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(Posted on 18/01/18)


Conviction quashed after internet search finds DS corrupt:

Surrey businessman Stephen Simmons was 19 when he was convicted of the theft of mailbags from Clapham Goods Yard in 1976.
Always maintaining his innocence, he served eight months in a youth detention centre and was then sent to Borstal.
On legal advice from a LBC radio phone-in five years ago, Mr Simmons searched the internet for his arresting officer and discovered Detective Sergeant Derek Ridgewell had himself been jailed for a similar offence just two years after his own conviction, and died in prison in 1982.
The Criminal Cases Review Commission referred the case back to the Appeal Court last year, and Mr Simmons’ conviction has now been overturned.
“We would wish only to note our regret that it has taken so long for this injustice to be remedied,” declared Lord Chief Justice Lord Burnett.
"It has only taken 43 years, but I have got there at last,” replied Mr Simmons (pictured with his family).

“Rape trials collapse show system is working”

The Director of Public Prosecutions has told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that no-one is wrongly in jail due to failure to disclose evidence, "as far as she can tell".
Several recent rape trials have collapsed after vital evidence was not shared with defence lawyers.
Alison Saunders claimed it showed the justice system was working, demonstrating that "safeguards in place" in the trial process prevent wrongful imprisonment.
"The ever-increasing use of social media, all the digital material we obtain," can create a problem, she explained, and that although police had to "pursue all reasonable lines of inquiry," it was unreasonable to expect them to explore "every single avenue" of someone’s life.
Conservative MP Anna Soubry tweeted that she feared Ms Saunders was "part of the problem".

"Miscarriages of justice inevitable" from forensic standards.

In her annual report, the Forensic Science Regulator has said UK police forces are failing to meet standards, with routine outsourcing of greatest concern. 

Gillian Tully said some commercial forensic agencies used by police are not meeting quality standards.

She told the Guardian that, without urgent action, there would inevitably be miscarriages of justice, including cases involving murder, rape and child abuse.

"If you're not finding indecent images of children on someone's phone when you should be, that's a miscarriage of justice as much as if someone was wrongly convicted of a crime."

"We are committed to putting the Forensic Science Regulator on a statutory footing with robust enforcement powers at the earliest opportunity," a Home Office spokesperson responded. "We are clear that organisations providing forensic services to the criminal justice system need to abide by the regulator's code of practice."