The miscarriage of justice watchdog has referred for appeal the convictions of two members of the ‘Stockwell Six’ convicted in 1972 on the evidence of a now disgraced police officer. The misconduct of Detective Sergeant Derek Ridgewell led to convictions being overturned in the Oval Four and Stpehn Simmons cases – as reported on the Justice Gap (here).
Courtney Harriot and Paul Green were two of six young men charged with assault with intent to rob on a train o n the London Underground in 1972. Ridgewell, who led a team of officers from the British Transport Police known as the ‘anti-mugging squad’, claimed to have been a victim of the attack. Similarly, the Oval Four had been arrested at Oval Underground station in 1972 accused of stealing handbags.
The six men stood trial at the Old Bailey in September 1972 and pleaded not guilty. Green was convicted and sent to Borstal and Harriot was sentenced to three years in prison. The Criminal Cases Review Commission wants to make contact with their co-defendants – Cleveland Davison, Texo Joseph Johnson, and Ronald De’Souza (Everet Mullins was acquitted).
CCRC argues there is new evidence which gives rise to the real possibility that the Court of Appeal will overturn the convictions as required by statute. The new evidence related to the conviction of Ridgewell for conspiracy to steal whilst working as an officer for British Transport Police in 1978.
‘Its really good that we have been able to send wo more cases for appeal involving DS Ridgewell. It is a challenge to investigate cases as old as this because most of the information from the time has been destroyed and that doesn’t leave much to go on. In this case though, the earlier CCRC referrals involving Ridgewell’s misconduct have helped pave the way,’ commented CCRC commissioner David Brown. ‘What we really want now is for the other Stockwell Six co-defendants to contact us so we can look at their cases and hopefully send their convictions for appeal as well. We would also be interested to hear from anyone else who was convicted in a case where DS Ridgewell was involved.’