January 21 2022

Investigative competence: the CCRC and innocence projects

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Investigative competence: the CCRC and innocence projects


micro 3jpegUntil we read the recent remarks by Richard Foster, chair of the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC, or the Commission for short), published in the Justice Gap, members and directors of innocence projects and other similar projects based in UK universities (IPs) thought they were developing a good relationship with the CCRC. (In answer to a question about the value of university innocence work, he said: ‘If you think that you have a terminal illness, would you rather have your case considered by medical students in the bar on Friday night – or would you rather send it to a consultant oncologist?)

After all, most of our work leads to the submission of applications to the Commission on behalf of our clients, so it’s in our interest to co-operate and be on good terms with its staff.

However, with throwaway remarks comparing CCRC staff to consultant doctors and members of IPs to drunken students, Richard Foster has decided to characterise IPs and their members as less competent than the CCRC’s ‘highly skilled, qualified and experienced workforce’, backed by an annual budget of over £5 million and ‘far reaching statutory powers to obtain casework material’. On that basis he advises IPs in somewhat condescending tones to limit our work to reviews of defence files and clarifying what our clients appear to be telling us.

Predictably angry responses from those of us who work in IPs has led Foster to restate his position in more tactful terms.

He reminds us of what we know only too well, that the CCRC has the power to obtain material which is essential to support a successful referral to the Court of Appeal, Criminal Division (CACD) – material which IP members can lay their hands on only as a result of a struggle, if at all. For that reason, IPs should leave full case reviews to the CCRC. He repeats the advice given by David Robinson, a case review manager from the CCRC, to the conference hosted by Sheffield University School of Law in 2013, that IPs should mainly interpret and put in order clients’ ‘muddled and confused accounts’. We may also develop alternative case theories and offer ‘concise, informed and insightful submissions to the Commission.’

In disagreement with this proposition that IPs should play no more than a supportive role of this kind, I will explain why innocence projects are unlikely to restrict themselves to a simple review of defence files and a visit to a prisoner, and would indeed be wrong to accept such a restriction, despite the fact that the culmination of our work on a case must normally be an application on behalf of the client to the CCRC.

Possibilities open to IPs
David Robinson advised IPs to do what ‘a good legal representative’ might do. IPs may not have much money, but they do have resources and opportunities which enable them to support clients’ applications to a far greater extent than most legal advisers. They have far more person hours available than any law firm struggling to survive on the limited funds available to assist clients dependent on legal aid.

They are able to take advantage of being embedded in academic institutions whose facilities we use and whose staff we can consult. They can often obtain help from the same experts that the CCRC might use, who are willing to work with us pro bono, and draw on advice from highly experienced solicitors and counsel who are also willing to advise pro bono.

They carry out objective reviews of cases, being no more participants in an adversarial system than the CCRC is.

black & red microsDavid Robinson advised IPs to ‘be realistic about what you are going to be able to actually do on a case – in most cases it is going to be impossible for you to get your hands on the kind of undisclosed material that we rely on so often in order to find reasons to refer cases. In our experience, the non-disclosure of material that might have assisted the defence or undermined the prosecution case is the single largest cause of wrongful convictions but it is also, without any doubt, one of the most difficult areas to investigate.’

IPs are very well aware that our main task is to work out what important material has been withheld from the defence and then to obtain it. For us, persuading the CCRC to actually make use of its section 17 powers is a last resort. We can make better submissions to the Commission if we have already seen the material we need and integrated it into our submissions.

The UKSC decision in the Nunn case provides support for our requests for undisclosed material.

‘Miscarriages of justice may occur, however full the disclosure at trial and however careful the trial process. A convicted defendant clearly has a legitimate interest, if continuing to assert his innocence, to such proper help as he can persuade others to give him… Quite apart from the defendant’s interest, the public interest is in such miscarriages, if they occur, being corrected. There is no doubt that there have been conspicuous examples of apparently secure convictions which have been demonstrated to be erroneous through the efforts of investigative journalists, or of solicitors acting on behalf of convicted persons or, sometimes, of other concerned persons (para 36).’

