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Old 8th December 2016, 12:05 PM   #1
Nessie
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Miscarriages of justice when found not guilty

All the miscarriages of justice in this thread and the vast majority that are in the news are when people are found guilty and end up in prison.

I suspect that there is another largely ignored miscarriage of justice, when people are accused of crimes they did not commit, are subject to often long and embarrassing police investigations, only to be saved when the Sheriff or Judge finds the person not guilty, or the case is otherwise dropped by the prosecutor due to insufficient or exculpatory evidence.

I am thinking of cases which the police should not have put to court in the first place and only did so because they failed in their duty to conduct full, fair and proper investigations.

http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/sc...s-walk-5757718

"Criminal waste of time: Suspects walk free as 10,000 cases a year are dropped by court prosecutors due to insufficient evidence

A DAILY RECORD investigation revealed a huge number of failed cases has been blamed on a culture within Police Scotland to report more crimes in a bid to boost detection rates."

I think far more attention should be paid to how well the police investigated a crime whereby the aim is to reduce the number of miscarriages of justice, not just for those found guilty, but those found not guilty.
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Old 8th December 2016, 03:53 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Nessie View Post
(much snipped)
I think far more attention should be paid to how well the police investigated a crime whereby the aim is to reduce the number of miscarriages of justice, not just for those found guilty, but those found not guilty.
Sounds tricky because we don't have a way to know whether someone is actually guilty or not, at least not independent from an investigation - and the investigation is the thing we want to test.
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Old 8th December 2016, 05:17 PM   #3
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The various kinds of costs are considerable

In some cases (Duke lacrosse) the grand jury failed to do its job. In some cases that have gone to trial, the defendant had a strong alibi defense, and one wonders why the prosecution did not pay attention (one possibility is that the prosecution was blind sided).

Besides lost time and repetitional harm to the defendant, there is the monetary cost of going to trial. For a major felony, this is unlikely to be less than five figures, and sometimes goes to six figures (Frank Esposito arson case) or beyond. And the cost to the state must also be considerable.
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Old 8th December 2016, 05:22 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Chris_Halkides View Post
In some cases (Duke lacrosse) the grand jury failed to do its job.

<snip>

Did the grand jury have all of the exculpatory evidence to review, or just the evidence that Nifong spoon fed them?
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Old 8th December 2016, 05:27 PM   #5
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Why not record the proceedings?

Originally Posted by quadraginta View Post
Did the grand jury have all of the exculpatory evidence to review, or just the evidence that Nifong spoon fed them?
You raise a very good point, and perhaps I should have been more exact. No one knows exactly what the grand jury heard because in North Carolina there are no records kept of the proceedings. Simply recording the proceedings might or might not make them more fair. IIRC informed commentators on the case have argued that the cops (Gottlieb and Himan) probably lied, but the details escape me at the moment. Mr. Seligman had unimpeachable electronic alibi evidence. Perhaps I should have said that the grand jury system failed the three players IMO.
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Old 9th December 2016, 07:14 AM   #6
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Here's a case from my neck of the woods:

https://www.calgunsfoundation.org/20...john-le-story/

Video available at the link.
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Old 9th December 2016, 11:36 PM   #7
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From New Zealand this thread I started is a perfect example.

http://www.internationalskeptics.com...d.php?t=286888

The police destroyed several families.
Sue Schwalger was of course promoted to district commander after this gross misconduct.
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Old 10th December 2016, 06:06 AM   #8
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In Scotland there is a Code of Practice under S164 of the CJ&L(S)A 2010 whereby the police and prosecutor have a duty to ensure all reasonable lines of enquiry are investigated into, including exculpatory evidence, so as to prevent miscarriages of justice.

http://www.crownoffice.gov.uk/images...roceedings.pdf

However, there are still police and prosecutors who think that so long as there looks like there is corroboration from two pieces of evidence, off to court a case goes. A culture still exists whereby it is up to the defence to prove not guilty and present exculpatory evidence. The Code of Practice has made it clear that is not the case. If you do not have legal aid or some legal cover, it can be very expensive just to point out all the evidence that shows not guilty.
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Old 10th December 2016, 09:20 AM   #9
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I think these Tory cuts to legal aid are affecting the British right to a fair trial. I suppose it doesn't affect most people who are only interested in Adelle performances, or extremely rich people who can afford a first-class solicitor or London expert. It's just that more people now seem to be trying to defend themselves in court. This can be very serious for them if they thought they were on a charge of common assault, and then suddenly find they are charged with grievous bodily harm.

