). Hafad is located approximately half a mile away from 29 Gowan Avenue (around one mile away from George’s flat). It must be remembered that the shooting occurred at 11:30. The court heard that, because of the distances involved, if George’s actions could be accounted for any time between 11:00 and 12:00 then there was no chance whatsoever that he could be responsible. George does not drive and the gunman would have certainly been covered in blood. When he entered Hafad, George was wearing a yellow shirt and an anorak type jacket; the killer was wearing very different clothing. The prosecution claimed that Bicknell was wrong about her timing of the visit. They stated that other women had told the police that the visit could have been as late as 14:00. These women had only introduced the late times after a year had elapsed, and none had a reason to remember the time (other than the £250,000 reward for information leading to a conviction) whilst Bicknell (who had dealt with George, who incidentally was her first client because it was her first day of working at Hafad, and therefore she had a reason to remember the time) had maintained that the visit was made at 11:50. A second woman was equally certain that the time was “around midday.”

George did have a criminal record before he was found guilty of murder. In 1983 he had been found guilty of attempting to rape a woman. This crime, for which he pleaded guilty, is completely inexcusable. However, after his release from prison (he was sentenced to thirty-three months) he became a reformed character. All of the evidence suggests that he did not commit any illegal activity from 1985 onwards. George had been interviewed in connection with the murder of Rachel Nickell in 1992. This was because of his criminal record. It was determined that he had no involvement in this crime. However, George suffers from paranoia and therefore such an experience with the police deeply worried him. From this point on he feared that he would be blamed for crimes committed near where he lived.

When Miss Dando was shot less than half a mile from where he lived, and when the police provided a description of the man they were hunting that matched the appearance of George, then he expected the police to turn up at his home at any time. He told people that he feared ‘they’ would blame him for Miss Dando’s murder. After all, this would explain why George felt he had to verify his movements on the day of the murder. He told the police “I went back there basically to account for my movements so if a situation did come up, I could address it to my solicitor.” The jury no doubt wondered why a man could be worried that the police would approach him. However, they were not at all aware of his paranoia and the fact that he had been interviewed in connection with a murder he had no involvement in.

Neither the police nor the prosecution have ever discovered a reason why George would wish to shoot Jill Dando. A murder weapon has never been found and at no point has George made a mistake by providing incriminating information. After his first appeal hearing was dismissed Barry George issued the following statement. Please remember these words:

“I did not murder Jill Dando and I believe that one day the truth will come out. I only hope and pray that this happens in my lifetime. I have spent over two years in prison for a crime I simply did not commit. I have struggled hard during this prosecution against me to keep my faith in the British criminal justice system. Today, that faith and belief has been destroyed.”

 


 

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Reply with quote  #66 

Hi Magpie... thanks for yet another excellent post, and I found the article on Barry George Scott Lomax very interesting, as this has been a case which has been of particular interest to me over the years for several reasons.  The first being that I have always doubted the 'guilt' of this man, and secondly, and perhaps most importantly, the strength of the evidence on which he was convicted.  The article only strengthens my opinion.

 

Originally posted by Magpie:

 

It is extremely worrying in those cases where the defendant is found guilty on forensic evidence alone. We are all at risk of being a victim of a MoJ. Just think of all areas of life where we leave our DNA trail. Mr/Mrs Innocent pick up a magazine or an ornament etc... in a store and put it back on the shelf. That particular magazine/ornament is then purchased by someone who is later found murdered. There is no evidence to corroborate Mr/Mrs Innocent being at the crime scene but for their fingerprints/dna having been found on objects at the scene.

 

Again, you make very valid points Magpie, and seeing as everyone leaves traces of DNA wherever they go, and on whatever they touch, it is indeed very worrying that any one of us, at any time, could be another miscarriage of justice.  Because lets face it, it has happened so many times before, and with the control that the police have, it could happen again.


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New Dando inquiry to investigate Archer claims

Dominic Timms
Monday July 11, 2005

MediaGuardian.co.uk

A fresh investigation into the conviction of Barry George for the murder of TV presenter Jill Dando has been opened by the Criminal Cases Review Commission.

The CCRC is looking into extraordinary accusations that Ms Dando's killing was linked to former Conservative party chairman Jeffrey Archer.

The Daily Mirror today printed allegations made by George's supporters that Ms Dando died after her killer mistook her for Angela Peppiatt, Lord Archer's former secretary and the woman whose evidence sent the Tory peer to jail for perjury four years ago.

Lawyers and friends of George, serving life for the 1999 murder of the Crimewatch presenter, have always argued his innocence.

Today the CCRC, the body that investigates miscarriages of justice in the UK, confirmed that a member of the George legal team had claimed Ms Dando had died after being mistaken for Ms Peppiatt.

The commission said it was undertaking a "substantive" review of allegations relating to the case.

"A man working on the Barry George campaign wrote to us a few weeks ago and formally asked us to look into the issue," said a CCRC spokesman.

A case worker, with access to a legal adviser and an investigator, is looking at the allegations, which could "take months," the legal body confirmed.

"The way it works is that if an application comes in we have to review it. We have to at least check out the applicant's arguments and what the issues are if they are within reason."

The allegations concerning Lord Archer are currently at Stage 2 in the commission's investigative process, he said.

Initial applications are vetted by a legal team at what is known as Stage O, before passing through stage 1 then 2 to 3, where a decision is taken whether the case should be referred to the court of appeal.

"We are investigating all sorts of aspects of the Barry George case. There's a lot of paperwork and a range of issues to be considered, although none has resulted in a referral so far," said the spokesman.

