Author Topic: Admission of Guilt under Duress - False Confession  (Read 699 times)

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Offline BillyM

Admission of Guilt under Duress - False Confession
« on: November 27, 2019, 11:37:24 AM »
Try ing to prove you are innocent seems to be an impossible task. When mistakes are pointed out, the people involved, barrister, probation, police courts etc all deny any wrongdoing.
I suffer from PTSD, I only found this out a few years ago. This is due to being abused in a Youth Detention Centre back in 1985.

Long story I was charged with conspiracy to steal. Under duress, I panicked and admitted to receiving a pint of beer from a group of guys who stole from slot machines when I met up with them for what I thought was just a drinking and gambling session. I was charged with being involved in 3 places. One i was sat alone away from them, one i was in a different room to them, 3rd one i was playing a quiz machine next to them but i had my back to them. I always denied being involved. They had a long history of this crime. They changed their pleas to guilty as they were seen on CCTV stealing. When the court case happened, one of them was locked up already for a similar offense elsewhere, one was out on bail with a similar case ongoing at another court, the other was out on a suspended sentence. It was in their interest to plead guilty to get a lesser sentence. My barrister said it looks bad for me with them pleading guilty. He said the prosecution would say I was acting as a lookout or blocker. He said if i plead not guilty, get found guilty i will get a longer sentence. I said i never stole anything or knew they were stealing. I panicked at the thought of prison after what happened as a kid. I said what will i plead guilty to if i do, he said did they buy you a beer, I said yes, he said well plead guilty to them buying you a beer, so i did.
I was charged with conspiracy to steal.
As this was going on, my mother was seriously ill, my 15-year-old nephew had recently passed away after a long battle, I was quoted roughly 1000 per month to defend myself and told the case could go for over a year, I could not afford this and did not qualify for legal aid. I was under so much stress and very depressed.

In Crown Court, the case judge said he would look at each individual role, he said don't be worried about the word conspiracy as he will look at it as theft. The prosecution accepted my plea i only got a pint of beer. I thought i would be sentenced for accepting a pint of beer, not being part of a conspiracy.

On the day of sentencing, the judge and my barrister changed. I had a stand-in barrister who knew nothing about me or the case. The solicitors were all saying, oh no, you have got a terrible judge, he is known for handing out a harsh punishment. In court, he dismissed the previous judge's comments on sentencing. One barrister tried to correct him on this and he was told to sit back down which he did. This judge said he said he had an interest in our case but never said what the interest was. He said we all acted together, saying they could not have committed this crime without my involvement which was wrong, they had been caught on numerous occasions all over the country doing this crime without any extra people involved.

I got 12 months suspended for 2 years. The rest got the same except one who was on a suspended and got 15 months and got sent down. I never appealed at the time because I was just glad it was over and never went to prison.

My mother passed a year later, I was her carer. I`d had a terrible time. A year later i looked into appealing. I was quoted over 10,000 pounds and told they rarely succeed. I did not have this cash anyway. The barrister I saw knew about this case, his firm had represented one of the others. He said if id stuck to not guilty the CPS would probably have dropped it as they had the main guys.

Again i was disheartened. I began to receive counselling for my PTSD, after a few years and pulling myself together i appealed on my own. Last year my appeal was refused in writing stating I openly admitted in my pre sentence report that 'once i realised what they were doing i went along with it' and was deeply ashamed. I was shocked to read this. At no point did i admit to the police, the solicitors, the barrister, or probation that i was involved or went along with it. Somehow probation got my report wrong. I have since spoken to probation who say it was long ago, they have no notes and can't do anything. I complained to them, one of the bosses said sometimes admin staff type up the reports. Somehow they screwed it up.
Why would I deny being involved to everyone, have the prosecution accept my plea, thinking I`m going to be sentenced on the role i played (which was nothing at all, just accepting a beer) and then jeopardise all of this by saying in my pre sentence report i was a part of it?

My stand-in barrister saw me for a few minutes before going in for sentencing. He was asking me about the case and myself. He said your pre sentence report recommends a non-custodial sentence, nothing else. He never let me read the report and there was no time anyway, it was all rushed. If i had read it, I would have corrected the mistakes. He did not see these mistakes as he knew nothing about the case.

