Blog entry 20th January 2020
In December 2019's issue of Inside Time the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) stated the following:
The CCRC has special legal powers to help it investigate cases and can get hold of case papers and other relevant material that others cannot, including material that was not disclosed during the prosecution process.
The prominent issues raised in my recent application to the CCRC specifically relate to this public statement. Yet despite clear evidence that Kent Police and CPA withheld swathes of evidence that would have raised a cogent reasonable doubt decision in any jury, the CCRC have declined to pursue my case. Instead they insist that an application to the appeal court must be made direct.
It is obvious though that any such direct appeal would be significantly compromised without the crucial evidence being withheld by Kent Police and CPS, evidence that the CCRC have the legal powers and jurisdiction to secure. Instead, the CCRC seem to have the view that it would be better to submit an appeal devoid of evidence crucial to its success because they wont do that which they have claimed that they do in a very public statement. This is as good as condoning the police and CPS's well known and widespread media reported practices of withholding and hiding evidence that they know will either seriously undermine their prosecution case, or fully exonerate the accused individual.
Worse still, in rejecting my recent application the CCRC completely ignored irrefutable forensic evidence. Namely that recent DNA re-examination proves that the prosecutions forensic "expert" wilfully and knowingly gave massively over-exaggerated match estimations at trial in regards to the crime scene DNA sample matching myself. In June 2019 the Court of Appeal ruled in Liverpool Victoria Insurance - v - Zafar that for an expert witness making a deliberate or feckless false statement in a document verified by a statement of truth would be so inherently serious that "nothing other than an order for committal to prison would be sufficient". Questionably this hasn't been enough for the CCRC to act either.
For quite sometime serious questions have been asked about the CCRC's ability to do the job with which it has been entrusted. This includes an on-going review by the Justice Select Committee. Amongst many miscarriage of justice organisations the general consensus appears to be that there are serious failings within and by the CCRC. Yet there seems to be no drive by government or the media for CCRC reforms and a widening of their mandate upon which to pursue and refer cases to the Court of Appeal.
I would argue that any case where the Crown's expert witnesses have given provably untruthful evidence that played a key role in securing a conviction, or that the police and CPS withheld any evidence that would have assisted the formulation of a viable defence should automatically trigger a full investigation and appeal court referral by the CCRC, once brought to their attention.
For the CCRC to be trusted and for them to have any credibility their key customers (the wrongly convicted) must be able to have confidence in them. Currently there is a very strong argument that this is not the case
I hear much of people's calling out to punish the guilty, but very few are concerned to clear the innocent.