There are over 60 alleged miscarriage of justice cases listed in the book, Judge for Yourself of which prisoners and former prisoners themselves illustrate six in detail. If you look on the internet you'll easily find hundreds more.
Website addresses containing current alleged miscarriage of justice cases include:
Guilty people do plead their innocence, and yes guilty people do 'get off' on legal 'technicalities'; but if, like us, you can see the common problems that separate cases widely seen as miscarriages of justice from those who refuse to accept their guilt, read up on as many cases as you can and start asking pertinent questions. You can help in two ways. The first is the old fashioned letter.
1.Write to the Home Office Minister responsible for modernisation of the criminal justice system:
Home Office, 50 Queen Anne's Gate, London, SW1H 9AT
2. Write to the Minister for Constitutional Affairs, responsible for the administration of the court system:
Lord Falconer of Thoroton QC
Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs & Lord Chancellor
Dept. for Constitutional Affairs, Selborne House, 54-60 Victoria Street,
London, SW1E 6QW
Express your concern about the growing number of alleged miscarriage of justice cases in the UK and demand an independent inquiry into those cases that strongly demonstrate that the Criminal Justice System cannot cope with the number of people who believe they have been wrongly jailed, despite the setting up of the Criminal Cases Review Commission.
The UK adversarial system of justice is not about the defendant's guilt or innocence nor is it driven by a need to find out the truth. It is often, instead, a drama contest, driven by the ambition to win, where quick convictions by the Crown Prosecution Service and Police forces lead to career promotion - at the expense of quality investigative work. Many campaigners believe that the system should be reformed to encompass inquisitorial system factors, where the fuelling motive behind any police investigation is the search for the truth.
3. Write to the Chairman of the Criminal Cases Review Commission:
Professor Graham Zellick
Criminal Cases Review Commission
Alpha Tower, Suffolk Street, Queensway, Birmingham, B1 1TT
The Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) will look at cases that have failed on appeal. It was set up to investigate alleged miscarriage of justice cases but is ineffective much of the time. This is because it is limited by the 1995 Criminal Appeal Act and thereby not sufficiently independent from the Court of Appeal (whose judges will have already rejected the cases). The required criteria of fresh evidence needed at the Court of Appeal are unreasonable. (E.g. if evidence was available at an original trial but not presented at the time, the case will not be referred back.) Any credible, fresh evidence not presented at an original trial, that could have affected the verdict, should constitute the need for a re-trial in front of another jury.
4. Write to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP):
Ken Macdonald QC
Head of the Crown Prosecution Service
50 Ludgate Hill, London, EC4M 7EX
Macdonald is the person responsible for the conduct of all criminal prosecutions in England & Wales but according to Sir Ian Blair (Metropolitan Police Commissioner), the prosecution of corrupt police officers has proven difficult. He has stated, 'Defendants, who as police officers know the system very well, will play every trick in the book to avoid going to trial.' Yet police officers must be held accountable for their actions.
The case of Robert Brown (page 166 in Judge for Yourself or visit www.mojoscotland.com) illustrates with clarity the need for independent investigations of the police. Brown is one of many victims of miscarriages of justice calling for an immediate investigation into the police corruption that led to him being wrongfully convicted for 25 years.
5. Write to the Attorney General:
Lord Goldsmith QC
The Legal Secretariat to the Law Officers
Attorney General's Chambers, 9 Buckingham Gate, London, SW1E 6JP
Ask for a public consultation into the role and practises of the Crown Prosecution Service in cases arising from police malpractice. Express concern that the public has little confidence in the decisions of the CPS and the way the CPS takes decisions due to the fact that police officers are rarely convicted of misconduct or corruption that has resulted in serious miscarriage of justices.
6. Write to your local MP and ask them to support an All-Party Parliamentary Group to be set up to scrutinise alleged miscarriages of justice.
The second means to help, for those who have the time, is to contact those running miscarriage of justice organisations. There are many ways to help, even for those with no special knowledge or skills (and you will be surprised how quickly you can learn). Every one who does help is not only helping overturn a miscarriage of justice, they are part of a growing movement that seeks the reforms needed to make British justice 'the best in the world'.
© L.A.Naylor 2009. All rights reserved.