Barry George's sister, Michelle Bates on a Justice Alliance demo

Barry George’s sister, Michelle Bates on a Justice Alliance demo

The UK’s first criminal appeals specialist charity law firm is launched today, as defence lawyers take action to protest the legal aid cuts. The Centre for Criminal Appeals combines charitable fundraising with legal aid to represented alleged victims of miscarriages of justice. ‘With mounting pressures on firms causing them to no longer take on legally aided criminal appeals, an under-resourced CCRC that now takes at least 72 weeks to process an application, and our court and prison systems bursting at the seams, creative solutions are urgently needed,’ the CCA says.

According to the CCA, less than a third of applicants to the Criminal Case Review Commission (CCRC) have a lawyer however those with lawyers are ‘twice as likely to succeed’. The group adds that, in light of today’s second 8.75% cut on fees, CCA will jointoday’s boycott of legal aid cases covered by a representation order alongside many defence firms and barristers.

The CCA’s funding model enables it to supplement legal aid with charitable donations and fundraising to enable it to conduct proper investigations, representation and support to innocent prisoners. The group also hopes that its cases will ‘highlight the necessary strategic changes to the criminal justice system’.

‘Innocent people are trapped for years as they struggle to negotiate a complex legal system from prison,’ says Sophie Walker, chief executive of the CCA. ‘We are hoping to blaze a trail for legal service provision that others can follow to ensure the most disenfranchised in our society can find the help they need.’

‘When I came back from working on death row cases in the States to set up the CCA, I had no idea that the situation here would deteriorate to such an extent. Criminal justice in the UK is in severely under threat and we need to do whatever we can to address this, for the sake not only of the whole justice system, but for British society too.’
Emily Bolton, founder of the CCA


Profile photo of Jon Robins About Jon Robins
Jon is editor of the Justice Gap. He is a freelance journalist. Jon's books include The First Miscarriage of Justice (Waterside Press, 2014), The Justice Gap (LAG, 2009) and People Power (Daily Telegraph/LawPack, 2008). Jon is a journalism lecturer at Winchester University and a visiting senior fellow in access to justice at the University of Lincoln. He is twice winner of the Bar Council's journalism award (2015 and 2005) and is shortlisted for this year's Criminal Justice Alliance's journalism award

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  • Michelle Bates July 2, 2015 9:34 am

    This is a very welcome piece of news. Wrongly convicted people are totally disenfranchised, their only hope is to have the CCRC look at their cases. How can those who are not legally trained mount a successful legal appeal? I was faced with this very issue when fighting for my brother, Barry George, a mentally disabled man wrongly convicted of murder. Hazel Keirle of MOJO wrote my legal submission to the CCRC, but it still took us seven years to get him freed. His legal team still works pro-bono on his claim for compensation.

    Without legal aid these wrongly convicted people will never leave prison since they cannot show remorse for a crime they didn’t commit. Look at Victor Nealon. Convicted of attempted rape and sentenced to seven years…he served SEVENTEEN years because he would not, could not admit to the offence. In all of these cases the real perpetrator remains at large in our communities, and wrongfully incarcerateing others costs our country millions. How is this justice?

    I hope and pray that this organisation will be a success and, if I can be of assistance, please contact me via Jon Robbins.

  • Susan Bicknell July 2, 2015 10:31 pm

    I join with Michelle Bates, in welcoming the UK’s first specialist miscarriage of justice law firm. Michelle’s brother Barry George, was my first client, on my first day (26th April 1999)at my new job of Welfare Rights Adviser at Hammersmith and Fulham Action for Disability (HAFAD). I had been working in this role elsewhere, since 1993, having originally trained in a specialist CAB Welfare Rights Unit. It was an appalling experience for me and my family, when my evidence as to where Barry was, at the time Jill Dando was murdered, was ignored. I was never given the chance to explain in my original statement to the police or in court, as to why I was so sure about the time that I met Barry, which as Scott Lomax pointed out during the 2001 trial meant that Barry could not have have committed the crime he was accused of. For anyone to spend years in prison, for a crime they have not committed, to eventually be freed and then like Barry, to not receive any compensation, beggars belief. This is not justice and it is shameful that this has happened here in the UK, not just to Barry George, but also to dozens of other innocent people. Susan Bicknell – Welfare Rights Adviser and Disability Advocate.

  • Andrew Green July 3, 2015 7:58 am

    How can our members and others seeking our help take advantage of this service?

  • valerie williams July 7, 2015 10:48 pm

    At a recent event at the Bayer Pharmarcuitical Co, the microphone was switched off every time I tried to speak in English on Primodos a hormone pregnacy testing drug 1953-1978 to test a PREGNANCY. What we did not know then that Primodos was equivalent to 180 Con.Pill and 13 Morning after Pills. Many thousands of unborn babies were misscarried, born still birth or with multiple malforfations. The drug co was Schering Chemicals now Bayer Pharms whose rat studies in 1969 revealed multiple miscarriages in the rats. Bayer now consistently deny this not helped by our UK government who in the sixties wrote to GP’s to erase all knowledge of Primodos on Patients notes. They also considered to have a special code for drugs with controversial issue’s.

    I attended the Bayer Stockholders Con in Cologne 27/5/15 and each time I tried to present my sepeech in English, Bayer management switched off the microphone. They also surrounded the podium with security officers which I found intimidating and quite scared as at the age of 72 yrs one does not expect to be treated as a criminal.

    With the helo of Roland Holtz an ex pharma marketing manager who left the industry due to the contraversial issue.s associated with their products, Roland is now an expert in medical ethics and has helped me to write a letter to Bayer as Roland is expert enough by saying Bayer has violated EU Legislation by not allowing me to present my speech to their Stockholders on the truth on Primodos. Letters have been sent to Bayer from Roland and myself to iniate proccedings in the European Court in Brussel.

    If you can help or give guidance on this dreadful behaviour by a drug coorporation by rufusing a 72 year old lady for trying to tell the truth to their ShAREHOLDERS, I would very much appreciate your help. Thank You. Valerie Williams mother of a child traumatised forty years ago by Primodos.

  • Funke bakare October 17, 2016 7:46 pm

    Information on how to help a wronfully Accused person.

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