The police and prosecutors ought to exercise sensible judgment when representations are made on behalf of convicted persons. If there appears to be a real prospect that further enquiry will uncover something which may affect the safety of the conviction, then there should be co-operation in making it. It is in nobody’s interests to resist all enquiry unless and until the CCRC directs it (para 41).

This judgment follows the House of Lords in ex parte Simms and ex parte O’Brien (1999), which overturned refusals by prison staff to permit journalists to interview prisoners. Lord Steyn’s view was:

‘It has been demonstrated on the hearing of the present appeals that in recent years a substantial number of miscarriages of justice have only been identified and corrected as a result of painstaking investigation by journalists… [The prisoners] seek to enlist the investigative services of journalists as a way to gaining access to justice by way of the reference of their cases to the Court of Appeal.’

The reasons given for the need for the contributions made by journalists were given by the very experienced and successful defence and criminal appeal lawyer Gareth Pierce, quoted approvingly by Lord Steyn in his speech. They include the following:

There is no legal aid for investigations (except in very limited and exceptional circumstances). Although the CCRC was expected to be able to conduct investigations into cases far more pro-actively than the Home Office had been able, it finds itself seriously under resourced and underfunded. The report of its Chairman this year to the House of Commons Home Affairs Committee spoke of incoming cases being required to wait at least two years before they can be assigned to a case worker. The cases with the best opportunity remain those which have arrived at the Commission fully researched and investigated with new evidence compellingly presented (emphasis added).

The Commission may regard this view expressed 17 years ago as no longer valid, but the same view was held by Nunn’s legal team in 2014 ‘that in order to demonstrate to the CCRC that this is a proper case in which it should launch a review, the claimant needs, via his solicitors, to re-investigate the several matters which they have identified and perhaps more’. The UKSC did not dispute the usefulness of thorough investigation by representatives and others preceding the making of an application to the CCRC and designed to persuade the CCRC to conduct a thorough review of the issues raised by the applicant and of the case in general.

The need to persuade the CCRC
Why would lawyers, journalists and, in turn, organisations such as Innocent which support and advise prisoners who claim to have been wrongly convicted and their families and personal supporters, and subsequently IPs, take the view that it is necessary to persuade the CCRC to conduct thorough reviews of cases by seeking fresh evidence themselves before compiling applications?

One reason is that applicants are advised in clear terms that they cannot apply to the CCRC unless they have fresh evidence. The application form states:

‘For us to send your case to the appeal court we usually have to show them something new and important which will make them think in a different way about your case. It normally needs to be something that has not been heard by a court before. We will be unable to help you if you only repeat the same points that were made at your trial or appeal.’

On the basis of this and the appellate and administrative court decisions (ex parte Pearson in particular) lawyers routinely advise potential applicants that they must have fresh evidence before they can apply to the CCRC.

Potential applicants who have no idea of what significant undisclosed evidence might exist are likely to give up at this stage. Those who do persist are likely to seek further investigation of issues already considered at their trials. They do so because they believe that these issues were never previously investigated fully.

For example, in two cases reviewed by the MJRC, a key issue for the applicants was that illegitimate pressure and coaching by the police had caused prosecution witnesses to change their evidence. There was evidence available at the trials to show significant additions had been made in the course of making witness statements separated by a long period. Witnesses had no doubt been cross examined on any inconsistencies between previous statements and their oral testimony, but clients had information giving them reasons to allege impropriety on the part of the police, which had not been considered by their defence teams.

These cases had been previously investigated by the CCRC, and clearly the Commission could have interviewed the witnesses concerned, and obtained police interview notes and other records. But the applicants did not know what to ask the Commission to do, and the applications were dismissed without any investigations being carried out. The MJRC now has the task of finding additional material which we can use to persuade the CCRC to do what we think they should ahve done in the first place.

We understand that the Commission does not wish to waste resources investigating cases that have no hope of success. But we are asked to investigate cases like the two mentioned above, and when we find out precisely what clients are trying to say, we are also able to find that there is enough substance in their claims to warrant interviewing the witnesses. It would clearly be pointless to refer these cases on the issues already considered by the Commission and rejected as apparently exhausted in the trial or appeal processes, without finding significant fresh evidence which supports our clients’ claims.

