Cases to ponder - all stitched up?
Some books on British miscarriages of justice are listed on the Books and Resources page along with more general issues about people's rights. They are mostly fairly cheap and easy to obtain and you can read up about them on the Amazon site.
A significant proportion of convictions come about because people in certain circumstances tend to confess to things they simply did not do, and you can see more on the False Confessions page here.
Generally, we prefer not to talk about specific cases, because these are sensitive issues dealing with people's feelings and very existence. As a lead-in to the subject, you may find the following of interest.
'No Smoke - The shocking truth about British Justice' by Sandra Lean
A life-long fascination with the workings of the human mind, and especially the workings of the "criminal mind," led Sandra Lean, at the age of 32, through the doors of Napier University in Edinburgh.
A single parent of two young children, she studied Psychology and Sociology to Honours Degree level. A Masters' Degree in Forensic Psychology seemed like the most obvious next step, until a local, high-profile murder hit the headlines.
Behind the scenes, Sandra Lean began sifting through the facts, only to discover that all was not as it seemed. What she found led her to other, similar cases, and more patient, methodical sifting, in an investigation that was to last almost four years. The result was a shocking, but true, discovery. Innocent people are being locked up in our prisons, convicted of the most horrific crimes, on a regular basis. These are not one-off, tragic mistakes, but rather, a routine, everyday occurrence.
For every high-profile miscarriage of justice that we hear about, there are dozens more that never make the news. No Smoke examines just some of these cases, highlighting the very human tragedy of wrongful conviction, and pointing out the unthinkable: this could happen to any one of us.
'The Death of Justice' by Michael O'Brien with Greg Lewis, Foreward by Gareth Peirce
Michael O'Brien was imprisoned for 11 years for a crime he didn't commit - the Cardiff Newsagent Murder. In this book he reveals all about the police incompetence and scapegoating which landed him as an innocent man in prison.
On his release he joined forces with with another victim of miscarried justice, Paddy Joe Hill, a member of the Birmingham Six. They set up MOJO (the Miscarriages of Justice Organisation) to help others who were wrongfully imprisoned.
'The Price of Innocence' by Iain McKie and Michael Russell
In a world obsessed with surveillance and where fingerprint and DNA testing are routine, what happened to Shirley McKie could happen to anyone. Policewoman Shirley McKie's decade-long fight for justice led to her trial for perjury... Her crime? To refuse to accept the misidentification of her fingerprint , allegedly found at a murder scene she should not have entered.
But because she spoke the truth, Shirley McKie was persecuted for years by senior police officers, ex-colleagues, forensics experts, politicians and government ministers... This book uncovers new information about the murder of Marion Ross, offers wide-ranging evidence of official incompetence and dishonesty, and suggests a conspiracy which might have sent an innocent man to prison for life.
'Pariah' by Colin Stagg with Ted Hynds, Foreward by Nick Ross
Colin Stagg examines the murder of Rachel Nickell in 1992. He served thirteen months on remand before an Old Bailey Judge ruled that he was unjustly entrapped and 'evidence' was ruled inadmissible. The media implied he 'got away with murder' and he suffered death threats and physical attacks. It seemed as though no-one wanted to test his DNA to eliminate him. For a perspective on some likely factors involved in the Police not reaching conclusions earlier, see 'Killer in the Shadows' by Laurence Alison and Marie Eyre. New DNA evidence in 2004 showed that 40-year-old Robert Napper was Rachel's murderer. The Metropolitan Police made a formal apology to Colin Stagg in December 2008.
'Judge for Yourself - How many are innocent' by L A Naylor
An exploration of how such mistakes are allowed to continue, and how, despite an often blatant lack of evidence against them, many people have been - and still are - languishing in jail for crimes they did not commit. "If one really wishes to know how justice is administered in a country, one does not question the policemen, the lawyers, the judges, or the protected members of the middle class. One goes to the unprotected - those, precisely, who need the law's protection most - and listens to their testimony" by James Baldwin
'Miscarriages of Justice' by Bob Woffinden
Many innocent people are imprisoned in British jails, some for exceptionally long terms, because the police handling the investigation misconstrued the actions of suspects, or because faulty and misleading evidence was presented at the trial, or because the defence case was inadequately argued. The adversarial system of justice that operates in the UK puts innocent people at an in-built disadvantage.
'Presumed Guilty - the British Legal System Exposed' and
'Michael Mansfield - Memoirs of a Radical Lawyer' by Michael Mansfield QC -
"Miscarriages of justice can happen to anyone, at any time, for any offence"
Visit www.innocent.org.uk/misc/cr_erzingclioglu_fss.html for an article on the unreliability of evidence, by Zakaria Erzinclioglu - Science and the law: A cause for concern
For articles about disclosure of evidence and other issues visit Innocent www.innocent.org.uk/misc/articles.html Disclosure, Problems/Help Miscarriages of Justice, Prisoners who maintain their innocence, Forensic science, In prison
Books listed by Innocent are at www.innocent.org.uk/books/index.html where
Visit the Links page at INUK - The Innocence Network UK - www.innocencenetwork.org.uk/links.htm
UAI United Against Injustice
See BBC Panorama link on joint enterprise
Look up 'Criminal Enterprise: Individuals,organisations and criminal responsibility' by Chistopher Harding
Did you sign something?
Were you confused when questioned?