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Inside Justice Established

By Louise Shorter on

Inside Justice Established

From Inside Time March 2011

More than 90 readers of Inside Time have written to Inside Justice in the past six months since this unit was set up by Inside Time to investigate alleged miscarriages of justice. The idea came from a realisation that, when the BBC axed their campaigning documentary series Rough Justice in 2007, it cut a long-standing association between the media and miscarriage cases. What started with World in Action, back in 1963, spawned a whole genre of investigative work, which led directly to innocent people being freed and, through the power of the media, a public spotlight being trained on the criminal justice system.

I worked as a Producer and Director on Rough Justice for 10 years. The last programme I made about two Milton Keynes men, Barri White and Keith Hyatt, led to their convictions in a murder case being quashed. Unusually for miscarriage cases the police then re-opened their investigation resulting in new suspects being arrested late last year. Another programme I made in this field was about John Kamara and his struggle, on release, to cope in a world he no longer knew, after serving 20 years for a murder he did not commit. The programme received the highest number of viewers in its time slot on BBC Two for the entire year, so we know these programmes matter and crucially that the public wants to see them. What has changed is that broadcasters and newspaper editors are no longer prepared to invest time and money in training staff and researching the cases; after all investigations can all too easily lead nowhere: no new evidence, no story, no programme.

Charitable funding from the Esmee Fairburn Foundation and the Michael Newsum Charitable Trust has allowed Inside Justice to be set up as a not-for-profit unit to continue this work. We will endeavour to investigate individual cases and, if appropriate, gain a wider public audience flexibly across the media, whether that is in print, on television or online. We are also working on an academic study using real cases which will examine whether DNA evidence really is the barcode indicator of guilt that juries understand it to be, and test whether DNA evidence is being interpreted properly and uniformly by experts.

I will be writing a regular column for Inside Time now about the work we are doing and, each month, will highlight a case or an issue. If you would like to be considered please write, where possible via your solicitor, to: Louise Shorter, Inside Justice, PO Box 251, Hedge End, Hampshire. SO30 4XJ.

Inside Justice is supported by an Advisory Panel of experts:

Louise Shorter Manager, Inside Justice Unit and Board of Directors, Inside Time.

Campbell Malone referred in Legal 500 as “‘undoubtedly the elder statesman of criminal appeals,’ Campbell is the Chair of the Criminal Appeal Lawyer’s Association

Correna Platt, partner and head of the appeals team at Stephensons Solicitors LLP

Dr Peter Bull, University of Oxford

Simon Ford, television Executive Producer

Dr Ruth Morgan, Head of the Jill Dando Institute of Forensic Science

Tracy Alexander, Independent Forensic Consultant 

Eric McGraw, Editor Inside Time