"There's a lot of work to do. We have been working on a substantive review for some months."

In a full-page article headlined "Was Jill Dando killed by mistake... by a hitman hired by Jeffrey Archer?", the Mirror reported allegations that Ms Dando died after being mistaken by a gunman intent on killing Ms Peppiatt.

"Angela Peppiatt lived in the same West London area as Dando, looks very similar and even drove the same kind of BMW car as her," the article claimed.

Ms Peppiatt's evidence - that Lord Archer doctored his diaries to create a false alibi to win £500,000 in damages against the Daily Star after it accused him of sleeping with a prostitute in 1987 - helped convict the Tory peer in 2001.

In March Mary Archer, speaking on behalf of her husband, said: "I have long known false allegations were made to the police to assist the prosecution and undermine Jeffrey's defence. I am astonished that the police did not make known to us, as the law requires they should have done, the preposterous claim that Jeffrey commissioned the murder of Angela Peppiatt."

The CCRC spokesman added: "Although we are obliged to look into issues were there may have been a miscarriage of justice, that doesn't mean that it has any credence."

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WAS JILL DANDO KILLED BY MISTAKE?
 
MURDERER USES CLAIM IN BID FOR FREEDOM
 

CAMPAIGNERS trying to free Jill Dando's murderer have persuaded law chiefs to investigate claims Jeffrey Archer was behind it.

Allegations that Dando died in an identity mix-up by someone trying to kill Archer's former secretary Angela Peppiatt are to be probed by the Criminal Cases Review Commission.

Loner Barry George 45, is serving life for killing the Crimewatch TV presenter but his family and friends have always argued he is innocent.

Now he has won the right for the extraordinary Archer allegations to be formally investigated after his uncle Michael Bourke wrote to the CCRC.

Angela Peppiatt lived in the same West London area as Dando, looks very similar and even drove the same kind of BMW car as her.

Witnesses saw a blonde woman, who looked like Dando, driving a BMW near where the TV star was killed.

The lookalike was seen just hours after Dando was shot dead in Fulham, West London, in April 1999.

A spokesman for the CCRC said: "We have a duty to consider any submission made by applicants or their representatives.

"The commission has already begun its inquiries into this particular issue and any findings will be considered as part of the overall review in due course."

Another secretary of Archer's has revealed how she was interviewed by police investigating links between the peer and Dando's death.

Last night Mr Bourke said: "I am making no claim against Lord Archer, but this was significant evidence that was never heard by the jury at Barry's original trial.

"I got a letter this week confirming that the matter would be considered by the case officer.

"It is significant because I believe the jury was finely balanced and a tiny piece of evidence could have swayed them.

"This information, however unfeasible, should have been aired in court."

It was Peppiatt's damning evidence as main prosecution witness at the Old Bailey that sent Archer to jail for perjury in 2001. She exposed the disgraced peer's lies, revealing how she helped shore up his alibi by falsifying an appointments book.

He had won his 1987 libel case against the Daily Star during which they failed to prove claims he slept with a prostitute.

George was jailed two years after Dando's killing, despite there being no motive for the murder. No murder weapon has ever been found.

His supporters have lost two appeals against the conviction.

They have consistently maintained Dando was murdered by a professional hitman.

When she was killed, Archer was bidding to become London Mayor. Two years later his reputation was in tatters after he was jailed for lying during the libel case.

The CCRC is the body that decides whether a case should go to the Court of Appeal.

Bizarrely, Archer is preparing a bid to overturn his perjury conviction by citing the allegations that he was responsible for the Dando murder.

It may provide a legal argument for Archer's planned appeal.

Archer claims that information about the Dando allegations was given to the police in the run-up to his trial.

His lawyers will argue that police did not observe rules obliging them to disclose to him all of the material gathered.

Dando, 37, was engaged to gynaecologist Alan Farthing when she was murdered.

Barry George, who also has a conviction for attempted rape, had previously been arrested for stalking Princess Diana.

He is celebrity-obsessed and even changed his name to Barry Bulsara - the real surname of his rock star hero Freddie Mercury.

 

Title: 1437286 colquhoun 150
File name: _1437286_colquhoun_150.jpg




http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/1441326.stm
Abstract: Andrina Colquhoun was Lord Archers mistress in the 1980s.

 

Title: 1402202 150jill dando2
File name: _1402202_150jill_dando2.jpg




http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/1402202.stm


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Hi Admin & Hammer6. Admin, I too have my doubts about Barry George's conviction for the murder of Jill Dando and this theory that the real target was Angela Peppiatt, Lord Archer's former secretary, is very interesting indeed. Isn't is also extraordinary that Monica Coghlan, the former prostitute at the centre of the Jeffrey Archer libel case was killed two weeks before Lord Archer and his former friend Ted Francis were due to stand trial at the Old Bailey on charges of perjury and attempting to pervert the course of justice in relation to the 1987 trial.


Suspected armed robber hits car during getaway

Archer case witness, Monica Coghlan, killed

Paul Kelso
Saturday April 28, 2001
The Guardian


Monica Coghlan, the former prostitute at the centre of the Jeffrey Archer libel case in 1987, has been killed after a car allegedly hijacked by a suspected armed robber collided with her Ford Fiesta in Scammonden, near Huddersfield, west Yorkshire.

Ms Coghlan, 50, died in the early hours of yesterday morning at Leeds general infirmary after being cut from the wreckage of her car and taken to hospital by air ambulance.

 

The driver of the Jaguar, a 32-year-old man, was seriously injured and was last night under police guard in Huddersfield royal infirmary.