It is significant that in these and other cases which are under review by innocence projects, applications have been made to and refused by the CCRC. The cases of six individuals in which applications have been previously refused by the CCRC are or have been under review by the Sheffield Miscarriages of Justice Review Centre (MJRC), and in each of these actual or at least strong indications of the existence of fresh, including previously undisclosed, evidence have been found. In that respect, the MJRC may succeed where the CCRC has failed.

Criticisms of the CCRC
In 2012 I agreed to present the views of various campaigning and support organisations at a meeting organised by the Innocence Network UK (INUK) to review critically the work of the CCRC. These organisations made a number of allegations against the Commission arising from the experiences of their members.

South Wales Against Wrongful Convictions stated that:

‘[The CCRC] reject about 90% of applications very quickly because they don’t raise anything new – this creates the situation where much of the investigation has to be done by the applicant or their representatives if they are fortunate to have any. The CCRC do not investigate unless a good chunk of the work is already done for them.’

The universal view of these grass roots organisations was, as I reported to the conference:

‘The CCRC is left with the easy option of doing no more than desk top reviews, processing cases quickly, and as a result giving the appearance of being an efficient organisation. Rarely will a case review manager work proactively on a case, looking for leads and fresh evidence that could substantiate an applicant’s claims (as former commissioner Laurie Elks [who spoke at the same conference] confirmed this morning). On one occasion, asked to interview a police officer, the case review manager refused because he predicted the officer would lie to him!’

The grass roots organisations called for reviews that are proactive and for more and better training of CCRC staff, and for additional state funding that would enable the CCRC to provide a better service.

IPs and support organisations are not the only critics of the CCRC. Bob Woffinden, citing the cases of Andy Malkinson and Jong Rhee, commented ‘If the CCRC is not referring these, then it is simply not fulfilling the role that the public expect of it. It has rejected not only these two, but hundreds of other wrongful convictions.’

Recently Eric Allison wrote in the Guardian, ‘On paper, the CCRC provides a safety net for the wrongly convicted. But it has disappointed those who hoped the CCRC would deal swiftly and surely with miscarriages of justice. The quango is under-resourced and seemingly unable to carry out the in-depth investigations required when prosecutions are questioned.’

The criticisms listed above concern mainly the CCRC’s failure to review, or to review adequately. To them we can add examples of bad practice by the CCRC when it does carry out in depth investigations.

micro 3jpegThe case of Susan May was referred by the CCRC to the appeal court which handed down its judgement in December 2001. The CCRC continued to work on the case, in which the only significant evidence consists of three marks on the wall adjacent to the victim’s bed, said to be made at the time of the murder, to be fingerprint marks identified as May’s, and to consist of the victim’s blood. Unfortunately the CCRC concerned itself with seeking possible innocent explanations for why the marks might have been deposited at or after the time of the murder. Working with an independent fingerprint expert and following a careful review of defence files, corresponding with the defence expert at trial, and obtaining significant previously undisclosed material, the Sheffield Innocence Project (subsequently MJRC) was able to show that the apparently incriminating marks were in fact old and predated the murder, and that the court which tried May had been misled on this issue.

In another murder case reviewed by the MJRC, a witness had come forward whose evidence was read at the trial, because she had not attended the court. Our client’s solicitor passed her fresh evidence to the CCRC, who instructed the original investigating police force to re-interview the witness. This was an inappropriate way of approaching the witness, who refused to co-operate. The MJRC was left to deal with this problem.

And in yet another murder case, the MJRC’s client’s defence was that it was not he but another man who was responsible, whom he named. This client had also made a previous application to the CCRC, who discovered that the firm of solicitors instructed by him were at the same time acting for the man alleged to be the actual culprit. But the CCRC accepted the solicitors’ assurance that our client’s interest had not suffered despite what appears to be a blatant conflict of interest likely to have affected the preparation of the case for trial.

Since the MJRC can find no fresh evidence relating to this issue, we can only assume that the CCRC will refuse to entertain a further application on it. The MJRC is proactively investigating other issues in this case neglected by the CCRC in its previous largely reactive review of it.

The experiences of innocence projects, lawyers, journalists and prisoner and family support organisations have caused them to choose the difficult task of investigating cases as far as they possibly can before submitting applications to the CCRC, rather than simply assisting applicants to express themselves more clearly.