I got my second appeal at the courts. The judges dismissed both sentence and conviction appeals stating I admitted it in the pre sentence report and they thought 12 months was a fair sentence. They did not use common sense to think, why would anyone admit this in the report when they had denied it all the way. They allowed me a few minutes to speak, I fluffed it, i could not get my words out and just got confused. I was ill-prepared. The judge mentioned my PTSD and the reports i sent them. He said, you claim to suffer from PTSD and are afraid/panic in the presence of authority like the courts but yet here you are today standing in front of us. It was as though he was making out I`d just made it up, he never took into account the years of counseling I`ve had that helped me get there.

So, i got sentenced for conspiracy of theft, the appeal judge thought 12 months was not excessive, they claimed around 2,500 pounds was stolen but never showed any proof of this figure. Their reasoning for not allowing my appeals was I was supposed to have said in the pre sentence report... Once I realised what they were doing, i went along with it, so i was openly admitting my guilt.

Let's just say this was true, I stupidly admitted this. This then means I never knew they travelled up to commit theft which is what was said.  I had bumped into one of these guys a few weeks prior, we arranged to meet up in a few weeks so I texted him on the day and said 'Are you still coming up'.  This is what the CPS said was a conspiracy. Therefore I did not conspire for them to travel to my area and steal. I just went along with theft when I realised. So not a conspiracy on my part, but I was sentenced for conspiracy.

I have sent my info to the CCRC hoping they will take it on. This sentence is ruining my life now. I want to move to the US with my US partner but can't because of this. Now I may lose her too. My life sucks right now.

This all happened in 2011.  I read a recent case where 10 guys traveled the country for 2 years stealing from 100 plus premises/machines, more than 40,000 pounds was stolen and only one got 15 months, the other 9 were sentenced on their roles i guess and received 9 months downwards suspended to a community order. How is my sentence fair compared to this? I was present one day, one pub next to them and thought i only admitted to receiving a pint of beer. I had not been in trouble since 1985. This recent case they all had previous for the same thing and received lesser sentences than me. How can this be fair justice?

Any advice appreciated.

« Last Edit: November 27, 2019, 11:55:18 AM by BillyM »

Offline Admin

Re: Admission of Guilt under Duress - False Confession
« Reply #1 on: November 29, 2019, 09:24:38 PM »
Welcome to the forum Billy and thank you for sharing your experience with us. I'm sure some of the members will respond to your request.

I will have a look at your case in a bit more depth when I have time but my initial observation is that it is extremely difficult to successfully appeal any crime once you admit to it.

Offline John

Re: Admission of Guilt under Duress - False Confession
« Reply #2 on: November 29, 2019, 10:53:37 PM »
Try ing to prove you are innocent seems to be an impossible task. When mistakes are pointed out, the people involved, barrister, probation, police courts etc all deny any wrongdoing.
I suffer from PTSD, I only found this out a few years ago. This is due to being abused in a Youth Detention Centre back in 1985.

Long story I was charged with conspiracy to steal. Under duress, I panicked and admitted to receiving a pint of beer from a group of guys who stole from slot machines when I met up with them for what I thought was just a drinking and gambling session. I was charged with being involved in 3 places. One i was sat alone away from them, one i was in a different room to them, 3rd one i was playing a quiz machine next to them but i had my back to them. I always denied being involved. They had a long history of this crime. They changed their pleas to guilty as they were seen on CCTV stealing. When the court case happened, one of them was locked up already for a similar offense elsewhere, one was out on bail with a similar case ongoing at another court, the other was out on a suspended sentence. It was in their interest to plead guilty to get a lesser sentence. My barrister said it looks bad for me with them pleading guilty. He said the prosecution would say I was acting as a lookout or blocker. He said if i plead not guilty, get found guilty i will get a longer sentence. I said i never stole anything or knew they were stealing. I panicked at the thought of prison after what happened as a kid. I said what will i plead guilty to if i do, he said did they buy you a beer, I said yes, he said well plead guilty to them buying you a beer, so i did.
I was charged with conspiracy to steal.
As this was going on, my mother was seriously ill, my 15-year-old nephew had recently passed away after a long battle, I was quoted roughly 1000 per month to defend myself and told the case could go for over a year, I could not afford this and did not qualify for legal aid. I was under so much stress and very depressed.

In Crown Court, the case judge said he would look at each individual role, he said don't be worried about the word conspiracy as he will look at it as theft. The prosecution accepted my plea i only got a pint of beer. I thought i would be sentenced for accepting a pint of beer, not being part of a conspiracy.

