A man who spent two years in prison after being wrongly convicted of rape because police missed vital evidence has been told he will not receive compensation.
Danny Kay was convicted in 2013 and his conviction was quashed in December 2017 after the Court of Appeal ruled that police relied on ‘edited and misleading’ conversations through social media. ‘It was devastating for a system that you trust to let you down like that,’ he told BBC Breakfast in January 2018. ‘I had complete faith in it, I trusted that the truth would come out in the trial and it didn’t.’
Kay passed on his Facebook log-in details to his sister-in-law who (it was reported) found the archived messages that cleared him after just a minute’s search.
The Mail on Sunday reported that his application for £500,000 compensation was rejected by Robert Buckland, the justice secretary. A letter from the Ministry of Justice stated: ‘We regret to inform you that the Secretary of State for Justice has concluded that you are not entitled to compensation under the statutory scheme.
‘The Secretary of State for Justice has concluded that the conviction was not reversed as a result of a new or newly discovered fact that shows beyond reasonable doubt that you did not commit the offence.’
Ministry of Justice
The Mail on Sunday quoted from the full exchanges which were edited at trial. For example, the jury had been given a misleading impression of a message reading ‘sorry’, which was construed as being about the alleged rape. ‘In fact, it was a response to the woman asking why he was ignoring her. Also omitted from the version presented to the jury was her response: “Dnt [sic] be,”‘ it said.
The regime for compensation for the victims of miscarriage of justice was changed by the Coalition government. Its Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 amended the statutory scheme so that compensation payments are restricted to those few people who could demonstrate their innocence ‘beyond reasonable doubt’.
It was that new controversial scheme that has been challenged by Sam Hallam and Victor Nealon in the Supreme Court and their case is now expected to go to Strasbourg – as reported on the Justice Gap. Baroness Helena Kennedy QC has argued that to ask the wrongly convicted to prove their innocence beyond reasonable doubt was ‘an affront to our system of law’.
According to JUSTICE (2018), in the last five years only five people have received compensation from the Ministry of the Justice after having their convictions overturned. By contrast, between 1999 and 2004, there were 162 successful applications.