Tears of joyThe families of those serving times following joint enterprise convictions are calling on the prime minister to introduce a ‘blanket annulment’ following the recent ruling by the Supreme Court Supreme Court that the courts took a ‘wrong turn’ in its application of the controversial law.

On Monday the campaigning JENGbA (Joint Enterprise Not Guilty by Association) will hand deliver a letter to David Cameron – accompanied by messages from children whose parents are in prison – calling on his government to act immediately.

‘JENGbA families do not want to fight for 27 years as did the Hillsborough families,’ writes Gloria Morrison, JENGbA co-ordinator. ‘Those little boys and girls whose letters you are about to read don’t want to be adults still fighting for their loved ones because the Government ignored their pain and the right to freedom for those serving life for a crime they did not commit.’

‘The courts made a mistake. The Supreme Court took a brave step in some way by putting it right, the judges expressed that Parliament must finish the job. Until they do, tonight and every night there will be men, women and children crying themselves to sleep either because they want to go home to their families or because they want someone they desperately love to come home to them.’
JENGbA

In February the Supreme Court justices in the case of R v Jogee unanimously decided that Chan Wing-Siu (1985) and Powell and English (1999), which had been the previous leading cases on joint enterprise, had ‘taken a wrong turn’. Lord Neuberger said that ‘the effect of putting the law right’ was ‘not to render invalid all convictions which were arrived at over many years by faithfully applying the [wrong] law… where a conviction has been arrived at by faithfully applying the law as it stood at the time, it can be set aside only by seeking exceptional leave to appeal to the Court of Appeal out of time’.

The miscarriage of justice watchdog the Criminal Cases Review Commission has said that it ‘seems likely’ that Jogee would have ‘a significant impact’ on its work. ‘The specific nature of the Supreme Court’s judgment means that the decision in Jogee will affect other cases only in certain very specific circumstances.,’ says the CCRC. ‘However, given that the judgment potentially affects cases going back a number of years, it may generate a considerable number of applications or re-applications to the Commission.’ The Commission is currently reviewing around 30 joint enterprise murder convictions and has a number of other such cases waiting for reviews to begin.

JENGbA is calling on ministers to ‘devise a legal framework to enable a blanket annulment of all the joint enterprise convictions gained in the full knowledge that the person convicted was not actually guilty of the index offence and one that would ensure no individuals would have to fight their cases separately, as well as establishing the compensation fund’.

JENGBA tillie pic 2

A message for the PM from Tillie, aged 5


 

May 12 2016

Mr David Cameron

House of Commons

SW1A 0AA

Dear Mr Cameron,

 

We know that you are aware of the Supreme Court judgement made in February this year. A judgement that acknowledged the law of Joint Enterprise had taken a wrong turn in1982. And by doing so allowed the courts in England and Wales to misinterpret the law for over 32 years.

This misinterpretation of the law has had a devastating effect on hundreds of innocent families and entire communities have suffered because of its sweeping effect.

With this letter we have added messages from some of the children we support who have had the courage to write about the person they love and miss and who is now serving an unjust life sentence in prison. Please read their words and try to understand how it must feel to be a child whose only contact with a parent is the occasional hour in a prison visit room. An emotional encounter, surrounded by other prisoners as well as prison staff. Imagine being a child who must be searched by strangers before he or she can run into the arms of mummy or daddy.

Today is about the little girls and boys who are unable to understand why big brother or sister never comes home and can no longer play with them as they once did.

We also represent the children who have lost their freedom and many years of their lives because the law took a wrong turn long before they were even born. Children who have had to grow up in prison, with many being given minimum sentences that are longer than the years they’d been alive before they were convicted.

JENGbA mothers and fathers have had the strength to campaign for the historic victory at the Supreme Court in February. However are you aware that for some the burden became too much and suicide became their only release.

We now ask that something positive is done for those still incarcerated due to a misinterpretation of the law. We ask that this is done sooner rather than later. JENGbA families do not want to fight for 27 years as did the Hillsborough families. Those little boys and girls whose letters you are about to read don’t want to be adults still fighting for their loved ones because the Government ignored their pain and the right to freedom for those serving life for a crime they did not commit. There is no greater injustice than to lose a loved one to murder, and we all understand that, but we also know the human misery of a wrongful conviction. The courts made a mistake. The Supreme Court took a brave step in some way by putting it right, the judges expressed that Parliament must finish the job. Until they do, tonight and every night there will be men, women and children crying themselves to sleep either because they want to go home to their families or because they want someone they desperately love to come home to them.

In the name of Justice and to restore public confidence the Ministry of Justice needs to devise a legal framework to enable a blanket annulment of all the joint enterprise convictions gained in the full knowledge that the person convicted was not actually guilty of the index offence and one that would ensure no individuals would have to fight their cases separately, as well as establishing the compensation fund.

Yours sincerely

Gloria Morrison Campaign Co-ordinator

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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1 Comment

  • Milica Kastner May 13, 2016 11:59 am

    Hear hear JENGbA
    I am so proud of you all for never giving up….
    As you say “no justice no peace” I’m coming back from LA expecially to march with you on Monday and hand this into David Cameron. I’m also passing it onto the Queens secretary today.
    You are my family, love Mil xx

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