There is some background to all this in a Guardian article from 8 months ago by Jamie Doward and Tom Dare:

Quote:
Miscarriages of justice and long delays in the criminal justice system are becoming more common because a growing number of people are having to represent themselves in court, legal experts have warned.

A new report, Justice Denied, suggests that a combination of legal aid cuts, complex bureaucracy and inadequate support and information for defendants have led to a surge in people appearing in court without a lawyer.

In one example given to the charity behind the report, Transform Justice, an unrepresented defendant remained silent during his appearance via video link from a police station. Only after he had been sent to prison did it emerge that he was deaf.

There are no official figures for the number of unrepresented defendants in magistrates courts – the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) is conducting an inquiry into the situation in the crown courts. But the report cites a wealth of evidence, including a survey by the Magistrates Association, official data from the MoJ, freedom of information responses, an online poll of lawyers, surveys of prosecutors, judges and magistrates and fieldwork carried out at courts – as proof that more people are appearing in court without legal representation.

Overdue review into legal aid cuts is a denial of justice
Letters: It is vital for the government to ensure that nobody is denied access to justice based on their ability to pay
Read more
The report states: “Interviewees had witnessed unrepresented defendants not understanding what they were charged with, pleading guilty when they would have been advised not to, and vice versa, messing up the cross-examination of witnesses, and getting tougher sentences because they did not know how to mitigate.”

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According to the Magistrates Association survey, its members reported that 25% of defendants who came before them in 2014 were unrepresented. Of 143 responses, drawn largely from members of the legal profession, to a Transform Justice poll, 90% felt there had been an increase in unrepresented defendants in the courts over the last two years.

The report quotes one prosecutor as saying: “I could count on the fingers of one hand how many have actually understood the charges. I have had one who was facing a GBH [grievous bodily harm] charge believing he is in court for common assault and being shocked when I had to tell him the serious nature of the charge.”

Another observed that the rise in unrepresented defendants was having an effect on sentencing: “On balance, a person who is unrepresented stands a 15% chance of getting a longer sentence or a worse outcome than if he was represented, even by a not very competent advocate.”

The report’s findings have alarmed senior members of the legal profession. “The efficiency and fairness of our justice system depends on both sides being properly represented,” said Mark Fenhalls QC, the chairman of the Criminal Bar Association. “There is increasing evidence from civil and criminal courts that restricting legal aid is counter-productive and has made the court system less efficient and more expensive. An unrepresented defendant in a criminal trial is like having an unqualified person performing surgery. The patient, our justice system, is bound to suffer and in the long run society will spend more money picking up the pieces.”

Judges interviewed for the report agreed that unrepresented defendants considerably increased the time needed for hearings. Laura Janes, a consultant solicitor with the Howard League for Penal Reform, who works with vulnerable young defendants, said cuts and changes to legal aid had left morale within the legal profession very low. “The way in which fees are paid make it much harder to have really experienced senior solicitors doing this kind of work. Sometimes that’s what you need for really vulnerable defendants.”

Advertisement

A magistrate interviewed by the Observer, said a lack of training meant many magistrates were unable to deal with unrepresented defendants. “You’re left with a rickety cart and the wheels are coming off. If you don’t have excellent training for people involved, particularly magistrates, they won’t know the questions to ask and they won’t be able to make appropriate decisions because they won’t have the appropriate information. It really is as simple as that. It is very depressing.”