Richard Foster repeats the criticism of IPs that they process cases too slowly. All IP directors agree that they should speed up their review processes, and are developing systems to improve efficiency. But delays are inherent in any criminal case investigation and review process, for many reasons, as CCRC staff must know from their own experience.

Bob Woffinden added, a further criticism of the CCRC, which is that, ‘even when it reaches correct decisions, it takes an eternity to do so. Eddie Gilfoyle was wrongly convicted in July 1993 and his case has attracted intermittent publicity ever since. Merely the most recent cycle of publicity about his wrongful conviction can be traced back to February 2008, when The Times published a major article. More than seven years later, the CCRC has still not pronounced upon the case (see the Justice Gap here).

Both he and Eric Allison, journalists who have long experience of investigating miscarriage of justice cases, observe that the CCRC itself is responsible for delays in reaching decisions on cases. In one MJRC case (Susan May), the CCRC was already actively renewing the case when we sent the Commission an expert report we had commissioned and which we believed proved our client’s innocence. The CCRC did not pause, but immediately appointed its own expert to check up on ours. The CCRC’s expert agreed with ours. That was more than a year ago. We are still waiting to hear their decision. It might improve the CCRC’s efficiency and reduce expenditure if they could simply accept such expert reports, once they had satisfied themselves that the expert concerned was a genuine expert, and truly independent. After all, experts working pro bono are not doing so in expectation of further paid commissions from unfunded orgnisations.

Innocence projects are not claiming to be in some general way more competent than the CCRC. They admit to many mistakes and face difficulties in providing the service to clients that they wish to provide. They also know that the CCRC can work to a very high standard, that they must collaborate with the CCRC and have a good and mutually supportive relationship. Recent contact with the CCRC has been (Richard Foster’s recent comments excepted) very positive. The efficiency of case reviews has clearly improved greatly under Richard Foster’s stewardship, despite the reductions in funding. IPs would ignore past mistakes by the CCRC if it were prepared to ignore theirs, concentrate on future improvements, and treat them with respect rather than condescension.

19 responses to “Investigative competence: the CCRC and innocence projects”

  1. Dr Green

    I take back my own criticisms where I was in support of the CCRC given this more detailed complaint that you have set out above. I also recently learned that the Sheffield Innocent Project has relaxed its own almost impossibly high criteria for miscarriage of justice and is now the MJRC. I had come to relate the Government’s current obstacle of demanding that victims of valid miscarriages of justice cases must prove themselves to be demonstrably innocent to be a policy stolen from the Innocent Projects which first introduced this almost impossible standard. That was the standard expected from me by the Innocent Project and reason why it would never support my attempts to clear my name; which the government has now also been using against me.

  2. Wullie Beck says:

    Susan May always said her defence was defective.
    Why have no representation ever been put forward to CCRC claiming she was not properly represented.
    She told me she had a family Lawyer not experienced in Criminal work who told her she did not need to consult any fingerprint experts because she would not be found guilty.
    It seems to me they should have asked for the fingerprint evidence to be tossed out as it did not reach the required 16 points of similarity.
    Lawyers seem exempt from your criticisms.

  3. george Skelly says:

    Apropos the points regarding the CCRC making its own investigations. I am not a solicitor, barrister or investigative journalist but simply an author. However, when, after 12 years research, I applied in 2008 to the CCRC on behalf of two men hanged in 1952, I submitted eleven bundles of new argument and previously undisclosed evidence. Despite this however, in its Provisional Statement Of Reasons it rejected the application – mainly on the grounds that I could not prove that the evidence had been suppressed (how do you prove a negative?). And that even if it had been so, there was no provision in subsequent Criminal Justice legislation or Case law to allow either the CCRC or the Court of Appeal to reprospectively consider it – an argument I unsuccessfully challenged. Following this, I discovered and interviewed a crucial witness, who had not appeared at the original trial – because of , she stated, police pressure and bibery by a senior detective who has since been condemned by the Court of Appeal in relation to another murder case in 1951. Her eveidence would have provided cast iron support for the mens alibi that they were 30 miles away when the murder was committed. The CCRC however ridiculed this woman’s affidavit, first saying she was too old to remember and then contradictorily stating she had not provided more details. The CCRC, in a Final Statement or Reasons then rejected my application. If they were not convinced of her truthfulness or my motives, why did they not exercise Section 17 and interview her independently before rejecting my application? Also, in the case of the senior investigating detective’s record – who had in 2003 been condemned by the Court of Appeal for perjury and suborning witnesses in the previous case in which a man was also wrongly hanged – why did the CCRC not accept evidence of “System”, which previous trial judges have done since the “Brides In The Bath” murder trial? Finally, the CCRC wrongly asserted that the August Bank Holiday in 1951 was at the end of the month. It was in fact at the beginning of the month, a fact verified by the BBC. This issue was of crucial importance at the trial. Yet, following the final Statement of Reasons, I was not given any further opportunity to argue the point.