 

Ms Coghlan, who leaves a teenage son, Robin, was killed after a chain of events that began when a man apparently armed with a handgun raided a chemist in Birkby, near Huddersfield.

After stealing valium, temazepam and DF118, a compound used by drug addicts, the man demanded another customer's car keys before driving off in a white Peugeot.

Shortly afterwards, the Peugeot collided with a Land Rover on New Hey Road, and the man stopped a passing white Jaguar. The Jaguar then crashed into Ms Coghlan's blue Fiesta, which was thrown through a wall into a field.

Ms Coghlan became synonymous with Lord Archer in 1986 when allegations that she had slept with the then Tory vice-chairman were published in the Daily Star.

The allegations, which Lord Archer denied, followed a sting operation by the News of the World in which Ms Coghlan was photographed accepting money from Michael Stacpoole, a friend of Lord Archer's, on platform three at Victoria station.

Lord Archer acknowledged offering Ms Coghlan £2,000 to leave the country to escape hounding by reporters, describing it as 'an error of judgment', but he vigorously denied having slept with her. In 1987, after a sensational libel trial, he was awarded a record £500,000 in damages.

Ms Coghlan's death comes two weeks before Lord Archer and his former friend Ted Francis are due to stand trial at the Old Bailey on charges of perjury and attempting to pervert the course of justice in relation to the 1987 trial.

 

It is alleged that Lord Archer asked Francis to provide a false alibi for him in advance of the libel trial, and falsified diary entries. Both men have pleaded not guilty.

 

Last night the crown prosecution service said the trial would go ahead. Ms Coghlan, who lived in Rochdale, Greater Manchester, where she worked as a bingo caller, had not been due to give evidence.

 

Ms Coghlan's nephew Kevin, 20, said: 'We just can't believe what has happened. Everyone is really upset. I don't know how my cousin is coping with it because I have not seen him.'


UPDATE: Sunday March 26, 2006

Dando killer in bid to launch fresh appeal

Mark Townsend
Sunday March 26, 2006
The Observer

Evidence has emerged that could quash the conviction of Barry George, who was given life in 2001 for murdering BBC Crimewatch presenter Jill Dando in west London two years earlier.

Lawyers acting for George claim his conviction is unsafe; a fresh appeal had been launched (an appeal in 2002 was quashed). Two new witnesses say that they saw armed police at the scene when George was arrested, in direct contradiction of what officers insisted.

The only forensic evidence linking George to the murder was a single particle from gunshot residue. Lawyers believe the presence of armed officers was responsible for this residue. They also say new medical reports suggest the 45-year-old was incapable of the killing because of mental disabilities.

 

 

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Hi Magpie & Hammer6... thanks for your excellent posts relating to the murder of Jill Dando, and the articles only strengthen my opinion that Barry George is, sadly, another miscarriage of justice.

 

It is welcoming news that a new investigation into Barry George's conviction for the murder of Jill Dando in 1999 has been opened by the Criminal Cases Review Commission, particularly with the new and very intriguing information that has come to light surrounding Lord Jeffrey Archer.

 

When Jill Dando was murdered, speculation that it was a case of mistaken identity was at the front of my mind - moreso the fact that I truly believed that Barry George was not responsible for her murder.  And now it is uncovered that Jeffry Archer's former secretary, Angela Peppriatt, whose evidence sent Lord Archer to jail for perjury four years ago, looks very similar to Jill Dando - this is overwhelming.

 

What is also extraordinary, as Magpie pointed out, was that the prostitute at the centre of the Jeffrey Archer libel case was murdered two weeks before Lord Archer and his former friend Ted Francis were due to stand trial in relation to the 1987 perjury trial. 

 

Perhaps I'm too much of a cynic, but Lord Archer's name seems to be cropping up quite frequently here, and my suspicions over the Jill Dando murder have now increased ten fold.

 

Previously posted by Magpie:

The only forensic evidence linking George to the murder was a single particle from gunshot residue. Lawyers believe the presence of armed officers was responsible for this residue. They also say new medical reports suggest the 45-year-old was incapable of the killing because of mental disabilities.

I'm not saying for one second that Barry George was an angel - after all, he does have a previous conviction for  rape and has been arrested for stalking, but I for one, believe wholeheartedly that this man was not responsible for the murder of Jill Dando, and is therefore innocent of this charge.  I also believe that he was, sadly, due to his mental disabilities, a convenient fall guy for this awful crime.

 

I sincerely hope that this new investigation will reveal the truth, and that the real perpetrators will be brought to justice. 

 


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2 May 2006

BAMBER APPEALS

 

MASS killer Jeremy Bamber yesterday launched a bid for a third appeal after lawyers claimed to uncover damning new evidence. Bamber, 44, was jailed for life in 1986 for murdering his adoptive parents Neville and June Cafell, his sister Sheila and her twin six-year-old sons.

 

His alleged motive was a £500,000 inheritance. The prosecution claimed he carried out the killings and then made it look as though Sheila murdered her family and then turned the gun on herself. His solicitor Giovanni di Stefano now claims a police report on bloodstains on the rifle's silencer contained an expert's forged signature.

 

The Criminal Cases Review Commission, who investigate alleged miscarriages of justice, are considering whether a new appeal should be ordered.


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Convicted murderer back in court to clear name 35 years on...

A MAN who served 34 years in jail for a murder that he insists he did not commit returned to the Court of Criminal Appeal in Edinburgh yesterday to try to have the conviction quashed.