Penelope Gibbs, director of Transform Justice, described the rise in unrepresented defendants as a “travesty”, and warned that justice was in danger of being denied to some on modest incomes who did not qualify for legal aid. “People who are denied legal aid are often not wealthy. They get little information to prepare for court and are thrust into an adversarial and complex process which even those who are represented find hard to follow. No wonder they end up pleading guilty when in fact they have a reasonable defence, or getting a longer sentence.

“If we want to create a level playing field between prosecution and defence, we need either to offer everyone access to legal advice or to redesign the system so those without lawyers can more easily make their case.” A Ministry of Justice spokesman said the number of people representing themselves in the crown court has remained stable since 2010. “Legal aid is available for both magistrate and crown court cases, subject to them being means tested,” he added.Miscarriages of justice and long delays in the criminal justice system are becoming more common because a growing number of people are having to represent themselves in court, legal experts have warned.

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Old 10th December 2016, 09:57 AM   #10
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I think everyone should be entitled to free legal aid, but up to two times only. That means people who are unlucky to have been in the wrong place at the wrong time and were dealt with a lazy, incompetent cop will not be left with big bills or a temptation to have a go at representing themselves.

But any future charges are paid for dependent on ability. Many people only go to court once or twice, career criminals make up the majority of accused persons.
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Old 12th December 2016, 08:03 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Nessie View Post
I think everyone should be entitled to free legal aid, but up to two times only. That means people who are unlucky to have been in the wrong place at the wrong time and were dealt with a lazy, incompetent cop will not be left with big bills or a temptation to have a go at representing themselves.

But any future charges are paid for dependent on ability. Many people only go to court once or twice, career criminals make up the majority of accused persons.
Hopefully there'll be no more Adolf Beck's then.
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Old 12th December 2016, 08:44 AM   #12
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My view on this is that the system should mean the likes of Adolph Beck should not go to trial in the first place, until there is a thorough check of ALL of the evidence and EXCULPATORY evidence to minimise the chances of a miscarriage of justice.

Beck said he was in South Africa when a previous offence took place and that should have been properly investigated by the prosecution. That witnesses referenced differences, particularly the scar, should have stopped the case even going to trial.

Incidentally, I once saw an assault and then did an ID parade where I looked at short videos of people. The person I was looking for had a scar on his face, but all of the people in the video had pixelation on their faces so I could not tell which one had a scar. Sorry, but if someone has an identifying scar on their face, they should not commit crime as it makes them easy to pick out. Covering up the scar is wrong.
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Old 12th December 2016, 09:38 PM   #13
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Rubin Bartlett was probably the worst case I have ever heard of. How he got released was amazing. They ended up making a movie about it.
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Old 13th December 2016, 01:34 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Nessie View Post
Incidentally, I once saw an assault and then did an ID parade where I looked at short videos of people. The person I was looking for had a scar on his face, but all of the people in the video had pixelation on their faces so I could not tell which one had a scar. Sorry, but if someone has an identifying scar on their face, they should not commit crime as it makes them easy to pick out. Covering up the scar is wrong.
That doesn't make sense. If the suspect is the only person in the ID parade with a scar they are almost certain to be identified even if they are innocent.
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Old 13th December 2016, 02:04 PM   #15
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The parade was a series of short videos. I am sure they could have found other people with scars to film.
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Old 14th December 2016, 12:03 PM   #16
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Or put a scar on everybody. Even if it's just colored tape across where the scar would be. It would be less distracting than pixels.
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Old 14th December 2016, 05:00 PM   #17
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Interesting topic. Having had some very up close and personal contact with Police Scotland detectives over the past three years my impression is that things are getting better and modern police training and methods is concentrating more on objective evidence and thorough investigation with an open mind.

On the other hand, I may be deluding myself.
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Old 14th December 2016, 05:10 PM   #18
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Rolfe, I thought you were gone. Good to see you. (The human Rolfe.)
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Old 21st December 2016, 09:24 AM   #19
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The problem is measuring the instances and identifying MOJs. I am sure there are people who claim MOJ, but that was because a verdict was not to their liking.