On the day of sentencing, the judge and my barrister changed. I had a stand-in barrister who knew nothing about me or the case. The solicitors were all saying, oh no, you have got a terrible judge, he is known for handing out a harsh punishment. In court, he dismissed the previous judge's comments on sentencing. One barrister tried to correct him on this and he was told to sit back down which he did. This judge said he said he had an interest in our case but never said what the interest was. He said we all acted together, saying they could not have committed this crime without my involvement which was wrong, they had been caught on numerous occasions all over the country doing this crime without any extra people involved.

I got 12 months suspended for 2 years. The rest got the same except one who was on a suspended and got 15 months and got sent down. I never appealed at the time because I was just glad it was over and never went to prison.

My mother passed a year later, I was her carer. I`d had a terrible time. A year later i looked into appealing. I was quoted over 10,000 pounds and told they rarely succeed. I did not have this cash anyway. The barrister I saw knew about this case, his firm had represented one of the others. He said if id stuck to not guilty the CPS would probably have dropped it as they had the main guys.

Again i was disheartened. I began to receive counselling for my PTSD, after a few years and pulling myself together i appealed on my own. Last year my appeal was refused in writing stating I openly admitted in my pre sentence report that 'once i realised what they were doing i went along with it' and was deeply ashamed. I was shocked to read this. At no point did i admit to the police, the solicitors, the barrister, or probation that i was involved or went along with it. Somehow probation got my report wrong. I have since spoken to probation who say it was long ago, they have no notes and can't do anything. I complained to them, one of the bosses said sometimes admin staff type up the reports. Somehow they screwed it up.
Why would I deny being involved to everyone, have the prosecution accept my plea, thinking I`m going to be sentenced on the role i played (which was nothing at all, just accepting a beer) and then jeopardise all of this by saying in my pre sentence report i was a part of it?

My stand-in barrister saw me for a few minutes before going in for sentencing. He was asking me about the case and myself. He said your pre sentence report recommends a non-custodial sentence, nothing else. He never let me read the report and there was no time anyway, it was all rushed. If i had read it, I would have corrected the mistakes. He did not see these mistakes as he knew nothing about the case.

I got my second appeal at the courts. The judges dismissed both sentence and conviction appeals stating I admitted it in the pre sentence report and they thought 12 months was a fair sentence. They did not use common sense to think, why would anyone admit this in the report when they had denied it all the way. They allowed me a few minutes to speak, I fluffed it, i could not get my words out and just got confused. I was ill-prepared. The judge mentioned my PTSD and the reports i sent them. He said, you claim to suffer from PTSD and are afraid/panic in the presence of authority like the courts but yet here you are today standing in front of us. It was as though he was making out I`d just made it up, he never took into account the years of counseling I`ve had that helped me get there.

So, i got sentenced for conspiracy of theft, the appeal judge thought 12 months was not excessive, they claimed around 2,500 pounds was stolen but never showed any proof of this figure. Their reasoning for not allowing my appeals was I was supposed to have said in the pre sentence report... Once I realised what they were doing, i went along with it, so i was openly admitting my guilt.

Let's just say this was true, I stupidly admitted this. This then means I never knew they travelled up to commit theft which is what was said.  I had bumped into one of these guys a few weeks prior, we arranged to meet up in a few weeks so I texted him on the day and said 'Are you still coming up'.  This is what the CPS said was a conspiracy. Therefore I did not conspire for them to travel to my area and steal. I just went along with theft when I realised. So not a conspiracy on my part, but I was sentenced for conspiracy.

I have sent my info to the CCRC hoping they will take it on. This sentence is ruining my life now. I want to move to the US with my US partner but can't because of this. Now I may lose her too. My life sucks right now.

This all happened in 2011.  I read a recent case where 10 guys traveled the country for 2 years stealing from 100 plus premises/machines, more than 40,000 pounds was stolen and only one got 15 months, the other 9 were sentenced on their roles i guess and received 9 months downwards suspended to a community order. How is my sentence fair compared to this? I was present one day, one pub next to them and thought i only admitted to receiving a pint of beer. I had not been in trouble since 1985. This recent case they all had previous for the same thing and received lesser sentences than me. How can this be fair justice?

Any advice appreciated.

I would imagine you were prosecuted under joint enterprise laws given your association with the real culprits. Apologies if that is incorrect.
A malicious prosecution for a crime which never existed and an exposť of egregious malfeasance by public officials.
The truth never changes with the passage of time.