Tuesday, June 30, 2015
Innocent man who spent 30 years on death row for a murder he didn't commit dies of cancer after just one year of freedom
Father-of-four Glenn Ford was exonerated in March 2014 of robbing and killing a watchmaker in Shreveport in a 1983 murder which he spent over 30 years behind bars for. He was released from prison after the state said it uncovered evidence proving he wasn't at the crime scene.
In a release his supporters on Crowd Rise wrote: 'At 2:11 this morning, Monday June 29th 2015, Glenn slipped away very quietly and peacefully. 'He was held and surrounded by people who cared about him, and was listening to a song he loved.
Alison McCrary, a civil rights attorney who volunteered at Resurrection After Exoneration, told NBC News that Ford hadn't been diagnosed at Angola, the state prison where he was incarcerated, with the various cancers that killed him, including lung, brain and bone cancer.
After he left prison, he learned he had Stage 3 lung cancer, which then progressed to Stage 4. His medical costs which amounted to about $2,000 a week were paid by private donations, she said.
Ford hadn't been able to speak for roughly the last week, and he was in 'excruciating pain' when he died, McCrary said. But she added: 'There's also a peacefulness about Glenn. He had no hatred in his heart. He was really looking forward to the afterlife.'
Ford walked free from Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola on March 11, 2014, wearing a jean jacket, sweater and beanie hat and carrying all of his worldly possessions in two tiny boxes.
As he walked out of the prison gates, he said he was sad he had not been around to raise his now-adult sons, but added: 'It feels good; my mind is going in all kind of directions. It feels good.'
Earlier this year, the prosecutor who said he 'was to blame' for putting Ford on death row, A.M. 'Marty' Stroud III, apologized for the conviction and met with Ford.
Ford said he refused to get angry over his situation. 'I'm upset, yes, but it's not my driving force,' Ford said. He added: '[My driving force] is to get well as I possibly can. I can't do that being mad at Marty Stroud.'
'I want you to know that I am very sorry,' Stroud said during the somber meeting, which was filmed by abc Nightline. 'It's a stain on me that will be with me until I go to my grave.'
'Right,' Ford responded, without looking up. 'But it still cost me 31 years of my life and then nothing at the end but death because they give me from six to eight months to live.'
Stroud also wrote him a letter in which he admitted that he was to blame for mistakenly putting Ford behind bars for the fatal shooting of a jeweler, despite no murder weapon or witnesses placing him at the scene.
'In 1984, I was 33 years old,' he wrote. 'I was arrogant, judgmental, narcissistic and very full of myself. I was not as interested in justice as I was in winning.'
Original report here
(And don't forget your ration of Wicked Thoughts for today. Now hosted on Wordpress. If you cannot access it, go to the MIRROR SITE, where posts appear as well as on the primary site. I have reposted the archives (past posts) for Wicked Thoughts HERE or HERE or here
Posted by bussorah at 5:47 PM
Monday, June 29, 2015
UK: Mother who ate banana at the wheel while she was stuck in gridlocked traffic 'is treated like a criminal' and fined £100
A single mother who was caught eating a banana at the wheel while stuck in gridlocked traffic has moaned she was treated 'like a criminal' after being fined £100.
Elsa Harris, who works as a carer, was pulled over while driving to work along a gridlocked road in Christchurch, Dorset.
She was handed the fine and given the choice of either three penalty points or completing a driver awareness course after admitting taking her hands off the wheel momentarily to peel the banana.
The 45-year-old, who insists her car was stationary in a traffic jam when she the incident occurred, has now blasted the fine as 'ridiculous'. She said: 'I'm a single mum. This is the most expensive banana I've ever had in my life.'
Ms Harris said she had already peeled the banana at home, but there was a small piece of skin still needing removal before she could eat it.
She said: 'An unmarked blue car started flashing at me, drove in front, then slammed its brakes on. It caused so much confusion with all the other cars, nobody knew what was going on.
'When the officer got out he was really angry from the offset, but I was still completely unaware I'd done anything wrong.'
Ms Harris said she's never been in trouble with the police before and has no points on her licence.
She said: 'The officer said I was driving without my hands on the wheel and was a danger to other drivers, but I said that was rubbish.
'I'm a carer and work at vulnerable people's homes serving them lunch. We don't stop for lunch ourselves, we don't get lunch breaks. Normally we have to eat on the hoof.
'He put me in the back of his car like a criminal and told me what a danger I was. 'I couldn't believe it, you get drink-drivers, people texting and eating while they speed along. Surely, me eating a banana in a traffic jam is not that important.'
Eating while driving is not a specific offence. However, anyone distracted behind the wheel or failing to operate their vehicle correctly because they are eating could be committing an offence of driving without due care and attention, or not being in proper control of a vehicle.
The Highway Code states drivers should avoid distractions such as eating, drinking, loud music, trying to read maps, smoking, and arguing with passengers or other road users.
Dorset Polices said it was unable to comment on specific cases still within the judicial process.
A spokesman said: 'If a person has been reported for a driving offence that they do not feel they are guilty of, the matter will be referred to the magistrates' court for a decision. 'Dorset Police is committed to reducing the number of casualties on Dorset's roads.
'Our traffic officers and No Excuse team use enforcement and education to tackle the 'fatal five' - drink and drug driving, excessive and inappropriate speed, not wearing a seatbelt, careless driving and driver distraction.
'We educate people at the roadside and through the driver awareness course to highlight the potential consequences of their actions.'
