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Blog entry 1st October 2016

The month hasn't begun in the best of ways. Yesterday I received the sad news that my appeal barrister Mr Stephen Field has died.

First and foremost I wish to express my deepest condolences to Mr Field's family.

Mr Field's death has deepened my concerns regarding my solicitor's diligence towards the conduct of my case. I learned of Mr Field's death not from my own solicitor but, from a fellow prisoner's solicitor whose appeal I've managed to move to the application to the CCRC stage. This typifies the utter lack of contact and information my solicitor (Mr Gavin Rose) affords me. It is therefore of no surprise for me to have to report for the umpteenth consecutive month that Mr Rose has apparently failed to make any progress in;

  1. Securing access to the forensic samples from Kent police/CPS so that re-testing can be performed
  2. or

  3. Pursued Kent police/CPS for disclosure of the evidence withheld at my trial that verified my alibi.

In view of these contrived failures I have written to Mr Rose yet again.

Over the previous fortnight BBC2 screened a two-part programme 'Conviction - Murder at the Station'. This examined the potential wrongful conviction of a Mr Kearney by Louise Shorter's group 'Inside Justice'. What became very apparent during the course of the two programmes was that the case presented by the Police and CPS at court simply didn't add up. In particular a former Metropolitan Police Forensic Science Officer raised concerns that the police had destroyed key forensic evidence once they had secured the suspicious conviction against Mr Kearney.

She stated that she found such actions unusual and questionable, something that she hadn't experienced before. Really? I know of a number of cases being investigated for appeal where the police were fully aware that appeals were being pursued yet still quickly destroyed key forensic evidence that would be required for re-testing by the defendants appeal team.

So why do the police/CPS destroy this evidence? THe answer is obvious. By destroying forensic exhibits wanted by the defence an avenue of appeal is denied to a wrongly convicted prisoner. Unbelievably the CCRC and appeal court do not come down on the side of the appellant when the police/CPS execute such an obvious obstructive and underhanded tactic. Instead they state that as the evidence is no longer available they can no longer consider it!

This is an atrocious dereliction of their duty and role. The Police and Criminal Evidence (PACE) Act requires that all evidence in major/serious crime investigation is retained/preserved for a minimum of 30 years or until the conviction is spent. By 'losing' or destroying evidence in these instances the police/CPS are blatantly breaking a legal act. In view of this the CCRC and Appeal Court should at the very least be automatically;

  1. Taking extreme adverse inference that the police/CPS's actions were intentional to deny the appellant evidence that would support their application for appeal. This alone should then be classed as abuse of the trial process and be viewed as sufficient doubt of the convictions safety
  2. and,

  3. recommend that the officer responsible for the evidences loss/destruction, or the investigations commanding officer face criminal charges for willful breaching of the PACE act.

Anything less is a mockery of British law and its justice system. It is also time that appeal solicitors who encounter police/CPS obstructions of appeals in this way serve judicial reviews on the offending police forces and Crown Prosecution Services. Those who don't are not representing their appellant clients best interests.

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