Richard Coubrough, 72, nicknamed "The Snake", was refused an appeal in 1971, soon after a jury found him guilty of strangling Dorothea Meechan, a mother of two, in Renfrew.

 

However, the body that investigates possible miscarriages of justice has referred the case back to the court, in light of fresh evidence similar to that which secured the acquittals after 20 years of Thomas Campbell and Joseph Steele in the Glasgow "ice-cream wars" case.

Coubrough was alleged by three detectives to have incriminated himself in a statement, but an expert in linguistics has cast doubt on their evidence.

Coubrough, then 37 and with a history of offences against women, was accused of attacking Mrs Meechan, whose naked body was found six weeks after she vanished while returning home from a night out at a railway footbridge in the early hours of 28 February, 1971.

He pleaded alibi, insisting that he had not been at the bridge that night, and that witnesses were wrong to identify him as a man who had been seen there acting suspiciously.

Coubrough denied that he had told police: "I have been thinking it over and just want to say I didn't murder the woman. It was an accident. She screamed and I didn't steal the clothing, I panicked and only took them to get rid of them."

He was also charged with raping a second woman on another occasion and attempting to rape a third woman in a further, separate incident. The jury convicted Coubrough of murdering Mrs Meechan and he was jailed for life. He was acquitted of the other sexual offences.

Coubrough continued to protest his innocence from prison, but he lost an application for leave to appeal later in 1971, and the Scottish Secretaryrejected a number of petitions from him. He even tried writing to the Queen and parliament, and his case was highlighted by a television programme, Trial and Error. In 1999, he asked the newly-formed Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commissionto look at his conviction, but it decided against a referral to the appeal court.

However, he applied a second time, following the appeal court ruling in 2004 that the "ice- cream wars" convictions should be quashed. That ruling had stemmed from the evidence of Professor Brian Clifford, 60, whom the court described as an expert of international renown in the field of psycho-linguistics as applied to memory.

Campbell and Steele were alleged by the police to have made statements, but in studies conducted by Prof Clifford, he found that the probability any four random officers could recall a sentence of 24 words in identical terms - as alleged against Campbell - was "infinitesimal".

The commission agreed to refer Coubrough's case to the appeal court and, in June last year, he was released from prison pending yesterday's hearing.

Prof Clifford pointed out that the statement allegedly made by Coubrough had 39 words. Three senior detectives, now all dead, had given evidence at his trial that the accused spoke the words after he had asked to see the officer leading the murder inquiry.

One noted them at the time, a second initialled his colleague's notebook and the third recorded the statement from memory after Coubrough had left the room. Prof Clifford said it was "highly improbable" that any one officer could recall verbatim that length of utterance, and even less likely that three could perform the feat.

The hearing continues. The appeal is likely to last two weeks, and the judges will then consider their ruling.


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This is the story of my son, Andrew Phillips, who as NOW become the latest victim of yet another miscarriage of Justice.  As his Mother, I will not stop campaigning to free him from a  3 -year jail sentence after appearing before Nottingham Crown Court on the 28th October 2005.

Andrew is 22  years old and was a computer technician, he never mixed with people except the people at his place of work, he is very reserved and a quiet type of young man.  I have several disabilities, which prevent me from working, and Andrew was the only one caring for me.

During April 2004 Andrew started collecting Blank Firing Replica Guns, a hobby, which many young men participate in.  Being a law-abiding citizen, Andrew first checked with the Police and the Home Office before buying any of the guns from a web site based in France. The Police informed him that Blank Firing Guns are legal to own.  The Home Office replied to him stating that most guns imported into the UK are legal to own.

Having been given these reassurances, Andrew began building his collection of replica guns, which he purchased from the French web site http://www.guns2u.com, believing them all to be perfectly legal to own.  The price of these guns from this web site was less than half than what was being asked for the same guns being sold in the UK.

This vast difference in price gave Andrew the idea of auctioning some of them on E-bay, in order to fund his collection.  In May 2004 he purchased another replica from the site in France to replace one that he had sold.  However this parcel did not arrive and it was assumed that it had been lost in transit.

Despite the fact that the company failed to reply to Andrew's emails requesting an explanation for the failed delivery, he ordered a further five replica guns from this site. These all arrived without any problem.

He intended to auction these off on E-bay as well, but they changed their policy on the sale of weapons, and as such he was unable to sell them through this site.  So in July 2004, Andrew set up his own web site to sell these replica guns.  Andrew had no sinister intentions in selling these replica guns, after all he had checked with the Police and the Home Office, and they had no concerns about him.

Perhaps very foolishly, Andrew named his web site guns2thugs.com.  He was of course being deliberately sarcastic by using this name.  Guns and gun crime had been making the headlines nearly every week, and the underlying tone of each report was the assumption that everyone who had an interest in guns must be a criminal.  He was in the process of changing the name of his web site, but before he had the chance, his life just fell apart.

Sadly, on the 9th of October 2004, a young girl named Danielle Beccan was fatally shot as she walked home from a goose fair in Nottingham.  My condolences go out to her family for their sad loss.  Of course Andrew had nothing to do with this evil crime, nor indeed were any of the guns that he had sold.  However five days after this terrible incident, our house was raided as part of operation Stealth.

He was then arrested later that day at work, but despite being quite terrified by this experience, he was fully co-operative with the Police, after all, he had nothing to hide. He even told them that he was expecting further deliveries of replica guns and agreed to contact the Police once they had arrived.  He also signed an authorisation form allowing Police to intercept and seize parcels destined for his address.