Then the news are only interested in MOJs where the case was news worthy in the first place and people went to prison for long periods of time for murders e.g. Jill Dando and the Birmingham Bombings. Then Lockerbie was a MOJ, but it has not been admitted by the police and COPFS.

There is no way only the big cases result in MOJs. I am sure there are plenty of others. Examples I know of are

1 - an allegation of use of a mobile phone whilst driving. The driver denied use of the phone and went to trial. It turned out that the police officer's notebooks had a different version of what each supposedly saw, but the statements they submitted to the PF were the same, as if copy and pasted. One police officer's notebook accepted it had been raining , windows were steamed up and there was no clear view of the driver. The driver was found not guilty, but left with £1000 of legal fees and a deep suspicion of the police.

2 - a male who was accused of causing a breach of the peace during a road rage incident. The driver of the other car complained and the male was detained, arrested and kept in police cells before going to court. At court the PF put his pen through the case because there was NO CORROBORATION! (In Scots Law, corroboration is required before anyone can be charged with a crime, ALL police know that).

3 - this incident which did make the news

http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/lo...isoner-8982485

A police officer stops a male prisoner from strangling himself by pushing the prisoner off balance so the prisoner lets go without a struggle. The prisoner is uninjured. A civilian member of staff witnesses the incident and reports it as an assault. It goes to trial and the police officer is found not guilty. I fail to see how this one got past the requirement for mens rea as it is clear the intention was to preserve life, not assault and there was a need to take physical action. That reminded me of this news report

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-37356505

"Prison staff who watched but failed to intervene as a mentally ill prisoner blinded himself and injured his groin area have been strongly criticised.

A report by NI's Prisoner Ombudsman has said Sean Lynch inflicted "extreme and shocking" self-harm over three days.
The 23-year-old was held in Maghaberry Prison, a high security jail.
Mr Lynch's father said the recommendations in the report offered "no comfort."
The report said on the final day, two prison officers watched as he injured himself on more than 20 occasions in an "ordeal" that lasted for over an hour."

I wonder if the prison officers were worried they would be charged with assault if they had intervened?! I suspect that this is still part of the targets culture, where by it is considered a result to get a "detection", as opposed to a thorough and proper investigation being considered quality work.
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Old 21st December 2016, 10:37 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Nessie View Post
All the miscarriages of justice in this thread and the vast majority that are in the news are when people are found guilty and end up in prison.

I suspect that there is another largely ignored miscarriage of justice, when people are accused of crimes they did not commit, are subject to often long and embarrassing police investigations, only to be saved when the Sheriff or Judge finds the person not guilty, or the case is otherwise dropped by the prosecutor due to insufficient or exculpatory evidence.

I am thinking of cases which the police should not have put to court in the first place and only did so because they failed in their duty to conduct full, fair and proper investigations.

http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/sc...s-walk-5757718

"Criminal waste of time: Suspects walk free as 10,000 cases a year are dropped by court prosecutors due to insufficient evidence

A DAILY RECORD investigation revealed a huge number of failed cases has been blamed on a culture within Police Scotland to report more crimes in a bid to boost detection rates."

I think far more attention should be paid to how well the police investigated a crime whereby the aim is to reduce the number of miscarriages of justice, not just for those found guilty, but those found not guilty.
Partly this must depend on the burden of proof expected, in the UK it is explicit; the CPS must believe on the balance of probability that they can prove beyond reasonable doubt the 'defendant' committed a crime. That is they must believe there is a greater than 50% probability of achieving a conviction, this is partly subjective, but also dependent on the quality of the police investigation, in the UK there is a statutory duty on the police to seek exculpatory evidence, but some police forces may only seek to prove guilt and 'ignore' inconvenient evidence.
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Old 22nd December 2016, 04:51 AM   #21
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The problem is that in Scotland it was not made clear to the police and COPFS that they had a duty to gather all evidence, including exculpatory evidence until 2011 with a Code of Practice issued by the Lord Advocate

http://www.crownoffice.gov.uk/images...roceedings.pdf

But the message does not appear to getting through and both are acting that so long there is sufficient inculpatory evidence they can stop investigating and report.