(And don't forget your ration of Wicked Thoughts for today. Now hosted on Wordpress. If you cannot access it, go to the MIRROR SITE, where posts appear as well as on the primary site. I have reposted the archives (past posts) for Wicked Thoughts HERE or HERE or here
Posted by bussorah at 7:22 PM
Sunday, June 28, 2015
Australia: Woman runs red light and seriously injures boy -- but acquitted of dangerous driving
The judge seems to be impressed that her use of "Ice" may not have been harmful. Why did that matter? She was a serious and serial lawbreaker who clearly WAS driving dangerously
Mother of three, Leah Lenarczyk, 39, was under the influence of ice and other drugs when she picked up her young children from school on November 8, 2012.
She hit a school boy after running a red light in Adelaide's north and the 12-year-old sustained serious injuries including a collapsed lung and fractured skull.
Lenarczyk was acquitted of dangerous driving and was instead convicted with the subsidiary charge of driving without due care as it was found that the drugs did not have a negative impact on her driving. 'She had none of the indicia or symptoms of someone affected by methylamphetamine,' Judge Beazley said.
The District Court heard that Lenarczyk had an 'appalling' driving record, the Adelaide Advertiser have reported.
As well as a fractured skull and collapsed lung, the school boy suffered a broken leg, abdominal injuries and cuts on his face after he was hit by Lenarczyk at Salisbury Heights.
Judge Beazley took the expert evidence from professor of pharmacology Jason White, and clinical forensic toxicologist Michael Robertson who both confirmed that whether the drugs impacted positively or negatively on Lenarczyk's driving cannot be determined.
Following the accident, she was found to have no alcohol in her blood and was also travelling five kilometres under the speed limit.
Judge Beazley said two police officers were with her for over two hours after the accident and she showed none of the typical symptoms of ice use.
She will be sentenced next month.
(And don't forget your ration of Wicked Thoughts for today. Now hosted on Wordpress. If you cannot access it, go to the MIRROR SITE, where posts appear as well as on the primary site. I have reposted the archives (past posts) for Wicked Thoughts HERE or HERE or here
Posted by bussorah at 9:58 PM
Saturday, June 27, 2015
Canada: Man nears end of 44-year wait to reverse wrongful conviction
John Salmon doesn’t like to talk about the night more than 40 years ago that led to his incarceration for the death of the woman he loved.
The 75-year-old retiree will gladly discuss his cats (five in all), his views on healthy living (eat fish once a day, take karate classes) and various Casino Rama shows he’s attended (Kellie Pickler, Jeff Foxworthy, many others). But start prying into the tragedy that landed him with a manslaughter conviction in 1971 and Mr. Salmon’ s memories are gone.
On Monday, in a triumph of Mr. Salmon’s quiet determination to clear his name through the Association In Defence of the Wrongfully Convicted (AIDWYC), the courts are expected to expunge the events as well.
"For our children and grandchildren to know, once and for all, that John is the man he is, not the man some people think he is, that’s amazing," says his wife, Margaret Salmon, who does much of the talking for him.
The Crown is recommending acquittal almost 45 years after pursuing his conviction based on flawed forensic evidence stating Mr. Salmon had delivered a "terrific" and fatal blow to Maxine Ditchfield’s head.
In 1971, Mr. Salmon was a piecemeal welder who lived with Ms. Ditchfield and her three kids in a small Woodstock, Ont., home. On Sept. 19, a Saturday night, the family visited some friends.
It was a raucous, booze-sodden night of dancing and quarrelling. When Ms. Ditchfield fell off her stool after 3 a.m., the couple decided it was time to pack up the sleeping children and drive home, according to documents filed in court.
The next morning marked the beginning of a precipitous and mysterious decline in Ms. Ditchfield’s health. She was clumsy, falling in the bathroom. Her body was covered with bruises, the previous night’s alcohol consumption clouding any memory of how they got there.
Mr. Salmon spent the next two days trying to nurse her back to health, but after a series of falls, her condition deteriorated. He called a doctor, who visited the house and determined that Ms. Ditchfield’s bruises, fixed pupils and laboured breathing suggested brain damage from a wicked beating.
The doctor phoned an ambulance and the police. The former took Ms. Ditchfield to the hospital, where she died the next morning; the latter took Mr. Salmon to jail.
There were witnesses, but they were either too inebriated at the time or too young – as in the case of Ms. Ditchfield’s children – for their testimony to be entirely credible. In that reliability vacuum, an autopsy would be relied upon to determine the central question of whether her puzzling demise was the result of an assault or natural causes.
The autopsy noted "bruises and signs of violence" covering Ms. Ditchfield’s body, brain damage, paralysis on the left side of her body and a clot in her right cerebral artery. Notably, the pathologist found none of blood or bone fractures that would characterize a beating brutal enough to cause brain damage.
The cause of death was brain swelling, he concluded, caused by "a blow on the head with a broad, blunt object and delivered at extreme force."
On March 11, 1971, a jury found Mr. Salmon guilty of manslaughter. A judge sentenced him to 10 years in prison.
"It was not a good feeling," says Mr. Salmon today. "I knew I didn’t do it. I always figured when I went to court I’d eventually be out."
After his release in 1974, he moved to the Orillia area, knowing his checkered past would prevent any happy future in Woodstock.
The conviction remained a life-long hindrance, blocking his path to a government job, a position with the local volunteer fire hall, mortgages.
But then two people came into his life who would change everything. In 1979, there was Margaret, a non-drinking registered nurse. "He told me about the conviction right up front," she says. "I knew then this man wouldn’t hurt a female. Thirty-five years of marriage later, I’m still right about that."
Around 2000, he read about AIDWYC’s fight to overturn the murder conviction of Steven Truscott. He called the lead lawyer, James Lockyer, launching a 15-year bid to overturn his conviction.
About five years before Ms. Ditchfield’s death, pathologists refined a method of determining whether a head injury was caused by the skull striking a stationary object – as would be the case in a fall – or an object striking a stationary skull – as would be the case with a punch or kick. The original pathologist had ignored the technique.