After a very long day in the Police station, Andrew was bailed and returned home at 10:30pm.  He found that one of the expected parcels had been delivered to his house that very day, so as agreed, he contacted the Police and his solicitor.  He was told that the Police would collect the parcel within the next hour and a half, however they failed to turn up.

Andrew went to bed to get some much-needed rest, after what was a very traumatic day for him.  I couldn't sleep with the worry and at about 2 am I telephoned the Police again.  They told me that they were just sorting it out and that they would be around soon.  However, to give you an idea of just how concerned the Police were, they didn't actually arrive until 7:55am. This meant that Andrew had now been in possession of these replica guns, for 10 hours more than he wanted to be.

When Andrew later returned to the Police station in January 2005, he was formally charged with importing and distributing section 5 firearms.  His first hearing in the Magistrates Court was adjourned for committal to the Crown Court.

Andrew attended several court hearings, with each being adjourned for one reason or another until the Plea and Directions hearing on August 22nd 2005.  This was now 10 months after he was first arrested.   Andrew had always been given unconditional bail from each of these hearings.

But understandably, due to the stress this whole process was putting on him, together with no encouraging advice from his barrister, Andrew became very depressed.  He went missing during the evening of the 23rd and I had to call the Police to search for him because I was so worried about what he might do to himself.

Thankfully they did manage to find him before any harm had been done, none the less, the incident was recorded and obviously raised their concerns about Andrew's safety as this case drags on.  He was next due to appear in the Crown Court on September 16th for sentencing.

It makes me sick to think about how low and depressed he became during that final week.  To my dismay he had begun to self-harm by cutting his wrists, what are they driving this young lad to?

On the 16th I went with Andrew to Nottingham Crown Court.  This was the worst day of my life, sitting in the public gallery, and not even being able to see my son, while one man made a decision about his future.

We had hoped that this day would give us some final conclusion, but things took a turn for the worst. The Judge decided to defer the sentencing, in order to obtain a psychiatric report about Andrew.  But as if that wasn't bad enough, he then ordered for Andrew to be kept on remand for 6 weeks while the report was conducted.

The Judge claimed that he was doing this for Andrew's own safety, especially following the incident that followed the P&D hearing the previous month.  To emphasise the real concerns they had for Andrew's safety, he was placed on the hospital wing of the prison and kept on a close suicide watch.

While Andrew sits in jail, alone and confused and wondering whether or not anyone cares about him, I am going to do whatever I can to raise awareness of just how illogical our Justice system is in the UK.

Since his arrest Andrew had done a great deal of investigating to try and find out why he is being used as a scapegoat for this government's failings.   When Andrew was charged in January 2005, the Police told him that Customs had in fact seized a package destined for his address, this was the delivery Andrew never received in May 2004.

So he contacted Customs in Dover to find out why he had not been informed that they had seized the package.  He was put in touch with the investigating officer at Customs, who told him that she had been unable to issue a notice of seizure as it would have compromised a Police investigation.  The gun had been seized so that a firearms expert could examine it.

Andrew was also told that the Police had been informed of this seizure in May 2004, and that Customs had handed the investigation over to them. He was given the Police officer's name, a name he knew well, since his arrest in October 2004.

Andrew had also contacted the local Customs office in Nottingham about the seized replica gun.  Their response in a letter they sent to him was a complete contradiction to the information he had received from Customs in Dover.  They told him that it was a legal requirement for Customs to inform people that they had seized a package addressed to them, and this is done by way of a seizure letter.

Andrew contacted the local Customs officer by telephone and gave him the reference number of the seized item.  This officer checked on the Customs computer but could not find anything relating to this number.  He then told Andrew that it would be against the law for Customs to seize an item without notifying the addressee, or even to put it in Her Majesty's Store without logging the details onto their database.

Andrew gave him the name of the Customs officer in Dover and he said he would make some enquiries.  Only 15 minutes later he phoned Andrew back and told him that in fact Customs had not officially seized the item after all.  When they discovered that the package contained a gun, they called the Police, because they didn't know if it was real or not, and could also have the potential to explode.  An SO11 police unit arrived and took the gun away in their secure vehicle, and that is why he was never sent a seizure letter.

During February and March 2005 Andrew went through copies of the prosecution's evidence which he had received from his solicitor.  He found a number of discrepancies between the Police and Customs officer's statements, this made him realise that he was being used as scapegoat just to make the Governments efforts to tackle gun crime look good.  The reality of this is that Andrew now faces a lengthy prison sentence, and this can only be described as a miscarriage of Justice.

In the statement written by the Customs officer in Dover, she describes that she looked at the replica gun for an hour before repackaging it and putting it into their store.  It then describes how it wasn't until June 2004 that a Police officer from Nottingham went to Dover to collect the package. This again is a completely different account of events to what Andrew had been told by the local Customs officer.

According to the Police statements, a firearms expert did not test this replica gun until September 2004, this means that it had been stored in the Police station for 3 months.  Apparently the Police's firearms expert could not decide which section of the firearms act this replica gun contravened, or even if it did at all.  They had tired to drill the barrel to see if it was easily convertible, but this had proved fruitless.  Despite this, the newspaper articles claimed that these replicas were readily convertible.

Even a firearms expert who was working in Andrew's defence did not agree that these replicas contravened any of the legislation in the Firearms Act.  When this line of defence was used in court, the Police firearms expert claimed to have made some mistakes in his statement with regards to when he had tested the replica gun.  He now claimed to have tested the gun back in May 2004.