There has been a superb TV drama (In Plain Sight) about the Scottish mass murderer Peter Manuel. It included the work of a detective who was certain Manuel had killed a family where the father, William Watt was being blamed. The detective showed that there was exculpatory evidence (Watt was definitely at a hotel in Argyll on the night in question) which meant the two eye witnesses who say they saw in closer to home (the inculpatory evidence the police went with) were wrong. Manuel's defence still argued at the trial the father had killed the family, but they were unsuccessful. That saved a miscarriage of justice.

So prior to 2011 it was just your luck if a detective decided to investigate all lines of enquiry. Now it should be done as a matter of routine, but it appears not to be.
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Old 23rd December 2016, 05:17 AM   #22
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I have done some more reading on the Watt murder case and his solicitor Robert Dowdall was also a major reason why that miscarriage of justice was caught early and William Watt was released.
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Old 27th December 2016, 08:59 AM   #23
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I think that conviction of Sergeant Blackman for shooting dead a mortally wounded Taliban Islamic fighter was a gross miscarriage of justice, and it was a wrong verdict. He has now been in prison for three years. There was a possibility he might have been out on bail for Christmas.

The point is that wishy-washy Britisher liberals and journalists now no nothing about the horrors of war. In the second world war the enemy were sometimes killed by flame throwers, which is a horrible weapon. Some drunken Irish son of a bitch prosecutor is now trying to prosecute British soldiers for shooting dead Irish terrorists. No mention is ever made of the horrible murders of Britishers by the IRA, or the way the IRA have now been given immunity from prosecution. At least the Daily Mail seems to be on the case.

The trouble seems to be that the officers who command these soldiers seem to be out of touch with the coal face, and they are mostly public school twits. They will be asking soldiers next to go into battles with Isis and Al-Qaeda groups disarmed in case they kill anybody.
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Old 27th December 2016, 10:27 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by Henri McPhee View Post
I think that conviction of Sergeant Blackman for shooting dead a mortally wounded Taliban Islamic fighter was a gross miscarriage of justice, and it was a wrong verdict. He has now been in prison for three years. There was a possibility he might have been out on bail for Christmas.

The point is that wishy-washy Britisher liberals and journalists now no nothing about the horrors of war. In the second world war the enemy were sometimes killed by flame throwers, which is a horrible weapon. Some drunken Irish son of a bitch prosecutor is now trying to prosecute British soldiers for shooting dead Irish terrorists. No mention is ever made of the horrible murders of Britishers by the IRA, or the way the IRA have now been given immunity from prosecution. At least the Daily Mail seems to be on the case.
And with that comment any shred of credibility goes out of the window. The case has nothing to do with wishy-washy liberals, its about making it clear that we expect certain rules to be followed by our armed force as well as everyone else's. And the notion that no mention is ever made of British soldiers who were killed just shows your research skills are as poor as ever.
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Old 27th December 2016, 10:31 AM   #25
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This thread is also about how a miscarriage of justice can happen without a guilty verdict or person going to prison and how that can still have a life long detrimental effect on the victim's life.
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Old 27th December 2016, 10:55 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by Nessie View Post
This thread is also about how a miscarriage of justice can happen without a guilty verdict or person going to prison and how that can still have a life long detrimental effect on the victim's life.
How about without ever being charged?