Mr. Lockyer seized on the oversight and commissioned three new pathologist reports. They unanimously agreed Ms. Ditchfield’s injuries stemmed from a contrecoup contusion. In short, her head hit something, not the other way around.
They found mention of the brain clot especially compelling. The contusions likely had resulted, they found, from a series of falls and attempts by medical staff to place her on a ventilator.
The new conclusion: A fall triggered a stroke that eventually killed her.
On June 4, the Crown filed a factum conceding the fresh pathology evidence and is recommending an acquittal in the case, scheduled for Monday morning.
When Mr. Lockyer phoned him with the encouraging news, Mr. Salmon celebrated by hugging all five cats.
Some people are less thrilled. "I don’t doubt the new evidence," says one family member who did not want to be identified. "But he let her lay there for days. Why didn’t he seek help immediately?"
It’s one regret that remains with Mr. Salmon. "She hit her head on the tub. That’s when, looking back, I should’ve taken her to the hospital," he says. "But I didn’t know nothing about concussions or any of that stuff then."
He only blames the seventies-era justice system.
"I felt the whole time I’d beat this," he says. "I never lost faith."
Posted by bussorah at 9:55 PM
Friday, June 26, 2015
British police panic about rape
Last week, the Metropolitan Police and the Crown Prosecution Service published their review, led by Dame Elish Angiolini QC, into the investigation and prosecution of rapes in London. The review was described by the Met as a ‘victim-centred review of current protocols and procedures’. The report claimed that the volume of rape allegations, having ‘soared’ by 68 per cent between 2005-6 and 2013-14, has left the Met struggling to cope.
However, during this time, the percentage of allegations resulting in a prosecution rose by only 17 per cent. The report warned that, if current trends continued, the number of unpunished rapes would continue to rise. The report went on to recommend that the law enshrine a statutory definition of when someone is too drunk to consent. Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, the commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, suggested that rape investigations should be assigned the same level of police resources as investigations into domestic terrorism.
The panicked rhetoric of the report and the response to its findings are striking. The report appears to suggest that the authorities are completely failing to deal with an epidemic of rape and sexual violence. The reaction of Hogan-Howe suggests that our intimate relationships present the same level of danger as hidden terrorist networks, and that the authorities should be just as concerned about what goes on in Londoners’ bedrooms as they are about the activities of homegrown terrorist groups.
But even a cursory look at these figures indicates that they say nothing at all about the reality of rape. The report does not, as some newspapers reported, claim that the number of rapes has increased, merely that the number of allegations has increased. This could mean that more and more people are being raped, or it could mean that more and more people are mistakenly thinking they have been raped. The number of allegations tells us nothing at all about the number of rapes that have actually been committed. It says nothing at all about reality.
Nor is it unusual for there to be a significant difference between the number of allegations and the number of cases resulting in a prosecution. In fact, for most criminal offences, the percentage of prosecutions that arise from allegations is far lower than it is for rape. All sorts of issues can prevent an allegation from progressing to a prosecution. In fact, the idea that this figure is too low and should be ‘driven up’ suggests that more people should be prosecuted – that is, arrested, possibly locked up and put before a court – purely to make the numbers look better. In other words, this report takes numbers and percentages, which mean absolutely nothing in and of themselves, and turns them into a picture of a failing justice system.
The report is a significant example of a worrying trend. In today’s discussion around rape, information is routinely presented misleadingly and then used as a means of justifying a further tightening up of the law. The idea that ‘too few’ people are prosecuted comes to be seen as a problem that needs to be fixed by more aggressive prosecuting. As a result, more and more people are encouraged to see rape everywhere, in every corner of their intimate lives.
This makes it hardly surprising that each individual police officer is now dealing with an average of 15 rape allegations at any one time. Rather than the low rate of prosecutions, it is this figure that should give us pause for thought. Perhaps this report does not merely demonstrate that the police are failing – we hardly need another report to tell us that the police routinely screw up rape investigations – but that we are failing, too.
Perhaps the unrelenting increase in the number of allegations of rape shows that we are succumbing to the hysterical official panic around rape. Perhaps we are starting to believe officialdom’s claim that rape is everywhere. Perhaps the truly frightening aspect of this report is not that too few allegations are being prosecuted, but that so many allegations are being made in the first place. If we truly want to ensure that rape is investigated and prosecuted properly, perhaps we should stop seeing rape in those difficult and ambiguous experiences which are part and parcel of a normal, functioning intimate life. It’s time we drove officialdom out of our private lives.
Posted by bussorah at 10:06 PM
Thursday, June 25, 2015
South Australian court jails corrupt former police officer for fabricating evidence to hide her cannabis growing operation
A CUNNING, self-interested woman whose "intricate fabric of deceit" hid her cannabis-growing operation while she served as an SA Police officer will spend at least nine months behind bars.
The District Court today rejected former police officer Amanda Boughen’s claims she was coerced and manipulated into the drug trade, and imposed a two-year prison term.
Judge Paul Rice imposed a lower-than-normal non-parole period of nine months because of the effect Boughen’s imprisonment will have on her young son.
However, he ruled not even the best interests of that child outweighed the fictitious identities, faked documents and extreme steps Boughen took to conceal her two drug crops.
"There was an intricate fabric of deceit that surrounded (the crops’) implementation, and you did not reluctantly acquiesce to it," he said. "It was actuated by self-interest, it was calculated and involved a certain amount of cunning. "The integrity of the administration of justice relies in part on the requirement that those who uphold the law also obey it. "In this regard, you failed in a spectacular and serious way."
Boughen, 40, of Mawson Lakes, pleaded guilty to one count of fabricating, altering or concealing evidence.
Between May and September 2006, she used the fake identity of "Nicole Hooper" to rent a property she owned and organise its electricity and utilities connections.
In turn, she received $200 a week rent from her then-boyfriend, Darryl Joseph, who used the Para Hills address to grow cannabis.
