Thursday, September 04, 2008

Crooked Welsh police still not repentant

Police really seem to be an evil lot in Wales. Previous post here on the case was on 19 Oct., 2006 -- which see for details on how the man was deliberately framed by police who "just knew" he was gulity

A CARDIFF man who served 11 years in prison for a crime he did not commit has passed a lie detector test. Michael O'Brien, who was wrongfully convicted with Darren Hall and Ellis Sherwood for the 1987 murder of Cardiff newsagent Phillip Saunders, said he had taken the test because of the refusal of South Wales Police to give him an apology. The Court of Appeal quashed the three men's convictions after judges found serious flaws in the prosecution case.

Two years ago South Wales Police agreed to pay Mr O'Brien $600,000 in an out-of-court settlement of a civil case he was bringing against it for malicious prosecution. Last night, an ITV Wales documentary revealed that a lie detector test undertaken by Mr O'Brien two weeks ago had cleared him of any involvement in the murder of Mr Saunders.

Mr O'Brien said: "The fact that as recently as two years ago South Wales Police questioned my ex-wife Donna and her sister Mandy about money stolen when Mr Saunders was murdered suggests to me that although they have had to pay me a very substantial amount of money, they still think I am somehow involved. "This makes me angry, not just for myself, but because they are not actively seeking the real killer. I decided to take the lie detector test to show that I had absolutely nothing to do with the murder of Mr Saunders."

Yesterday, at the launch of Mr O'Brien's book on the case, The Death of Justice (Y Lolfa, 9.95), Plaid Cymru AM Leanne Wood renewed a longstanding call for a public inquiry into the wrongful conviction of Mr O'Brien, his two co-defendants and other miscarriage of justice victims in South Wales.

The other cases that Ms Wood and others want to see examined are the wrongful conviction of three men for the murder of Cardiff prostitute Lynette White, the wrongful conviction of brothers Paul and Wayne Darvell for the murder of Swansea sex shop worker Sandra Phillips, the wrongful conviction of Jonathan Jones for the murder of his fiancee's parents Harry and Megan Tooze at their farmhouse in Llanharry, near Pontyclun, and the conviction of Annette Hewins for killing a young mother and her two children in an arson attack at Merthyr Tydfil.

Mr O'Brien was given a lie detector test by expert Bruce Burgess, who said: "I am totally certain that he is innocent."

Original report here

(And don't forget your ration of Wicked Thoughts for today)

1 comment:

Greg Lewis said...

Latest on Michael O'Brien, from

Sorry, the hardest word?

Barbara Wilding, Chief Constable of South Wales Police, has responded to the Wales This Week programme on Michael O’Brien by publishing a statement on the force’s website.
In the statement she refers to the civil action which the force settled out of court with Michael O’Brien and his co-accused Ellis Sherwood in 2006.
O’Brien and Sherwood had started proceedings to sue the force for malicious prosecution back in 2001.
Mrs Wilding states that the force made the settlement – and paid the accompanying damages – “without any admission of liability”.
She then says that they “chose to accept the payments on that basis rather than going to trial” and that both they and their legal advisers “were fully aware that this made an apology inappropriate”.
The force’s unwillingness to apologise to O’Brien, Sherwood and the third member of the Cardiff Newsagent Three, Darren Hall, has been a major motivating factor behind O’Brien’s continuing campaign.
It is something he describes in detail in his new autobiography, The Death Of Justice. It would help him move on after an 11-year jail sentence which he did not deserve.
In Monday’s programme on ITV Wales, O’Brien’s lawyer claimed that he clearly deserved an apology from South Wales Police, and most observers with knowledge of the murder investigation into Phillip Saunders’ death in 1987 and of evidence put before the Court of Appeal in December 1999 would surely have to agree.
Today, Ms Ofer has responded to the South Wales Police statement. In a letter to the press (see Western Mail) she states that O’Brien “did not reach an out-of-court settlement willingly”.
He was forced into a financial situation which meant he had no choice but to settle out of court.
“He was desperate for the case to go to trial, but once the police paid £300,000 into court he was forced to settle against his will as his legal aid would be stopped as a result,” she explains.
“Legal rules mean that if he had gone to trial and won and been awarded £300,000, all of the legal costs of both sides would come out of his damages. He therefore had no choice but to accept a settlement.”
She adds: “South Wales Police were quoted as saying that an apology would be inappropriate. This is completely incorrect. Apologies are made by police forces as part and parcel of settlement on some occasions and one was requested in this case.
“South Wales Police chose to make a payment into court a month before trial because they realised that there was a real risk that they would lose at trial.
“Had they simply wished to save money they could have made a payment five years earlier, instead of spending these years and a huge sum of money on legal costs fighting the case all the way to the Court of Appeal and the House of Lords.”