Christopher Jefferies, Wrongly Accused Of Jo Yeates Murder, Blasts UK Press

Quote:
The former Clifton College teacher described how some of the newspapers painted him as a “dark, macabre, sinister villain” having mistakenly believed that because he had been arrested on suspicion of murder he must be the killer.
He also lambasted some of the reporting of the murder inquiry as “lazy and casually inaccurate”.
Mr Jefferies said: “The press seemed determined to believe both; that the person who had been arrested was the genuine murderer and to portray me in a dark and lurid a light as possible.
it seems to have been a vicious circle, the police arrest him, the press print their stories, which reinforces the police's belief they have the right man. Oh and who pointed the finger at Mister Jefferies in the first place? That would be the actual killer...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murder...ction_of_crime

Quote:
After killing Yeates, Tabak attempted to cast suspicion for the murder onto Jefferies after watching a news broadcast about the case while spending the New Year with relatives in the Netherlands. He contacted Avon and Somerset Police to tell them that Jefferies had been using his car on the night of 17 December, and a CID officer, DC Karen Thomas, was sent to Amsterdam to talk to him.
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Old 27th December 2016, 01:26 PM   #27
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Christopher Jeffries was more the press being incompetent than the police. With no definite lead, elimination of possibles is normal and acceptable procedure. The press had found Jeffries guilty rather than the police.
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Old 27th December 2016, 06:13 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by Nessie View Post
Christopher Jeffries was more the press being incompetent than the police. With no definite lead, elimination of possibles is normal and acceptable procedure. The press had found Jeffries guilty rather than the police.
I don't think you can let the police off the hook, they were leaking like a sieve and in no small part because of the very stories they helped create failed to eliminate him. The police, not for the first time, latched onto a suspect and wouldn't let go, even when they found the right man they were still remarkably reluctant to clear Jefferies. This was dodgy police work and an overly cozy relationship with the press smearing an innocent man.
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Old 28th December 2016, 06:56 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by Garrison View Post
How about without ever being charged?

Christopher Jefferies, Wrongly Accused Of Jo Yeates Murder, Blasts UK Press



it seems to have been a vicious circle, the police arrest him, the press print their stories, which reinforces the police's belief they have the right man. Oh and who pointed the finger at Mister Jefferies in the first place? That would be the actual killer...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murder...ction_of_crime

Richard Jewell comes to mind as well. And he wasn't ever even arrested. Just "a possible suspect".

People remember that and tend to forget he was the actual hero of the story. He's the one who spotted the bombs and got a warning out in time to save a lot of lives.
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Last edited by quadraginta; 28th December 2016 at 06:59 AM.
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Old 28th December 2016, 11:02 AM   #30
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Being reluctant to let go when it is clear someone is innocent is a common feature in the above cases.
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Old 29th December 2016, 05:19 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by Nessie View Post
The problem is that in Scotland it was not made clear to the police and COPFS that they had a duty to gather all evidence, including exculpatory evidence until 2011 with a Code of Practice issued by the Lord Advocate

http://www.crownoffice.gov.uk/images...roceedings.pdf

But the message does not appear to getting through and both are acting that so long there is sufficient inculpatory evidence they can stop investigating and report. [....]

So prior to 2011 it was just your luck if a detective decided to investigate all lines of enquiry. Now it should be done as a matter of routine, but it appears not to be.

(As an aside, it pains me physically to read the made-up word / Americanism "inculpatory" when the actual word for what we're talking about is "incriminating". Can't we speak English here?)

You know, I didn't really pick up about the change in 2011 being so fundamental. I thought it was more to do with disclosure than actual evidence collecting. Certainly there have been cases where the police have had exculpatory evidence and have not passed this over to the defence and I believe that was only stopped in Scotland relatively recently. I didn't really understand that they didn't look for contradictory evidence once they'd found some incriminating stuff.

You mentioned Lockerbie, and of course that is a case in point in a way because although Megrahi was found guilty so that doesn't fit the subject on the card, his co-accused Lamin Fhimah was found not guilty but had been under house arrest for eight years (causing the failure of his travel agency business) and was then jailed on remand for a further two years. Every so often (since the abolition of the prohibition on double jeopardy) the Crown Office leaks to the press that they're considering re-indicting him, which must be pretty stressful too.

