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News Round-Up Week Ending 30.1.15

(Posted on 30/01/15)


Jury Foreman: ‘Serial Killer’ is Innocent.

Paul Moffitt, foreman of the 2008 jury that found Colin Norris guilty of the murder of four elderly women, has come forward to ask that the conviction be overturned.

“I’d like to see Colin Norris freed. If this case was presented with this new evidence today, I don’t even know how it could possibly get to court in the first place,” Mr Moffitt said after seeing the BBC Panorama investigation made together with Inside Justice.  â€œThe evidence shows that a murder wasn’t committed at all, never mind four or one attempted murder.”

Mr Moffitt is the second juror to express concerns about the verdict. Jurors are discouraged from identifying themselves and talking to the media after a trial, but not forbidden from doing so, unless they disclose ‘statements made, opinions expressed, arguments advanced or votes cast by members of a jury’.

A spokesman for the Criminal Cases Review Commission told the BBC: “The commission is actively reviewing the case.”

MoJ Loses Inquest Details in the Post

Two discs containing highly sensitive information concerning the fatal police shootings of Mark Duggan in 2011 and Azelle Rodney in 2005, as well the beating to death of Robert Hamill in Northern Ireland in 1997, have gone 'missing in the post'.

The Ministry of Justice has admitted the discs disappeared three weeks ago. A member of staff has since been suspended.

"The government takes information security extremely seriously, and this incident is a breach of the arrangements that should be in place," an official statement reads. "At this stage there is no evidence to indicate that the information loss arose from malicious intent."

Justice Minister: Halve Number of Women in Prison

The Justice Minister has said half the women incarcerated in British jails shouldn’t be there at all.

Speaking on BBC Radio 5, Simon Hughes said many female offenders are themselves victims of crimes and merit different treatment from male offenders.
Whilst some women commit serious crimes and deserve to be “locked up for a very long time”, a large proportion of female prisoners in the UK do not pose a danger to society.

The Government is expected to announce an extension of a Manchester pilot scheme for female offenders to six other English districts.

MoJ Bids for Saudi Prison Contract 

The Ministry of Justice is planning to sell its expertise to Saudi Arabia through Just Solutions international (JSi), a new commercial arm.

JSi also has plans to set up a probation service in Macedonia, and a new 

 â€œAmnesty has serious concerns about Saudi Arabia’s justice system, given its use of the death penalty, the prevalence of torture in detention, and its use of cruel and degrading punishment,” said Allan Hogarth, Amnesty’s UK head of policy and government affairs. “So we need to know – how is the MoJ’s scheme going to help improve the situation?”

A spokesman for JSi said full details of the contract, including human rights safeguards, will be made public if the bid is successful.


A system that recreates crime scenes as 3D virtual worlds has been developed in Switzerland, combining forensic room scans, CCTV footage and autopsy data, which can be displayed and explored using an immersive headset, such as Facebook’s Oculus Rift.

The creators hope the system will eventually be used to help judges and juries.