At the time of her crimes, Boughen was a serving SA Police officer. She was suspended with full pay when investigations into her conduct began, and has since resigned from SA Police.
Secrecy has surrounded much of Boughen’s case, and other charges of abuse of public office were dropped when she pleaded guilty to the fabrication count.
Boughen initially insisted she was a pawn, and under Joseph’s influence, at the time of her offending. She subsequently, and tearfully, "unreservedly apologised" for her actions, saying she was "humbled, broken" and blamed only herself.
Defence counsel asked Boughen be spared immediate jail, saying her son would have to be placed in the care of Families SA because she lacked family or friends to take him in.
Earlier this month, she told the court she wanted her decade-old case "over and done with".
In sentencing today, Judge Rice outlined the details of both the fabrication and the abuse of public office charges, saying he would take the latter into consideration.
He said that once Boughen and Joseph agreed to cultivate cannabis, she took steps to create "Nicole Hooper" so as to shield herself in the event the crops were discovered.
Judge Rice said Boughen paid herself rent, arranged an electricity account and even purchased a second-hand car, all in Hooper’s name, to further the deception.
He said that when the property’s wheelie bin was stolen, Boughen used Hooper’s name to report the theft, and even communicated with the fictional person by email.
"The email exchange was quite extraordinary," Judge Rice said. "You descended into detail ... ‘Nicole’ asked if she could have a puppy and said she was nervous about moving down because she would be working with a temp staff agency," he said.
"You even noted, in your personal diary, the proposed moving date for ‘Nicole’. "This was all designed to give the appearance that Nicole Hooper existed should the police investigate the cannabis cultivation."
Judge Rice said Boughen’s police experience was essential to the deception — through it, she knew what "markers" to create in government systems as to make Hooper seem real.
He said Boughen’s other crime occurred in 2010 when she tipped Storm Alexander Strang — ringleader of a $40 million drug syndicate — off to an imminent police investigation.
At that time, Strang’s associates were renting one of Boughen’s properties and she suspected they were growing cannabis, as she had previously done herself.
"You did nothing about your suspicions ... self-interest became predominant," he said. "That you, as a police officer, informed someone about an impending police raid says a lot about your integrity."
Judge Rice said personal references hailed Boughen as reliable, loving and honest, while psychological reports spoke of a dysfunctional childhood and co-dependency issues.
He emphasised that nothing, including the future of Boughen’s child, warranted the suspension of her sentence.
Posted by bussorah at 6:14 PM
Wednesday, June 24, 2015
Jonathan Fleming awarded $6.25 million for 25 year wrongful imprisonment
As in many such cases in the USA, Fleming is black
JONATHAN Fleming left prison with $93 in his pocket after serving 25 years for a crime he did not commit. Today, he got paid. New York City authorities agreed on Tuesday to pay Mr Fleming $6.25 million for his wrongful imprisonment between 1989-2014.
The payout is a long way short of the $162 million he was suing the city for, but his lawyers say it will allow him to build a new life.
Fleming, 52, was convicted of the murder of Darryl Rush in the Brooklyn neighbourhood of Williamsburg despite being on the other side of the country at the time.
Rush was shot and killed on August 15, 1989. Prosecutors successfully argued that the pair had a falling out and a witness identified Fleming as the shooter. That witness would later recant her testimony and tell police she lied to get out of an unrelated arrest.
At his trial, Fleming’s defence team provided family photographs and home videos showing he was at Disney World in Florida at the time of Rush’s murder. It didn’t matter because they had no official proof.
The court was provided with plane tickets and post cards but it was agreed neither proved he was not in New York.
Fleming would spend the next 25 years in a high security prison waiting for somebody to listen to his side of the story. He missed out on his sons’ birthdays and was not there to care for his sick mother.
Then, last year, a receipt from a Florida hotel emerged. Fleming’s defence asked the District Attorney’s office to review the case one more time and showed them the receipt. It was paid five hours before the shooting by one Jonathan Fleming.
The receipt, astonishingly, had been in Mr Fleming’s pocket when he was originally arrested. Police had it in their possession the whole time.
When he was eventually released in April last year, Fleming had nowhere to live and no idea how to use a mobile phone. He was broke. But incredibly, he was not angry. And he never gave up hope.
"I had faith. I said to myself I don’t know how long it’s going to take, but I’m going to get out," Fleming told the Guardian during his first visit to Times Square in a quarter of a century.
To help him find his feet again, strangers contributed to a fundraising campaign with an initial $10,000 goal and ended up raising $49,000.
On the fundraising page, Fleming wrote that he was "terrified" and did not know how he was going to survive. But he was so thankful to everyone who had supported him, both emotionally and financially.
"I promise that I will treat this money with the respect that it deserves, and that I will forever be thankful to each and every person that took the time to help me out," he wrote.
Fleming has money now, but he will never get back what was taken from him. And he knows it. "I think about all the things I could have accomplished during that time and I come out to nothing."
His lawyer Anthony Mayol said: "That’s 25 years that have been stolen, that he’ll never get back."
Plenty changed in the years he was locked away but some things stayed the same: his mother was still waiting for him with open arms. "After 25 years, come hug your mother," she said in court.
Fleming’s case is not unique. His wrongful imprisonment is not the longest in US history either.
James Bain spent 35 years in prison for a kidnapping and rape in 1974 that he did not commit. He received just $1.7 million compensation — $50,000 for every year he spent in prison.
Ricky Jackson spent 39 years behind bars for the murder of businessman Harold Franks. He received just $2 million plus 39 years worth of wages.
Posted by bussorah at 10:07 PM
Tuesday, June 23, 2015
Australia: Qld cop charged over leaked bash footage
No room for honest cops in Qld.
