CARRY ON CAMPAIGNING
I have been directly involved in challenging injustice for decades. It’s not exactly something I wanted to do, but felt morally obliged to do, having being unjustly convicted under Joint Enterprise In 1991.
In the 1990’s I frequently corresponded with people like Iris Bentley, Ludovic Kennedy and Paul Foot. These people excelled as ambassadors of the innocent. They were passionate about achieving justice and knew precisely what they were up against. They relentlessly fought for Dereck Bentley, Colin Wallace and The Bridgewater four as they became known, and many more. They educated and influenced Politicians , media and the public. All of them were eventually acquitted.
Since 2010, I became involved with a few prominent organisations who claimed to be supporting, advising and even representing those who were alleging they were not guilty.
I initially identified with their objectives which seemed similar to mine. However, my perceptions were to be regrettably altered. I attended their meetings and would listen to them invest an entire morning and afternoon discussing not cases as expected , but who was going to be the “Director” the “Treasurer” the “Public Relations Officer” the “ Voice of the people”. An innocent observer would be forgiven for assuming a new government was being formed as opposed to a pressure group. These squabbles could have been dealt with within an hour. The conversations were then dominated by who was doing what to who, and what other “competitive” organisations were doing.
When I objected to a policy of blending clearly guilty cases in with clearly not guilty cases I was overruled. Once some of the already suspicious families realised their son or daughter who should never have been charged, never mind convicted, was being lumped in with someone who contributed to the crime, they quite rightly abandoned ship. Once again they were on their own. When media interest came, the entire arguments were lost as the “Voice of the people” focused on gangs ! The vast majority of Joint Enterprise cases alleging injustice does not and never has concerned gangs. It concerns blatant corruption by the Police and the Crown Prosecution Service and then the courts who allow it to be accepted as fact. The Home Affairs select Committee then decided that they would hear what one of these organisations had to reveal. Their nominated spokespersons were given a unique opportunity to expose the corruption involved, backed by concrete evidence. They could not even answer the basic questions correctly which had one member of the Committee smirking, and another rolling his eyes north west. They then admitted that they had not even read one case, yet were sitting there in The House of Commons “representing” the innocent. The Chairman looked at them with sympathy and thanked them for their attendance. They then inform people in prison serving life sentences that the mission was a success ! I spent two day’s on my written submission, which was accepted by that very committee. I could not attend, as I was quite ill at the time.
The squabbles continue to such an extent, that they disintegrate and inevitably part company to form other separate organisations claiming to be dedicated to assisting the innocent. The same procedure regarding who plays at who continue. The latest one to come into existence quickly attempts to discredit the other two, while the other two eagerly try to discredit the new one. While all this St Trinian’s mentality is going on, their clients patiently await to hear about any developments in relation to their case. What they don’t know is that “their case” is in a pile under the heap of shoe boxes with all the rest, in one of the hallways. Their guardians are all down the local pub debating who goes on the news next. They claim to be assisting 300 plus cases, yet only ever mention two. The young Mother who was asleep in her bedroom while her drug crazed boyfriend killed his teenage victim is never mentioned never mind represented.
Iris Bentley, Paul Foot and Ludovic Kennedy would no doubt be dumbfounded to witness what shenanigans these people get up to in the name of miscarriages of justice.
Today I concentrate on pursuing my own case and just a handful of others. I don’t need to be an organisation to function as I always have done and shall continue to do. When I think back on my experiences with these groups it reminds me of the old black and white carry on films. Hattie Jacques , Charles Hawtry and Kenneth Williams would have played some of these carachters brilliantly. I suppose I could always approach Elstree studios and enquire if they would be interested in producing “ Carry on campaigning”. It would be up for a BAFTA.