  4. Here is a link to a very good article on the type of issues you raise; all too often defense lawyers get away with the consequences of their incompetence.

  5. Wullie Beck says:

    As with the SCCRC you are permitted to lodge as many applications as you want to.

    I am living proof because I submitted 6 applications to CCRC before they eventually referred my case back to appeal court.

    I must say though I was helped enormously with the 6th application by Dr Naughton and his students at Bristol University.

    I have no doubt that without their help SCCRC would have rejected my 6th application.

    Get another application into them.

    SCCRC told me they could not find witnesses who I later found in the phone book.

    Why is it when you present the SCCRC and CCRC with independent expert opinions, they instruct another expert to argue against them.

    It is high time Innocent Projects started to challenge the SCCRC and CCRC like Dr Naughton has done for years.

    They act like extensions of Crown Office and Crown Prosecution Services rather than the organisations they were set up for, to review claims of Innocence.

    In Scotland we even see Crown Office workers seconded to CCRC.

    Is this in any way shape or form independent ?

    You are up against an organisation taking a wage from the same justice directorate as crown office etc.

  6. Wullie Beck says:

    Here is the people that represented and supported Susan May for decades Dr Green


    Watch the video.

    Sweaty fingerprint not Bloody.

  7. AmeliNixon says:

    I have had three years of trying to obtain justice. I have had the legal ombudsman refuse to re-visit my case, they had lost files and had taken insufficient information and apologised and I have this is writing though they deny this now and it seems that out of a sense of pique the Ombudsman can decide to bar me from any justice. The SRA have identified many instances where my case belongs with the legal ombudsman. So, hoping for a speedy resolution in my case through the Ombudsman has now turned into a full blown court case. Legal Aid have not followed through on serious use of their funds and again mismanaged personal files by the solicitor which relates not only to me but a man in prison who’s details were sent to me when they should have been sent to legal aid. They have nothing to say on this it seems or if they do deem me too unimportant to bother informing me.
    The National Archive who allowed personal damaging information to be placed in the public domain, but they can provide reasons and excuses as to why this is so which does not help me at all in suffering the embarrassment of being used by the archive as some sort of object to be gawked at by the curious and ridiculed, my grandchildren perhaps to know what I had kept hidden so as not to damage them and myself in their eyes. But that’s ok because the National Archive ‘didn’t mean to’. The information they have allowed into the public domain contains information, damaging and personal, belonging to other people, they are in the same situation but are not aware of the damage being done to their lives through the actions of National Archives mismanagement. The ICO do not mind either. A solicitor who should not be allowed anywhere near damaged children and adults continues to tout for business. I have yet to see justice in this part of my case either.
    Don’t talk to me about justice, it simply just does not exist

  8. Helga says:

    Thanks for this very interesting article Andrew.

    I know of prison inmates and/or their supporters sending in the paperwork they have to the CCRC and expecting them to work their way through it and investigate to find grounds with which to appeal. As we know they cannot do that. No money, and I honestly believe that some of the CRMs skim-read the submissions from other people or misunderstand what has been written.

    I’ve sent in many applications to the CCRC having worked on them myself and provided a “report” outlining the case, the concerns, case references etc only to find that the CRM has either failed to understand the points made, or they just haven’t read one. Three of the cases I have worked on have been referred back to the CA.