A Gold Coast police officer has been stood down and charged with misconduct following allegations he leaked footage of colleagues assaulting a handcuffed man three years ago.
The Queensland Police Service said on Friday Rick Flori, a 44-year-old sergeant with 25 years' experience, was the subject of an investigation "concerning allegations he accessed and released confidential information".
The police service said in a statement Flori had been charged with one count of criminal misconduct in public office and issued with a notice to appear in the Southport Magistrates Court on July 15.
He has been stood down on full pay but could lose his job over the January 2012 incident.
The leaked video shows Noa Begic, 21, being slammed face first into a concrete floor before being hit by officers using their knees, elbows and fists.
It also shows Mr Begic being punched several times after being put in the back of a police van, and a senior officer throwing a bucket of water on the concrete to wash away the man's blood.
Speaking outside Queensland Police Service headquarters on Friday, Flori thanked his supporters.
"I thank my family," he told reporters. "I've had multiple phone calls and text messages. I'm very grateful and I thank you all."
Australian Council for Civil Liberties president Terry O'Gorman says the case goes to the heart of the risks whistleblowers take.
Mr O'Gorman called on Police Minister Jo-Ann Miller to take a personal interest in the case.
"Queenslanders will say what sort of a system have we got where a video shows a number of police belting the hell out of a bloke," he told the ABC.
"They don't get charged, but the officer who leaks the video to the media gets charged."
Mr Begic said at the time he was arrested after a night out in Surfers Paradise and was assaulted repeatedly on the drive to the local police station and then later in the basement.
"They were making racist comments about me and then when we ended up in that basement I knew there was more on the way," he said.
Public nuisance charges against Mr Begic were ultimately dropped after then-Police Commissioner Bob Atkinson intervened.
The officers filmed carrying out the assault were subject to an internal police investigation, with two facing disciplinary action. They should have been fired
Posted by bussorah at 9:36 PM
Monday, June 22, 2015
Killer admits to brutal rape in Spain for which 'innocent' man has spent 12 years in prison
The killer of Sally Anne Bowman has sensationally admitted brutally raping a woman in Spain for which another man has spent nearly 12 years in prison.
Murderer Mark Dixie, 44, is serving life for murdering the 18-year-old model in South London in 2005.
The former pub chef is suspected of attacking three women on the Costa del Sol where he was living before Sally Anne's murder.
In a dramatic twist in the case last week, Dixie admitted raping one of the women in Spain.
MailOnline revealed last year how Dutchman Romano van der Dussen was wrongly jailed for the Spanish attacks - yet he remains behind bars to this day.
It can also be revealed that new DNA analysis, carried out this week at the Dutch National Forensic Investigation Agency, proves beyond any doubt that Dixie carried out the attack.
Last week, Sally Anne's killer broke down in prison and confessed to raping the Spanish woman in a drink and drug-fuelled rage in the seaside resort of Fuengirola in August 2003.
He made his confession to Romano’s lawyer Rachel Imamkhan when she visited him at HMP Frankland, Co. Durham.
Ms Imamkhan, legal director of PrisonLAW, interviewed Dixie while gathering evidence for Romano’s appeal against his conviction for the three sex attacks.
Dixie’s handwritten, three-page statement will be lodged with the Supreme Court in Madrid as part of Romano’s appeal.
In a statement, PrisonLAW, a law firm specialising in overturning miscarriages of justice, said: 'Mark Dixie confessed that in 2003 he was living in Fuengirola and he remembers committing a rape that Romano van der Dussen has been convicted of.
'He also stated that he is sorry that another person has been in prison for such a long period of time for that rape.
'A new analysis of DNA evidence carried out at the National Forensic Investigations Agency has also confirmed that Mark Dixie carried out that rape.
Ms Imamkhan spent two-and-a-half hours interviewing Dixie and said he was close to tears when he finally confessed to the rape.
She told MailOnline: 'Dixie told me he was high on drink and drugs when he raped the woman and has suffered from blackouts. 'He said he is very sorry that Romano has been in prison for so long for crimes he did not commit. 'He claims he does not remember the other two Spanish attacks.'
Dixie, from Streatham, South London, was living in Fuengirola when the three Spanish women were brutally attacked within two hours of each other in the early hours of August 10 2003.
One woman was punched, thrown to the floor and raped in a terrifying 15-minute ordeal. She spent four days in hospital and suffered severe psychological problems.
Minutes later a second woman was punched in the head, thrown to the floor and sexually assaulted. The attacker fled with her Nokia mobile phone and 120 euros in cash.
The third victim was attacked a few hundred yards away; punched in the head, thrown to the floor, sexually assaulted and beaten.
Romano, now 42, was arrested three weeks later after one of the victims picked him out from photographs in police files.
Detectives had found the attacker’s DNA on the first victim. But astonishingly Romano was charged and prosecuted even though his DNA did not match that found on the victim.
No forensic or physical evidence linked Romano to the crimes but he was jailed for 15-and-a-half years. He remains behind bars and continues to protest his innocence.
During the trial prosecutors argued that all three attacks must have been carried out by the same man.
Shortly after the three women were attacked, Mark Dixie returned to the UK from Spain. In September 2005, he raped and murdered Sally Anne Bowman near her home in Croydon. The teenager was stabbed seven times and raped while she lay dead or dying.
Dixie was arrested the following year by chance after having a fight in a pub – and was linked to Sally Anne’s murder through his DNA.
However, he refused to admit the crimes, forcing Sally Anne’s mother Linda, father Paul and sisters Danielle, Nicole and Michelle, to endure a trial at the Old Bailey. In February 2008, Dixie was jailed for life and told he must serve a minimum of 34 years.
After his arrest, Met Police detectives discovered Dixie had been living in Spain from 2002 to 2003 and sent his DNA to Madrid as a matter of routine.
Spanish police ran it through their national Veritas database and came up with a match for the Fuengirola attack.