In that case there were serious failures of disclosure. One particularly important statement was included in a bundle of about 14,000 statements with no indication that it was important and no mention on summary documents intended to draw important items to the attention of the lawyers. Severall other documents, including one police report and the original hand-written notes by the forensic officer that revealed clearly that the crucial "timer fragment" was not what the police and the prosecution told the court that it was, were withheld altogether. (They were eventually turned over in 2009, but again hidden in a stack of material with nothing to indicate that there was important information in them.)

It makes you wonder about the mind-set of the people who will deliberately hide or withhold what is clearly exculpatory material. Do they realise they are potentially setting up innocent people to be convicted, or is it all just a game to them?

There's also a clear example of not looking for exculpatory evidence. The recently deceased eyewitness (who really did see one of the terrorist gang in his shop) tentatively identified a very poor photo of Megrahi as "resembling" the man he saw. (Except he said the man he saw was ten to 15 years older!) At the time, nobody involved had actually seen Megrahi himself. It later became clear that the photo that was used was almost unrecognisable as its subject, and good images of Megrahi became available (actually a clip from a TV documentary). The detectives decided not to show the witness stills from the documentary in a re-run of the photo-identification process "for fear of tainting what he has already provided." In other words, we got him to point to the picture we wanted him to point to, don't ask how (because we didn't tape-record or video the process), and we'd be screwed if he didn't point to the very different picture that's the real likeness of the suspect. (There is also a problem with the aspect ratio of the original photo that was used that has given rise to suspicions that it was manipulated so that the shape of the face was more similar to the photofit.)

These coppers weren't trying to figure out if it was really likely that the 36-year-old five-foot-eight light-skinned slightly-built Megrahi was the 50-year-old over-six-feet dark-skinned "burly, heavily-built" customer. They were trying to obtain statements that could be represented as claiming that the witness had said it was him.

I'm not sure how relevant that is in this thread as there was a conviction as well as an acquittal. Maybe we need a thread on police misconduct in general?
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Old 29th December 2016, 05:22 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by Henri McPhee View Post
I think that conviction of Sergeant Blackman for shooting dead a mortally wounded Taliban Islamic fighter was a gross miscarriage of justice, and it was a wrong verdict. He has now been in prison for three years. There was a possibility he might have been out on bail for Christmas.

The point is that wishy-washy Britisher liberals and journalists now no nothing about the horrors of war. In the second world war the enemy were sometimes killed by flame throwers, which is a horrible weapon. Some drunken Irish son of a bitch prosecutor is now trying to prosecute British soldiers for shooting dead Irish terrorists. No mention is ever made of the horrible murders of Britishers by the IRA, or the way the IRA have now been given immunity from prosecution. At least the Daily Mail seems to be on the case.

The trouble seems to be that the officers who command these soldiers seem to be out of touch with the coal face, and they are mostly public school twits. They will be asking soldiers next to go into battles with Isis and Al-Qaeda groups disarmed in case they kill anybody.
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Old 29th December 2016, 06:10 PM   #33
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
(As an aside, it pains me physically to read the made-up word / Americanism "inculpatory" when the actual word for what we're talking about is "incriminating". Can't we speak English here?)

<snip>

Are you sure about this.

All the references I can find suggest that it is based on the Late Latin verb "inculpare", and without looking too hard I found at least one example of its use in a mid-19th century Scottish periodical.
Quote:
Would the strain of inculpatory observations that we have been making, have answered their purpose?
Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 62, No. 382, October 1847
Perhaps it is among those words that have fallen out of usage in the modern U.K., but still persists here in the U.S..