    I assisted with one recently where the inmate had sent in his own submissions. He then found out about the work I do and contacted me. I added to his arguments. I know after taking legal advice that there are two serious grounds of appeal plus three serious points that require further investigation. When the CRM emailed me with the “points made so far” he had failed to mention any of mine at all. It really does not bode well at all.

    I found a solicitor who instructed a barrister on legal aid to clarify my points, which they did, and added a few more of their own.

    I am the client’s nominated representative. The CRM has now decided that the solicitor must be the nominated rep, despite the fact that there is no more legal aid to pay for correspondence; I have the paperwork and am usually at the end of the phone 24/7.

    If the sol becomes the rep that means the client has to ring the sol, probably not speak with him as he is in court, prison, visiting clients etc etc whereas I can answer any queries he has and if there is anything I cannot answer, I can email the sol who will pick up the message as and when.

    If the CRM requires paperwork that means that if he insists on the sol being the rep, he will have to email to sol to request the paperwork, the sol then has to email me, I then send the paperwork to the sol (as the CRM would not accept service from me) who then sends it to the CRM. All this to-ing and fro-ing with no legal aid of course.

    The client has been arguing with the CRM for a few weeks on this point alone.

    It’s very frustrating when you know that the person you are dealing with is in prison serving a very long sentence for something that never happened in the first place.

  9. Wullie Beck says:

    Why did the defence of Susan May not ask for a blood group test or ask that the dodgy evidence be struck off.

    There never was any bloody fingerprint.

    There never was 16 points of similarity.

    The report Peter Swann produced was worse than the ones he produced for the Fingerprint Enquiry Scotland.


    Below is a copy from the fingerprint enquiry where you can see that the last photo was cropped to exclude the top part of the fingerprint because it had parts that were not similar (The Rosetta)

    The last photo was the one also used by Peter Swann for confirmation it was Shirley McKie’s

    I am saying from viewing his report in Susan May’s case used by CCRC to refuse to investigate firther the fingerprint evidence it was 10 times worse than what he produced for the Fingerprint enquiry.

    His report does nothing to resemble a fingerprint let alone Susan May’s.

    Last Photo in file:


  10. Thanks, Helga.
    The point about who the CCRC treats as a point of contact is an important one. We ask clients to sign a statement that they are instructing us to be the point of contact, if we are the organisation making submissions on their behalf. This can of course be changed later if the client needs to be represented by a solicitor.

    • Mabel moffAt says:

      Hi, how about taking a collective IPS case to ecthr under the fast track article 61, re right to full disclosure when instructed by appellant as otherwise compliance with iccpr &art5read with art6, denied meaning and effect, incl as denied access to sccrc investigation due to high threshold plus lack thereof can waste sccrc time
      Could Aldo take case to ecj. Hurry as we w

      • Mabel moffAt says:

        Continuation: could also take case to ecj re compliance with EU laws, incl requirements to protect and respect international law unde Vienna convention
        Need to hurry before this scope to Address systemic flaws is denied us via brexit

  11. Wullie,
    Please stop making assertions about Susan May’s case which misrepresent what has happened in the past and what is happening now.
    You clearly have no idea how long I corresponded with Susan and wrote articles supporting her case (it’s from 1996 until her death). I contributed to the grounds of her second appeal. My article on this, ‘Green light for police malpractice – the Susan May judgement’ (2002) can be read at https://greenanarchist.wordpress.com/2016/05/01/green-light-for-police-malpractice-the-susan-may-judgement/ .
    I have of course worked closely with Susan’s friends, and may be one of the few people to have actually watched Geoff Goodwin’s video.
    The Sheffield MJRC has carried out very extensive work on Susan’s case, contributing to the application currently under review by the CCRC. For obvious reasons we cannot share our findings, as these will remain confidential until the case is successfully appeal, and some of them could never be disclosed.
    You comment that I do not criticise lawyers. There can be few harsher critics of the legal profession than I. I published ‘Lawyers who Let You Down’, in Inside Time #24 Winter 1996 – you can read it at http://www.fitting-up.org.uk/lawyers.htm . More recently I contributed an article to a Justice Gap book, available at http://www.solicitorsjournal.com/sites/default/files/SJ%20Justice%20Gap_No%20Defence_0.pdf . However this is not relevant to the present article.
    I note that, despite the best efforts of the Bristol Innocence Project, and in particular some very clever insights by student members, your appeal following a SCCRC reference on certain technical matters unfortunately did not succeed, and you remain convicted of ‘the theft of a car … in Glasgow on 12 December 1981 and a robbery at the Safeway Supermarket in Livingston later that day, involving striking two post office workers with hammers and relieving them of bags containing some £21,000 in cash’ (full judgement available at http://www.scotcourts.gov.uk/search-judgments/judgment?id=a09e8aa6-8980-69d2-b500-ff0000d74aa7 ).

