Justice Issues


I tend to glaze over a bit when it comes to consumer issues.  But now I’m in the thick of it, as I prepare to stand in the dock at…..the small claims court.  How on earth did I get there?  I must be mad…

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I rather reluctantly accepted Michael Naughton’s invitation to address an INUK conference on reform of the CCRC in London on March 30.  Reluctantly, because INUK’s agenda seems to be less concerned with finding evidence to free the wrongly convicted than with bashing the CCRC - a dreadful diversion of zeal, which can only delight the enemies of justice.  Anyway, this is what I had to say….

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After years of rough justice, a tireless champion steps down

“There is always a possibility that amongst the shoal of grey fish there is one gold fish,” David Jessel says.

It’s a theme the investigative journalist who has spent the past 25 years pursuing miscarriages of justice approaches from a number of directions during our conversation.


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Losing its appeal: is it time to say goodbye to the CCRC?

Next week marks the 20th anniversary of the release of the Birmingham Six and that iconic image outside the Old Bailey when they were free after 16 years, having had their convictions quashed for the murder of 21 people in two Birmingham pubs.

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Innocence or safety: Why the wrongly convicted are better served by safety

Critics of the Criminal Cases Review Commission claim it does not take enough interest in proving the innocence of those who say they have been wrongly convicted. Outgoing commissioner David Jessel argues that this misunderstands its role.

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Campaigners and the Commission

The CCRC is not the body we campaigned for.  It never was.  Most of us who, in the eighties, were concerned with miscarriages of justice had a vision of an independent Court of Last Resort, which could cut through the intransigence shown by the Court of Appeal in cases such as the Birmingham Six and the murder of Carl Bridgewater.

That didn’t happen.  Parliament, instead, came up with a formula whereby the CCRC had the power to send a conviction back to the Court of Appeal, while the Court alone had the power to quash it.  The linkage lay in the 1995 statute’s provision that the CCRC could refer only when there was a ‘real possibility’ that the Court would quash the conviction.

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