In 2011, Romano’s lawyers appealed his convictions but the Spanish court demanded a fresh sample of Dixie’s DNA.
Last December Dixie, who has a string of convictions for sex attacks, gave a new saliva sample at HMP Frankland. Romano’s lawyers sent the results to the National Forensic Investigation Agency and this week Dutch officials confirmed it undisputedly matches that found on the first victim.
When giving the saliva sample, Dixie told police officers he 'may be involved' in the rape in Spain.
But his confession to Ms Imamkhan last week was the first time he has spoken at length about the attack in Spain.
Sally Anne's mother is supporting Romano's appeal against his convictions. Romano has sent her a message thanking her for her support.
Last year, she told MailOnline she is dismayed at the thought that if the Spanish authorities had investigated the case more thoroughly, her daughter might still be alive. 'I am absolutely appalled,' she said. 'An innocent man has spent 11 years of a 16 year sentence in prison for a crime he did not do.
'I feel very strongly that if the Spanish authorities had done their jobs properly, my Sally Anne would be alive.
'He did not assault those three women in Spain - Sally Anne's killer did. He is someone's son and he is locked up for something he didn't do.'
Posted by bussorah at 5:49 PM
Sunday, June 21, 2015
Police probe doctors over 'care pathway' death of grandmother who was wrongly told she had terminal cancer
Britain's now discredited "Liverpool care pathway" was in reality a death pathway, used to get rid of hundreds of thousands of the elderly. Under it, the elderly died of thirst while bombed out of their brain with morphine
Police are investigating the death of a woman who, her family claim, was left to die in hospital after she was wrongly told she had terminal cancer.
Greater Manchester Police are to review the evidence into the death of grandmother-of-six Margaret Hesketh, 70.
Her family claim that ten days after she was admitted to hospital, doctors told them she was riddled with cancer and there was little they could do. They say Mrs Hesketh was put on a ‘care pathway’ in which fluid and nutrition drips were removed. She died in November, six days after the family says the regime began.
Doctors at the Royal Albert Edward Infirmary in Wigan have always rejected the family’s claims. The area NHS trust says it stopped using the controversial Liverpool Care Pathway in 2014. The treatment manages the last few days of a person’s life. In some circumstances, medication, food and water are withdrawn.
At an inquest in April, assistant coroner Rachel Griffin found that Mrs Hesketh had died of natural causes rather than malnutrition, and there was no neglect.
But the coroner said she was ‘disappointed’ to discover that Mrs Hesketh’s doctors had found out she was not suffering from cancer but failed to tell her or her family.
Mrs Hesketh went in to the Royal Albert Edward Infirmary in Wigan, above, on October 28 last year with an infected bed sore and suspected pneumonia
Before the inquest, police ruled out an investigation.
But Detective Chief Inspector Michael Fraser has now written to Mrs Hesketh’s daughter, Karen Masters, 45, telling her: ‘I am willing to undertake a review of evidence to provide an independent perspective on the outcome of the investigation and the subsequent inquest.’
Last night, Mrs Masters said: ‘At last somebody is listening to me. All I want is the truth.’ She said her mother, who was admitted to hospital with an infected bedsore and suspected pneumonia, had resembled ‘a sparrow in the corner of the bed’ in her final days.
A spokesman for Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust said: ‘We believe that we did all we could for Margaret Hesketh while she was under our care.’
Posted by bussorah at 9:07 PM
Saturday, June 20, 2015
Mother accused of leaving her daughter with Down's Syndrome unattended for 45 minutes wins £20,000 damages after suing police for wrongful arrest
The police thing concerned
A mother who successfully sued Cleveland Police for false arrest after being handcuffed in front of her Down's Syndrome daughter has been awarded £20,000 in damages.
Valerie Cadman-Khan, 55, a mother-of-five from Stainton, in Middlesborough, was arrested for allegedly leaving her then 12-year-old daughter Aimee unsupervised in a garden for 45 minutes.
But Middlesbrough County Court heard Detective Sergeant Colin Helyer lied to the local authority to justify arresting Mrs Cadman-Khan.
The court heard Detective Sergeant Helyer, 'provided false information to Middlesbrough Council's child abuse investigation unit' - and then attempted to mislead a court with what a judge branded 'freestyle lying'.
After winning her case earlier this year, Mrs Cadman-Khan, a qualified teacher, has now been awarded £20,000 in damages - but said today that the case was 'never about the money'. 'All I ever wanted was to clear my name,' she said. 'I would not give up until that was done.
'Aimee was traumatised by this, she slept in our room for two years after that and still sleeps with the light on. 'As I was led away that day, all I could hear was her screaming: "I want my mum, I want my mum!"
'He tried to put a case against me that I was an unfit mother, but if I'm good at anything, I'm a good mother. This child is my life.'
A dispute with bailiffs over an unpaid council tax bill led to police visiting the Middlesbrough home of Mrs Cadman-Khan's ex-husband on the morning of November 13, 2008.
Judge Gillian Matthews QC said Sgt Helyer's actions that day 'were completely disproportionate'. 'I completely understand that policing can be a difficult and dangerous job,' she said. 'This however was not one of those days.
'If Sgt Helyer could not cope with this lady, who was clearly rushing out to attend upon her child as he had requested, without applying handcuffs, I do not know how he would deal with a crowd of drunks on Saturday night.'
'He lied about the reason and the nature of the arrest and the need to use handcuffs to this court.'
She added that Sgt Helyer's actions that day were 'not just ill advised and disproportionate but arbitrary, high-handed, intimidating and oppressive.'
Deputy Chief Constable Iain Spittal said: 'I have offered my sincere apologies to Mrs Cadman-Khan and for the upset that has been caused to her and her family.
