Joined: 09 Feb 2007
|Posted: Mon May 05, 2008 12:55 pm Post subject: South Wales Against Wrongful Conviction Campaigns
|South Wales Against Wrongful Conviction Mailout May 2008
New Meeting Day - Mondays
As discussed at previous meetings, please note that meetings will now take place on the third Monday of each month. The next meeting therefore will be on Monday 19th May still in the same venue, Friends (Quaker) Meeting House, 43 Charles St, Cardiff, commencing 7.30 pm. On the 19th of May we will be in the upstairs room but after that back in the main downstairs room. At the next meeting we will be commenting on the content of the recent appeal judgement (see below) and Margaret Gardener will then be giving feedback on the recent MOJO (Miscarriage of Justice Organisation) conference which she attended in Glasgow.
Mike Attwooll and John Roden Mike and John’s appeal took place on 17th March. After 14 years of struggle, it lasted under 4 hours and after over 5 weeks of waiting for the announcement of a reserved judgement the judges rejected the appeal on 23 April. The judgement would be a classic example of the intellectual dishonesty for which the Court of Appeal is famous were it not for its slipshod and lazy presentation which is far from intellectual. Given the limited grounds of appeal on which the CCRC had referred the case, the judges simply relied on witnesses whose evidence they said had not been undermined. One of those witnesses would have been undermined had the judges not refused to consider the issues relating to him, as they were urged to do by John’s lawyers. The other should have been undermined by evidence that the investigation of the case (and the defence performance at trial) was flawed in numerous ways, including evidence that the police lied at various stages. The judgement is extremely vague but it seems that they broadly accepted the two grounds of appeal as valid along with some other issues that the defence teams managed to build in around the grounds. But incredibly they do not really comment on this, simply saying that the jury would have convicted anyway.
We have written to all the appeal defence lawyers suggesting that certain issues, which we have outlined, be raised in an application to the House of Lords, if rejected by the Lords it would then open the possibility of taking certain issues to the European Court. We are doubtful however that the lawyers will agree to do this, probably because it might damage their professional reputation to be seen to be taking a case to the Lords which has little chance of success. We are of the view however that while the highest court in this country (The House of Lords) would probably reject the application, there are matters in this case that the European Court of Human Rights just might rule favourably on. There are strict time limits for the Lords and if the lawyers will not do it there may be little time to organise the chance of John and/or Mike doing it themselves, so we hope at least for a quick response from the lawyers so they can at least consider this. The lawyers may have some avenues to pursue to try and find new evidence to get back to the CCRC but this will need to be strong evidence to get back to another appeal. The judgement sadly sends a bad message to the CCRC in relation to cases where there is police or legal malpractice.
Mike, John and their families are determined to fight on and we remain committed to supporting them. Mike has expressed this in a recent letter written after the failure of the appeal, along with his thanks for our support: -
Please thank all members of what I still consider to be ‘Cardiff Liberty’ for all their support and let them know that their belief in our innocence is one of the main factors in keeping up our hopes that justice will eventually prevail. I can best express my admiration for them all by simply using a quote from Mark Twain that I have probably used before. “It is a mighty fine thing to fight for one’s freedom; it is another sight finer to fight for another man’s” (Extract from Mike Attwooll’s letter)
Our sympathy goes out to the men and their families and friends. Letters or cards expressing continuing support would be welcomed no doubt by both men and also by Margaret’s husband Roger who was convicted of serious charges relating to historical abuse earlier this year: -
Mike Attwooll WH3649 HMP Kingston, Milton Road, Portsmouth, Hants.
John Roden GWO 596 HMP Gartree, Market Harborough, LE16 7RP
Roger Gardener VV4184 HMP Parc, Heol Hopcyn John, Bridgend CF35 6AR
While you’re at it why not add
Richard Davies FP6307 HMP Gartree (as above)
Videos and DVD
‘Wales this Week’ ITV Wales have recently made 2 short films on the Attwooll and Roden Appeal (which we have available on video) and a film on the work of the Cardiff Innocence project on Richard Davies (available on DVD). If anyone would like to borrow any of these contact Dennis on 01443 237663.
Liberty National AGM is on 7th June in London and is open to Liberty national members.
Our AGM will be on the third Monday of July which is 21st July. We will most likely have a speaker (to be confirmed) but also we need to elect Chairperson, Secretary, Treasurer and Campaigns Officer. Anyone willing to stand for election please let us know.
This has been a bad time for the group but perhaps we can take some inspiration from Paddy Joe Hill (Birmingham Six): -
I fought and struggled against the highest powers in the land for 17 years without ever letting them grind me down. I knew that one day I would beat them, that I would win........Don’t be sorry for me. Be angry. Because everything that happened to me was done in your name”
Paddy Joe Hill “Forever Lost, Forever Gone” page 288