Its Yesterday Once More
By Kevin Craigie , from insidetime issue January 2011
Kevin Craigie recalls his hunger strike for justice
It was the summer of 1993. I had not eaten anything solid for over six months, and had sustained myself entirely on dried milk powder and water. I had planned it well in advance, and after writing to hundreds of people from the Whos Who, and the media informing them of my situation and my intentions, I revealed to a Principal Officer that I was on a hunger strike because I had been convicted of a crime which I did not commit under Joint Enterprise. As predicted they whisked me off to the prison Hospital Wing which was more like a dungeon in those days, where the majority of patients had literally gone insane, and would be transferred to the likes of Broadmoor. In order to guarantee as short a stay as possible, I had not disclosed my ultimate protest earlier.
The Prison Doctor was called Lucas. I remembered the previous year, when he had tried to persuade me to go to Rampton then I would be released soon afterwards! Fortunately, I declined his invitation or I would no doubt still be there now. He asked me a few questions then stated that I could stay in the prison hospital
A sympathetic prison officer prevented him from snatching my tobacco. The Times Newspaper would expose him as a fraud who, while practicing at Broadmoor, was caught running through the woods naked. He was not even a doctor, he was an illegal immigrant, and I dread to think what damage his assertions had inflicted on people.
Two doctors from Hammersmith Hospital arrived and assessed me. I was severely dehydrated, having not taken fluids for three days and I was dangerously malnourished. They insisted that I should be transferred immediately to Hammersmith. The Ambulance arrived, and off I went.
The appeal was heard over two days. One of the three detectives who had blatantly lied and resolved to corruption turned up drunk. I watched him as he attempted to shuffle unnoticed into the same row as my parents, and then fell over. He then clambered to his feet and left the courtroom. They conveniently reserved their judgement for two weeks, then dismissed the appeal I thought that I was defeated, but I was wrong. I would recover and become a stronger more determined and knowledgeable person than I could ever have imagined.
A lot had changed since those days. dad had died in 1994. I had been released after thirteen horrendous years, on a Licence in 2003. The following week I was appointed Deputy Manager of the Citizens Advice Bureau. I had maintained my innocence and I knew that the system knew that I was not guilty. I met with people who were enthusiastic to have this law changed. We discussed not only my experiences, but what we could do to have this regularly abused and misunderstood law changed drastically, while genuinely assisting those who have been convicted under Joint Enterprise. People who, like myself, should never have been charged and people who should have been charged with something completely different to murder.
I have now read dozens of peoples case files. People who were not even present have been convicted and given life sentences with minimum tariffs of 25 years. A young mother suffering from trauma, who was asleep, and awoke to find her psychopathic boyfriend, whom she was terrified of, murdering his victim received a similar fate. Her mother, Pat, attends all the meetings, and is adamant that her daughter is not guilty. I have read the case, and I too believe her. Pats biggest fears are that her daughter will commit suicide, or that she herself will be dead before her release. A young man who clearly was not involved received life with 27 years minimum. His mother and father, Frank and Audra, whom I have met on several occasions, are fortunately for him as determined to challenge the conviction. The list is endless, and is an indictment not upon them, but the British Judicial System. I have spoken to several lawyers, and have met several of the family members in various cities. I was persuaded to start giving public speeches, starting in Liverpool. My first reaction was fear, but after further debate and contemplation concluded that I had faced and overcome fear all my life. I accepted, as what I had to say was valid. The response was overwhelming; people listened in silence as I recounted what had happened. As I described that night, I could see it all in my mind, having a good memory does have its drawbacks. I thanked them for listening, and answered questions later in the evening. The same would happen in Birmingham and Manchester.
I would return to London to march from Covent Garden to Westminster Palace with all the families and protesters. Impressive banners demanding Justice were abundant. The public photographed us all, questioned us and joined us. The last time I was in Trafalgar Square was in 1990, three days before the crime of which I was convicted of took place. I was with my brother John, and had made one of the biggest mistakes in my life by not accepting his invitation to return to Scotland with him. If I had done so, as far I was concerned I was abandoning my friend who would, without my prior knowledge within 24hours murder his defenceless victim. If I had accepted, so many things would have turned out so very very different. I could see in my mind, the ghosts of my brother and I sitting on the wall
My advice to innocent people is to stay focussed, overcome every obstacle encountered, and you will become a stronger person, stronger than you could ever have imagined. If possible, pursue education, as it not only stimulates your mind it opens up a whole new world. I left prison with more qualifications than I could have imagined. Write to your M.P and provide a summary of what happened and request their direct support. Question your lawyers, and if they are not delivering then write to the Office Supervision Solicitors detailing your complaint. If you are being pressured to admit guilt, or if you are being prevented from progressing through the prison system, then again you must write a detailed complaint, and pursue it to the highest level. Once that has been reached, Judicial Review proceedings can then be considered. Everything must be copied, become an ambassador for not only yourself, but your family and innocent people.
The politicians need to listen, and this law must either be abolished or drastically modified. It is convicting innocent people, destroying families, depriving children of their parent and costing tens of millions to the taxpayers. It is also exposing the corrupt Criminal Justice System, a system which also needs seriously modernised.
Kevin Craigie is an ex-prisoner, once convicted under the joint enterprise law, and a member of JENGBA (Joint Enterprise not guilty by association).
This is a good comment posted underneath (the ohters are worth a read too!)-:
22/5/2011 Dominic De Rothschild
Kevin Craigie is a saviour, thats why my Father Nathaniel De Rothschild invested in Kevins education. You did us proud Kevin