'Police officers are trained to deal with difficult situations calmly and to react in a reasonable and proportionate manner. It is clear that this did not happen in Mrs Cadman-Khan's case.
'I have read the judgment with great care and we are taking active steps to ensure we learn from the mistakes which were made, so that similar incidents don't happen in the future.
'The judgment has been provided to our professional standards department to determine whether any formal action will be taken against the officer in line with police conduct regulations.'
Mrs Cadman-Khan is now demanding a face-to-face meeting with the chief constable and Police and Crime Commissioner for Cleveland Barry Coppinger. She said: 'I want them to explain how Cleveland Police had the audacity to waste public funds in attempting to defend this case.'
Posted by bussorah at 9:43 PM
Friday, June 19, 2015
Dashcam video emerges showing Chicago police officer pumping bullets into a car filled with unarmed black teens
A failure to stop, apparently
A retired Chicago judge has released a dashboard camera video that shows an officer firing more than a dozen rounds into a car carrying six unarmed black teenagers, two of whom were wounded.
The grainy footage was recorded on the evening of December 22, 2013. The news website The Chicago Reporter obtained the video from former Cook County Judge Andrew Berman, who presided over a criminal case against one of the teens involved in the police shooting.
In the video, a Chicago police officer identified in court filings as Marco Proano is seen opening fire on a car filled with African-American teenagers at 95th and LaSalle streets on Chicago's South Side.
According to court documents, before gunshots rang out, Proano pulled over the vehicle for speeding.
One of the car's occupants suffered a gunshot wound to the shoulder and a bullet grazed his cheek and forehead.
Another boy was hit in his left hip and right heel, and a third teen suffered an injury to his eye when he was forced to the ground by police officers.
Judge Berman, who told the local news outlet that he has seen many grisly crimes over the course of his career, said he found the dashcam video so disturbing that he decided to make it public.
‘You don’t start firing into a car full of unarmed people,’ Berman fumed. ‘You just don’t do that.’
After the shooting, police discovered that the sedan Proano shot up was stolen.
Three of the six teenagers were charged with possession of a stolen motor vehicle.
Judge Berman, who heard the case of one of the accused boys, found him not guilty saying the prosecution failed to show that the defendant knew the car was stolen.
The video was at the center of a federal lawsuit filed on behalf of the three injured teenagers against the City of Chicago, Officer Proano and two of his colleagues.
The two sides in the lawsuit reached a $360,000 settlement back in March, but the City Council still has to approve the payment.
At the request of city attorneys, a federal judge barred plaintiffs and defendants in the lawsuit from releasing the dashcam video, but the ban did not apply to Judge Berman.
According to the Chicago Reporter, Officer Proano, who has a history of complaints against him dating back to 2011, may have violated the Chicago Policy Department’s policy that prohibits cops from 'firing at or into a moving vehicle when the vehicle is the only force used against the sworn member or another person.'
The departmental policy was revised in February, 14 months after the shooting.
Proano has been taken off the streets and assigned to desk duty, but according to the Chicago Reporter, he has not been disciplined in connection to the case.
One of the dozen and a half complaints filed against the officer between 2011 and 2015 involved excessive force, but he was cleared in each case.
Judge Berman said he released the dashcam video hoping that it will force the department to hold Marco Proano accountable for his actions. ‘He shouldn’t be allowed to be out there with a gun,’ Berman said. ‘He has shown callous disregard for human life.’
Chicago Tribune reported, citing a source familiar with the matter, that the case revolving around the dashcam video is now being investigated by the FBI and the US Attorney's Office.
The independent Police Review Authority also has been investigating the shooting for the past 18 months.
On Thursday, the Chicago Police Department released a statement concerning the police-involved shooting. ‘Each time an officer fires their weapon is a serious matter, which is why the city takes two very important steps for each shooting incident: We conduct an independent, civilian-led investigation, and we refer each incident to prosecutors to determine if criminal charges are appropriate.
‘In regard to this incident, the officer was immediately moved off the street and assigned to desk duty, and the matter was referred to state and federal authorities. Due to pending investigations, CPD cannot comment further.’
At the time of the shooting, Pat Camden, a spokesman for Chicago’s police officer union, defended Proano’s actions depicted in the footage, saying that he opened fire because he feared for the life of a backseat passenger who was being dragged by the car as he attempted to get out.
Posted by bussorah at 6:02 PM
Thursday, June 18, 2015
Australia: Cop accused of leaking police station bash footage facing charges
Justice campaigner Renee Eaves with the honest cop
A GOLD Coast police officer accused of leaking video footage showing his colleagues brutally bashing a young dad in a police station basement is facing criminal charges.
Gold Coast chef Noa Begic was repeatedly punched and ground in to the concrete floor of the station’s basement with his hands cuffed behind his back in January 2012.
While two officers responsible for the attack were given a slap over the wrist, the officer who allegedly leaked video footage to The Courier-Mail is now facing charges including misconduct and abuse of public office and fraud.
Rick Flori was a sergeant at Surfers Paradise police station at the time of the incident and his house was raided by officers from the Ethical Standards Command weeks later. He was ‘reassigned’ and has been fighting to clear his name ever since.
Sgt Flori was formally notified of the charges yesterday but vowed to fight them. "I intend on fighting the charges to the full extent of the law," he said in a statement.
Of the four officers involved in the attack, only two ever faced disciplinary action and one of those – a sergeant seen washing away blood with a bucket of water – retired from the service before any findings were made. The officer caught throwing punches was stood down, but has since been reinstated without demotion.
Charges of public nuisance and obstruct police against Mr Begic were eventually dropped.
Mr Begic, who settled out of court in his own action against the QPS, is now prevented from speaking about the incident, but at the time he paid tribute to those who ensured the video footage came to light.