When Andrew's defence expert tested the other guns that had been seized in the Police raid, he found that none of them were readily convertible, but the Police were unwilling to allow him to examine the replica gun that had been seized by Customs in Dover. There can only be one reason for this, and that is that the Police do not have any solid evidence, and as such this whole prosecution is flawed and will result in a miscarriage of justice.

As well as the replica guns, Andrew had also ordered the blanks to be fired in them.  However, unknown to him, one of the boxes of blanks, contained CS gas blanks.  Of course the Police had a field day when they found these.  They couldn't get anywhere with the case by claiming that the replica guns were readily convertible, so now they were able to claim that they were designed for the discharge of a noxious gas.  The CS gas blanks had been sent to him by mistake, Andrew would never have ordered something that could be harmful.

But this is not something that is going to end in a slap on the wrist for Andrew, it is going to destroy his life.  Of course I support the Government's efforts to crack down on guns used for criminal activities, regardless of whether those guns are real or replicas.  I also agree that people who commit these crimes should be given very long prison sentences.

But because of the misinformation that is spread by the media, people who have a legitimate and innocent interest in guns are being tarred with the same brush as the evil people who use them in crimes.

If I now recap briefly the sequence of events, I am sure you will agree that Andrew is being used as a very convenient scapegoat.  Customs and the Police cannot control the real criminals who use real guns, without any consideration or respect for the laws of this country, so they pick on a soft target just to make the statistics look good.

In April 2004, Andrew had quite rightly made some enquiries to ensure that he would stay on the right side of the law, and the feedback he received was that he could buy these replica guns. If the replica guns that he imported do contravene a section of the Firearms Act, then he had absolutely no idea that they did.  Even the experts cannot agree whether they do or not.

So in April 2004 the first package arrived without any problem.  In May 2004 a delivery failed to arrive, and according to the prosecution's evidence, this was due to it being seized. This was when the Police were first alerted to Andrew's activities.  However Andrew placed further orders after this date, and they all arrived without any problem.

Six months later, in October 2004, a young girl was shot and killed, only then did the Police decide to investigate Andrew further.  Surely if they were concerned about him importing these guns, then they would have arrested him in May 2004.  Instead they knowingly allowed him to import more replica guns, and then tried to use these to increase the number of charges against him.

Now my son has lost his job, his dignity and is going to be kept in a filthy prison cell simply because it is far easier for the Government to capture and silence an innocent man, than to chase after the real criminals.

Other similar cases have been dealt with by way of cautions, or community service, but Andrew has been denied these options just to keep the public believing that something is being done.

But while they may think they can lock my son away in a dark cell to silence him from telling the truth, they can not stop me from revealing the failings of this useless Government.  In the public eye they like to talk tough and state that they will crack down on gun crime.

In reality, a criminal set on using a gun, whether real or a replica, will use one, and they can not possibly stop that from happening, all they can do is pick up the pieces after each tragic event.

If you agree that Andrew has been used as a scapegoat, then please view the rest of this site to read about how other similar cases have been dealt with. Please also sign my Guestbook and the Petition to free Andrew.

I thank you for taking the time to read this page.

Pauline Phillips

 

http://www.justice4andrew.bravehost.com/


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Special report Crime Special report: crimeComment Why not cut compensation payouts by cutting the number of miscarriages of justice?

 

Here's a thought, Mr Clarke

Why don't you cut the amount paid out to compensate victims of miscarriages of justice by cutting the number of miscarriages.

 

I thought the Guardian had made one of its famous typos in quoting Charles Clarke announcement of the new compensation scheme for victims of miscarriages of justice. "The changes I have announced will create a fairer, simpler, and speedier system." Fairer?

Clarke wants to cut by over half, £5 million, the £8 million budget to victims. What possible justification can there be for this? Isn't this the government that is constantly going on about protecting the victims. Well Clarke believes that all these people are just criminals and the whole system is being promoted by greedy lawyers.

The money in fact saved amounts to just 1% of that spent on the wonderfully useful dome that nobody wanted in east London. The person responsible for that, Lord Falconer, was promoted to secretary of state for constitutional affairs.

One of my heroines is Ann Whelan, the mother of Michael Hickey, who single-handedly started a campaign that led to the quashing of the convictions of the Bridgewater 4 for a murder they had nothing to do with. That campaign took 17 years. As far as I know Ann Whelan has not received any payment for the 17 years of her life she devoted to help prove their innocence - but of course money will not bring back those wasted years or reverse the damage to her son.

Clarke in his youth was a supporter of troops out of Ireland and I am sure he cheered when the Birmingham 6 and Guildford 4 were released. Now of course he is home secretary and he sees his job as saving some money at the expense of people who have suffered the most (what can be worse than a wrongful conviction - especially for murder).

There is of course one simple way to stop money being paid out to compensate victims of miscarriages of justice and that is to stop the miscarriages.

Some miscarriages are a result of corrupt policing. John MacManus of the under resourced MOJO makes the point that no police officer has ever been prosecuted for the 150 miscarriages in the last 15 years.

Many other miscarriages result from the lack of proper disclosure by the prosecution but the government have introduced a regime that makes it more difficult to obtain full prosecution and in good time.

This government has bought in over new 700 criminal laws - with some very serious attacks on protections for defendants - making hearsay and previous convictions readily admissible. The result inevitably will lead to more miscarriages of justice - so I suppose it makes sense to get a scheme that saves money introduced as soon as possible.

 

Matt Foot, April 20 2006

 

Comments

 


Morristown/usa

That's a very good point. Charles Clarke failed to specifiy: fairer to whom? The terms of his new compensation scheme, with which he has justified this budget slash, are grossly unclear, I'd like clarification on whom he believes this will benefit *really*? 

