WE ARE A MAGAZINE ABOUT LAW AND JUSTICE | AND THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE TWO
February 20 2024
WE ARE A MAGAZINE ABOUT LAW AND JUSTICE | AND THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE TWO
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Andrew Malkinson calls out shameful lack of compensation for victims of miscarriages of justice

Andrew Malkinson calls out shameful lack of compensation for victims of miscarriages of justice

Andrew Malkinson has spoken out against the shameful lack of adequate compensation arrangements for the victims of miscarriages of justice this morning when he took over the editorship of the BBC Radio’s Today program.

Listen back to #R4Today‘s guest edit with Andrew Malkinson, who spent 17 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit.

Malkinson served 17 years in prison for a crime that he did not commit before having his conviction quashed over the summer. He was invited to take over the reins of the BBC flagship current affairs program – other Christmas guest editors having included Prince Harry, Greta Thunberg and Stephen Hawking. He chose to shine a spotlight on the psychological impact of wrongful conviction, as well as his love of astronomy.

He highlighted the plight of Michael O’Brien, who went on hunger strike over the Christmas period. O’Brien spent a decade in prison after he was one of three men wrongly convicted of killing Cardiff newsagent, Philip Saunders. He reckons that he lost more than £37,000 pounds deducted from his compensation to cover ‘board and lodging’. ‘It’s terrible – he cleared his name and been compensation and the government took a chunk out. I don’t think it’s fair,’ Malkinson said.

His calls were backed by the legal charity APPEAL who represented him and secured his conviction. The group described that test for compensation as ‘brutal’ and one that ‘reversed’ the burden of proof where victims are being denied compensation because ‘they have to prove their innocence beyond all reasonable doubt’. ‘Less than 4% of applicants have been granted compensation. The vast majority are left without justice,’ commented Matt Foot, co-director of APPEAL.

‘The current regime for seeking compensation for wrongful conviction and accountability from those responsible leaves Andy in limbo while the legal issues are resolved,’ commented his solicitor and APPEAL founder Emily Bolton. ‘There is no immediate or automatic payment under the statutory compensation scheme, and in the meantime, he is living on benefits and the kindness of strangers.’

Toby Wilton, a solicitor at Hickman & Rose solicitors representing Mr Malkinson in his claims for compensation, explained that  ‘just to get onto the statutory compensation scheme, Andy will have to prove his innocence all over again’. ‘If he is accepted onto the scheme and is granted an interim payment (not guaranteed under the current rules), he would lose the legal aid he needs to pursue his civil claim against those responsible. Worse still, since 2008, compensation under the statutory scheme in cases like his has been capped at £1million. £1m in 2008 is £1.75m today. Although the statute allows the Lord Chancellor to increase this cap, this has never been done.’