It certainly doesn't seem to qualify either as a made-up word (at least not in the recent few centuries) or as an Americanism.
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Old 30th December 2016, 02:13 AM   #34
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Well maybe so. It still reads like nails on a blackboard to me. Normal usage all my life has been "incriminating".
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Old 30th December 2016, 03:20 AM   #35
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Originally Posted by quadraginta View Post
It certainly doesn't seem to qualify either as a made-up word
All words are made up.
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Old 30th December 2016, 03:31 AM   #36
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There is an interesting miscarriage of justice case now being featured on RT TV for some reason, from Baltimore in America in 1984:

Quote:
Guilty plea closes '84 case of Rosedale girl's murder
Life sentence imposed on Ruffner
innocent man spent 9 years in prison
May 21, 2004|By Stephanie Hanes | Stephanie Hanes,SUN STAFF
Nearly 20 years after a little girl's beaten body was found in a wooded area of Rosedale, and 19 years after an innocent man was sentenced to death for that killing, the Dawn Hamilton murder case ended yesterday when her true killer pleaded guilty in a Baltimore County courtroom.

Kimberly Shay Ruffner, a former East Baltimore man with a history of sexual attacks, acknowledged that he alone had sexually assaulted and murdered the 9-year-old girl in 1984. He was sentenced to life in prison; he is already serving time for an unrelated assault.

Ruffner said little when he had his chance to speak in court. He made no mention of the Hamilton girl. And he did not speak of Kirk Bloodsworth, who spent nine years in prison for the murder before he was exonerated by DNA evidence - the same evidence that later led authorities to Ruffner.
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Old 30th December 2016, 04:12 AM   #37
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
...
You know, I didn't really pick up about the change in 2011 being so fundamental. I thought it was more to do with disclosure than actual evidence collecting. .....
I agree it should have been made clearer. The Code of Practice comes from Part 6 of CJ&LSA 2010 and the section on disclosure. But it further reaching than just enhanced requirements on the police to disclose pretty much everything they have.

Part B of the Code of Practice makes it clear that not only do the police have to disclose exculpatory evidence, they also have to look for it. Part C puts the same requirement into the Crown Office.

I suppose the point is to make sure that the police do not try and circumvent disclosure by not bothering to investigate in the first place.
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Old 30th December 2016, 07:26 AM   #38
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Originally Posted by Matthew Best View Post
All words are made up.

Yes, Matthew. Of course they are.

Congratulations. You have now won 0.000000000001 Internet Points.
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Old 30th December 2016, 08:10 AM   #39
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Originally Posted by Garrison View Post
And with that comment any shred of credibility goes out of the window. The case has nothing to do with wishy-washy liberals, its about making it clear that we expect certain rules to be followed by our armed force as well as everyone else's. And the notion that no mention is ever made of British soldiers who were killed just shows your research skills are as poor as ever.
I agree that it looks to me as though British soldiers in Iraq went too far in beating up to death some Iraqi cook who they were holding prisoner who subsequently died of his injuries. It's just that journalists and public school twit Army officers and lawyers need to toughen up when it comes to battlefield activities. Soldiers are trained to kill, and particularly Marines and Parachute troops, though I agree the rule of military law with regard to prisoners should not be violated.

There was a case in northern France in the second world war where a British soldier carrying some phosphorous grenades had them prematurely explode on his body. He then begged a fellow soldier to put him out of his misery which this fellow soldier promptly did. That fellow soldier was never prosecuted or imprisoned for that.
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Old 30th December 2016, 09:28 AM   #40
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
......
It makes you wonder about the mind-set of the people who will deliberately hide or withhold what is clearly exculpatory material. Do they realise they are potentially setting up innocent people to be convicted, or is it all just a game to them?

......
It is partly cultural, getting a detection was what it was all about. It is partly making targets, which come and go, but are always hovering about in the background. Now, it is not understanding that a major effort has been made to reduce the number of miscarriages of justice.

I think the problem is a lack of education of police officers, particularly senior ones, about this major change in the law. I put in a FOI request to Police Scotland about references to exculpatory evidence. The response showed training material for probationers had lots, but otherwise there was very little. Oddly, a SOP about Disclosure which included much of the wording from the S164 Code of Practice has disappeared from the Police Scotland website. But the Health & Safety Executive have a detailed page in their website which goes into their duty to investigate all lines of enquiry in detail;

http://www.hse.gov.uk/enforce/enforc...roceedings.htm
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