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Alvsjo/swe

Agreed, agreed, agreed.

A friend of mine has recently become - in my very strong opinion - such a victim of a miscarriage of justice.
I have been astonished at how easily a man who has (IMO) spent his life doing good can have his liberty taken away from him. He will in all likelihood spend the rest of his life in prison. His wife is old and becoming infirm - it's unlikely that she'll have the privelege of seeing him except on very rare occasions. Her experiences of getting permission to see him even while he's been awaiting sentencing relatively 'locally' have been horrifying to listen to. (Even if he is guilty, why should his relatives be treated so badly ?)

I understand that there's no possibility of his sentence being reduced unless he 'admits' guilt. He claims to be innocent, and also believes (claims to believe ?) in being honest. How can he admit guilt to something (he claims) he didn't do ?

Something within us almost instinctively believes that we have nothing to fear if we're innocent. That belief has been taken away from me in these past few weeks, and the alternative is frankly terrifying. To hear now that the Government wants to reduce the compensation given to those who have suffered in this way - not to mention their families - increases my feelings of anger and despair at a system that I used to believe was fair and just.

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Gateshead/gbr

Matt your final point hits the mark exactly. Tony Blair gave a speech not long ago where he claimed that surely a legal system is wrong when it is set up to defend the accused (not the innocent, the accused) of a crime and not the victim(i have no direct quote i'm afraid). This government wants there to be more miscarraiges of justice not less, because in their belief, (driven in part by lazy right wing tabloid drivel) if you widen the net, make it easier to convict, shift the balance and burden of proof, more criminals who would have walked free will be convicted. the fact that this will net more innocent (sorry accused) people is a fact of life in todays world i imagine. Tony Blair also stated in that speech that surely it is a bigger tragedy when a guilty person is set free, than when an innocent person is convicted wrongly. New Labour's impatience with due process permeates its every contempt for democracy. It glares in many policies and decisions including keeping innocent (sorry accused) peoples DNA (just in case) and fingerprinting every single innocent (sorry accused) person in Britain through introducing ID Cards. They are are dangerous group of people, but just can't understand why what they are doing is dangerous, because they are so patently straight up kind of guys.

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Aylesbury/gbr

If Mr clarke is looking to save money, then cutting the prison population is probably a good start.

Moreover, extra money for the Criminal Cases Review Commission would probably result savings on keeping innocent people in our already overcrowed prison system.

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Gateshead/gbr

I have the quote i was thinking of in my previous post. Blair doesn't actually say its a bigger tragedy when someone guilty walks free than when someone innocent is convicted in this speech but i'm convinced he said it elswhere. until i find it however i withdraw the comment that he said that directly. However this quote shows that is his feeling. And although he prefixes the changes with soothing caveats as always, the dangerous shift is blatently obvious.
"The system itself is the problem. We are trying to fight 21st century crime ? ASB, drug-dealing, binge-drinking, organised crime ? with 19th century methods, as if we still lived in the time of Dickens.
The whole of our system starts from the proposition that its duty is to protect the innocent from being wrongly convicted.
Don?t misunderstand me. That must be the duty of any criminal justice system.
But surely our primary duty should be to allow law-abiding people to live in safety.
First, a radical extension of summary powers to police and local authorities to take on the wrong doers."
We are the change-makers - Tony Blair
Tuesday 27 September 2005

Speech by Prime Minister and Leader of the Labour Party Tony Blair, to the Labour Party conference, Brighton

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Austin/usa

Clarke is just appealing to those who still believe that miscarriages of justice are merely guilty people who have got off on technicalities but just a bit later than they should have. Problem is, the majority of people don't believe there are really such things. I'm sure the majority still believe the Guidford 4 were guilty, even though the case was finally thrown out and they were released. It's not until you've actually been on the receiving end of a miscarriage of justice that you understand just how fragile, and what a dysfunctional, erratic and corrupt thing the judicial system is. Fact is, though, there still are many people claiming miscarriage of justice even though they're as guilty as hell. When you're banged up for the rest of your life you have a lot of time to plan angles and pleas to make your trial look trumped up. Evil people don't sit on their arses and accept the punishment. Why should they? I dread to think what might happen if people like Jeremy Bamber actually succeeded in convincing gullible people that the justice handed down to him was faulty. The idea of giving a couple of million to some child murderer necause some people don't have a very good grasp of the concept of "reasonable doubt" is worrying.

But the government must bear resonsibility for its mistakes, just as a criminal does. If someone imprisons me for no good reason, I expect them to be punished, and I expect to be able to sue them for as much as I can damn well get. That's whether it's an individual or a government.

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Totton/gbr

What is happening to Britain?s Criminal Justice System? Once respected and envied throughout the world!

Draconian police powers do not equate to greater security, instead they are leading this country towards a police state, where distorted justice will become the preserve of the ruling politicians. This notion would have been fanciful just a few short years ago, but the signs are clear!

Whatever the threats that our modern age encounter, there can be no justification for removing the process of law, effectively calling time on justice. Anyone who thinks this is alarmist or hysterical should consider some recent events;

The sanctioning of a policy to kill suspected terrorists even if there is no evidence to suggest they pose a threat at the time they are targeted, the government has advocated to detain suspects without charge for lengthy periods, and also for the abolition of trial by jury. And now we learn that the government thinks it?s OK not to compensate people who are wrongly convicted and imprisoned.

