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News Round-Up Week Ending 26.9.14

(Posted on 29/09/14)


Undercover Police Officer Causes Miscarriage of Justice

The CPS has finally admitted that the past conviction of an environmental campaigner had to be quashed because one of his co-defendants gave evidence on oath under a false identity.

The admission came on Wednesday after the campaigner, the Guardian, BBC’s Newsnight and the Press Association demanded an explanation for the overturning of the conviction.

An official inquiry has already identified 56 campaigners similarly wrongly convicted.

Richard Whittam QC told judge Alistair McCreath: “Had the Crown Prosecution Service known that ‘Jim Sutton’ was an undercover police officer, there is a strong likelihood that John Jordan would not have been prosecuted.” 

MoJ Tweet Has Lawyers Spitting Feathers

Last week the High Court called the Ministry of Justice’s consultation process for cutting legal aid so unfair, it was illegal.

The MoJ responded via Twitter:

“JR not wholly successful. Challenge to fee cut failed. Judgment raises some technical issues on consultation process which we're considering”

This blunt and bland response had eminent lawyers fuming.

“This might be funny if these were not the people running our justice system,” said Dinah Rose QC.

Barrister Tom Wainwright concurred: “Unfairness and illegality are not 'technical issues'. That tweet sums up everything wrong with the current MoJ.”

Scots Convicted of Arson Murders Lose Appeal 

Scott Snowden and Robert Jennings have had appeals against their convictions rejected by the Court of Criminal Appeal in Edinburgh.

The pair, jailed for killing three members of the Starkey family in Helensburgh in 2011, claimed that the trial had not been balanced.

Lord Carloway concluded: “The court is entirely satisfied that the judge achieved the appropriate balance."