It was announced yesterday that Sarah Munro KC, a senior circuit judge, has been appointed to chair the inquiry into Andrew Malkinson’s wrongful conviction. In commenting on this announcement, Malkinson has said that whilst he welcomes the appointment, he has ‘no confidence that those involved, including the police officers who wrecked my life, will cough up the truth unless forced to do so.’
Justice Secretary, Alex Chalk, yesterday announced the terms of reference for the non-statutory inquiry, characterising the wrongful conviction as ‘an atrocious miscarriage of justice’. The investigation will examine how the case was handled by the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC), the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), and the Greater Manchester Police (GMP).
Despite ‘no forensic matter’ connecting him to the incident, Mr Malkinson was convicted of attacking and raping a woman in Salford in 2003. He was sentenced to 17 years in jail with an additional three years of probationary supervision. In July 2023, the Court of Appeal declared the conviction to be ‘unsafe’ after discovering that the most recent DNA evidence—obtained from the victim’s skin, clothes, and fingernails—did not match Mr Malkinson but could be linked to another man.
Mr Malkinson hopes that lessons will be learned from his experiences to improve the criminal justice system and has expressed his desire to see ‘serious, profound changes in our justice system coming out of this. My case shows that the police cannot be trusted to investigate impartially or act as faithful gatekeepers to the evidence.’
In a statement issued after her appointment, Judge Munro said Mr Malkinson ‘deserves the truth’ and was determined for the inquiry to be ‘fearless and robust’. There is an expectation which the Lord Chancellor has endorsed that the associated agencies will be ‘fully co-operative and transparent’.
Mr Malkinson has been highly critical of the miscarriage of justice review body who failed to refer his case back to the Court of Appeal on the first two occasions when he applied for a review of his case. He stated: ‘The CCRC’s failure to investigate properly cost me an extra decade wrongly behind bars and I can’t understand why she [the CCRC’s chair] won’t say sorry.’
The CCRC have stated that they fully commit to supporting Judge Munro’s cross-organisational inquiry: ‘It is right that this is a thorough inquiry looking across the criminal justice system, and we will do everything we can to help HHJ Munro KC review our investigations into the case.’