The government has a duty to legislate in a way so that our freedoms are preserved; the danger comes, tough, when powers that are given to the police and other enforcement bodies, in the name of protecting us, are misused. The effects of the misuse of powers can be wide and varying; the tragic death of Charles de Menezies, the alleged collaboration with the US in their ?extraordinary rendition? programme and the detention of an old man under terrorist legislation at the Labour party conference exemplify the range of things that can go wrong when these powers usurp the Law.

The Law exists to protect the public, any government that misuses the Law and Police to achieve their political ends will do so at the expense of justice.

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Keele/gbr

The whole business is just further evidence of a sustained attack from New Labour Home Secretaries upon habeas corpus. It is evidence of a sustained belief in a significant sub-class of people that are permanently guilty (in the abstract) who just haven?t been convicted yet. That is, they may not have committed a crime yet but they are ?guilty people? ? they will one day. This view is consistent with the notion that it is less important that innocent men are free than that guilty men are incarcerated. Further evidence of the existence of this mindset comes in the form of the nature of the people that are seen to inhabit this sub-group of permanently guilty people. We note that it does not include Labour ministers with fraudulent finances, it does not include Labour backers who avoid paying millions in tax. It means young boys wearing hoods, not young men snorting coke and wearing Gucci. It means single mothers fiddling ?25 to feed their babies, not home counties wives buying second homes in Cornwall and pricing out the locals. It means beer-drinking working class men in Stoke, it does not mean champagne swilling toffs in London. It means the working class car thief, not the pedestrian-killing Ferrari driver. It means the litter lout or the street corner drunk, the mentally troubled , the frustrated and bored. It never means the bent copper, and it never means the owner of the Herald of Free Enterprise. And perhaps most telling it means ?NOT ME? only ?THEM?, and thus it never means perpetrators of crimes against peace by the name of Blair or Thatcher. It is a view founded in a fanatical religious hubris that believes that god is always on MY side ? ?I can tell, because if he were not he wouldn?t have made me powerful?. Therefore it is god, not the electorate, who gives my definition of ?other? legitimacy ? ?those permanent guilty are the enemies of god and we must do everything in our power to thwart them?.

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Morristown/usa

On a lighter note:
Have any of you ever heard David Bowie's Diamond Dogs? I think it was intended as a concept album for George Orwell's 1984, and the penultimate track, titled Big Brother, has an absolutely inspired chorus that goes pretty well with the vein of this subject. Just occured to me!

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Lisbon/prt

I'm sure you'll all be glad to know that those of us out on the right are just as appalled at this farrago.

Several blogs pointing out thatthis proves Clarke is unfit to be Home Secretary...a couple concluding that he unfit to e alive (and not entirely in jest.)

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London/gbr

Yet again, madness, absolute madness. I agree with your article whole heartedly.

I also think this type of policy highlights the main problem in Tony Blair's respect agenda. People who are being targeted by the respect agenda (most of whom have no problem with respect, they could just do with some from the government) see straight through the thinly veiled hypocrisy.

If the govenment and other authority figures (business, science, police, courts, media, etc..) in this country don't show some respect for the population yet are continually allowed (by law and supporting policy) to do whatever they like, the respect agaenda is doomed to fail. Nothing will happen from it, and I worry that in actual fact things will just get worse.

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Bristol/gbr

I am astounded by this illiberal and vile move. Dresing it up as anything to do with cost is, frankly, obscene - remember this is from a department that wants to waste billions on an id card and id register that won't do much good at all even if it works.

I see little logic in equating the plight of victims of crime and victims of the criminal justice system. I must agree with previous comments that this smacks of appeasing those who don't really think miscarriages occur, and if they do occur then it's just a technicality and they're guilty really.

Charles Clarke - shame on you.

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Wouldn't it be cheeper just to execute anyone who looks a bit funny, thus saving the public the not only the cost of the trial and incarceration but also the social cost of having them commit the crime in the first place?

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Matt Foot is a criminal defence solicitor with Birnberg Peirce and Partners solicitors, where he works on general crime, Asbo, public order and terrorist cases.

He is also the coordinator of Asbo Concern, a coalition of organisations and individuals calling for a full government review into the inappropriate use of Asbos. The coalition has support from over 40 organisations, including the National Association of Probation Officers, the British Association of Social Workers, Mind and the British Institute of Brain Injured Children

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Reply with quote  #75 

Hi Admin2, Hammer6 & Magpie... thanks for all the excellent posts on the subject of 'Another Miscarriage Of Justice'.

 

With regards to Magpie's previous post, 'Here's a thought Mr Clarke' - an excellent post, and once again, the comments and links included in the post were very interesting.

 

Originally posted by Magpie:

 

Now of course he is home secretary and he sees his job as saving some money at the expense of people who have suffered the most (what can be worse than a wrongful conviction - especially for murder).

 

There is of course one simple way to stop money being paid out to compensate victims of miscarriages of justice and that is to stop the miscarriages.

 

Couldn't have put it better myself.  My personal opinion is that no amount of money in the world can compensate people who have suffered a miscarriage of justice, particularly at the hands of a corrupt system that can falsify and withhold vital evidence, which essentially, would exonerate  the wrongfully convicted.

 

However, by capping the amount of compensation given to the wrongfully convicted, in order to "save" the Government money is an absolute disgrace, and I can only begin to imagine what would happen if the roles were reversed, and they found themselves in the position of being wrongfully imprisoned and having their lives taken from them.  Would they still think that this money-saving scheme is such a good idea?  I don't think that question even merits an answer.

 

I also wholeheartedly agree that any Government that misuses the law and the police to achieve their own political ends will do so at the expense of justice.

 


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