  12. Helga says:

    I am still his “rep” in writing. It’s the CRM who has made the decision on his own, knowing that the client prefers it to be me, for the reasons already outlined.

    In circumstances such as the one I wrote about, there is no further LA to pay the solicitor to correspond with the CRM or to pass messages back and forth to me – as I have the paperwork.

    Yes, I suppose I could send the paperwork to the sol but then we are back to square one – he’s not being paid and it would not be fair to merely assume he will act as an unpaid intermediary between the client and I.

    Also, as I said before, I often have to wonder exactly how much they really scrutinise the arguments and points being made. When it comes to the provisional (so therefore negative) statement of reasons it is clear they have not got a proper understanding of the case.

    One I worked on a few years back had been rejected by the CCRC. I took it on (on my own initially with no help from a legal beagle). I noticed that certain points had been completely missed. I made my “report” and then sent it to Chris Saltrese who put it into proper “legal-speak” and sent it to CCRC. The case was then referred back to CA.

    Unfortunately we lost, but that was down to the new witnesses changing their evidence while on the stand……

  13. There should be no need to persuade the C.C.R.C when the provided evidence speaks for itself.

    If they did their job right in the firs instance and investigated there would be no need to persuade them or does it come down to how much money you have to grease their palms?

  14. Wullie Beck says:

    Can you tell me why my Comments in reply to Andrew Green have been deleted ?

    It seems he has a free for all and allowed to criticise all and sundry with immunity.

    He posted a link above which in part reads.

    There are two main items of evidence on which Susan was convicted of the murder of her aunt. The most important consists of three stains in a line on the wall of the aunt’s bedroom. The age of theses stains is not known. One has Susan’s palm print in it. The second is probably human blood. The third is probably her aunt’s blood (there is doubt about whether this third stain was on the wall at the time when Susan found the body). The prosecution case was that the stains were bloodstains made on the night of 11 March by Susan, immediately after she had murdered her aunt.

    I asked why he conceded there was human blood and indeed Hilda Marchbank’s blood, when we now know there was never any positive test for blood let alone human blood or indeed Hilda Marchbank’s blood.

    The Expert is now saying there is no evidence of blood in the furrows.

    Does he not think this was damaging to the defence of Susan May ?

    I had the same experience with a University in Glasgow where they submitted my misdirection I was complaining about did not amount to a miscarriage.

    SCCRC ultimately referred my case on the very same misdirection.


    • Jon Robins says:

      Hello again Wullie,

      I have explained this by email to you on April 14. Comments on the Justice Gap go through moderation.

      We don’t run comments on people’s individual cases – because (i) we can’t check the facts and (ii) also we aren’t really the right place.

      I would also stress that we also need to be fair to all parties.

      I know that can be frustrating – but we are not the place for your exchange.

      That said, here’s hoping there is some movement on Susan’s case.


  15. Wullie Beck says:

    With all due respect Jon you have allowed Mr Green to comment and post links to individual cases.

    Indeed the main article speaks about individual cases.

    Why is Mr Green so different ?

    Why are we blocked from replying to Mr green ?

    Like I said it is your site as you rightly point out and you are without doubt allowed to moderate as you see fit but to block full comments is not very democratic and is allowing only a one sided viewpoint.


    Wullie Beck

  16. David sturgess says:

    Upon a letter from the ccrc November 2016 with 11 accounts fresh evidence. I have a letter from the ccrc now refusing to review my fresh appeal and clear evidence one alone would send my case back to the appeal court.
    I belive it’s I’m a litergent clear utter discrimination now seeking solicitors

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