White knight Renee Eaves, who has helped both men in their battles against the QPS, said the charges against Sgt Flori were a disgrace. "There are many good police within the organisation without a voice and intimidated by these types of actions," she said. "They are too scared to report misconduct for fear of workplace harassment or intimidation."
Wednesday, June 17, 2015
New York State must end the era of wrongful convictions
It sets the guilty free to commit further offences
For a decade, New York has failed to enact reform that would address two leading contributors to wrongful conviction: eyewitness misidentification and false confessions. There have been dire consequences.
In addition to innocent New Yorkers being wrongfully convicted, there exists a serious, abiding threat to public safety. Real perpetrators have been identified in 11, or 38%, of New York’s wrongful convictions that were proven through DNA evidence. Five of those real perpetrators went on to commit 11 additional violent crimes, which included three rapes, six murders and two other violent crimes.
Consider the Central Park Five, teenagers who were wrongfully convicted after juries were shown "final" videotapes of false confessions. The "final" videotapes were made after hours of emotionally and physically exhausting unrecorded interrogations. "All the jury saw was that confession ... [not] the 30 hours of interrogation… I just wanted to go home ... [and] told the police what I thought would get me out of there," said Kharey Wise, of the Central Park Five.
If there had been a requirement that the entire custodial interrogation be videotaped, these false confessions might not have occurred at all, or at the least there would have been a record so the jury could have determined whether the confessions were coerced or the police had inadvertently or intentionally fed details of the crime to the teenagers that only the real perpetrator would know.
There is also the case of Anthony Capozzi, of Buffalo, who was misidentified and wrongfully convicted of two sexual assaults. Even though Capozzi did not match the description of the rapist, he was placed in a lineup and misidentified. He spent 20 years incarcerated before being exonerated.
In these cases and others in New York, there were real perpetrators who remained free. In the Central Park Five case, the real perpetrator committed three additional rapes, and one murder; and in Capozzi's case, the real assailant committed three additional murders.
Misidentification or false confession played a role in nearly all of the 29 wrongful convictions in New York that were proven by DNA evidence. But New York can act to prevent such horrific injustices and acts of violence from occurring. Before the session ends, the legislature should pass S5875/A8157, sponsored by Sen. Michael Nozzolio (R-Seneca Falls) and Assemblyman Joe Lentol (D-Brooklyn).
The bill would mandate police interrogations to be videotaped from start to finish, and would give law enforcement the resources and training to use eyewitness identification practices that have been proven to reduce the chances of misidentification. (The proposal is also supported by the Innocence Project, the New York State Bar Association and the District Attorneys Association of the State of New York.)
Nearly half the nation's states, red and blue, require interrogations to be recorded. It's clear that New York must do more to protect against wrongful convictions. New York has the third most DNA exonerations nationally behind Illinois and Texas.
Wrongful conviction reform is about protecting all New Yorkers. Why would we let another session pass before fixing what everyone knows is broken?
Tuesday, June 16, 2015
UK: PR worker, 22, who thought she was being raped when London police officers stripped her and left her naked in a cell while CCTV broadcast her ordeal gets £37,000 damages
It looks like a bitchy dickless Tracy was behind this disgrace. So the cops will go out of their way to protect her
A PR worker who thought she was being raped when Metropolitan Police officers stripped her and left her naked in a CCTV monitored cell has won £37,000 in damages.
The woman, who was 22 at the time of the incident, had been with friends at The Supper Club in Notting Hill, west London, when she says her drink was spiked, leaving her 'distressed and confused.'
She was picked up by police and taken to a police station to be held on suspicion of a public order offence after 'running into the road'.
Once in her cell at a police station in Chelsea, five officers stripped her of her clothes and cut off her bra before leaving her naked for half-an-hour. Her ordeal was captured on CCTV which was broadcast to the station custody desk for others to see.
The woman, who is now 26, never faced criminal charges for the alleged offence due to 'insufficient evidence.'
Speaking anonymously, she said: 'My drink had been spiked and the police should have helped me. 'Instead I remember being in a cell with strange men putting their hands on me and taking my clothes off. 'I believed I was being raped and remember screaming in fear.'
It has since emerged the woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was stripped by four male and one female officer.
After having every item of her clothing removed, including her underwear which was cut off, she was left naked in the cell all the while under the watch of CCTV cameras.
She later awoke in hospital to find a police officer at her bedside.
Earlier, she claimed one officer tried to dissuade her from seeking legal advice by telling her she would sooner leave the police station without it.
Police rules state strip searches should only be carried out by members of the same sex and should not take place in cells monitored by CCTV. Detainees should only be stripped of half their clothing at any time.
An Independent Police Complaints Commission investigation found that officers believed the woman was under the influence of drugs and had reason to suspect she was hiding substances 'in her clothing'.
But it revealed no record of the strip search had been recorded by the custody sergeant on duty.
The IPCC recommended the custody sergeant face a gross misconduct hearing and that the five officers involved be subject to misconduct charges.
In a 2013 statement, Commissioner Derek Campbell said: 'This incident caused a great deal of distress to the victim.
'I find it difficult to understand why police officers think they have the right to strip a young woman of all her clothes, leaving her naked for half an hour and then expose her to being filmed. I am sure, like the complainant, the public will want to understand how this was allowed to happen. 'I look forward to the misconduct process getting the answers that are needed.'
However none of the officers ever faced such proceedings. The custody sergeant faced a lesser charge of misconduct. She was later told to familiarise herself with strip search rules and encouraged to seek guidance from her line manager in future.
The Metropolitan Police has not issued an apology to the victim who now lives abroad.
Speaking on her behalf, Claire Hilder of Hodge Jones and Allen condemned the force's handling of the case.
'My client was subjected to a humiliating ordeal at a time when she was clearly vulnerable and in need of medical attention.
'The officers involved acted in clear breach of professional regulations, taking an unjustified, callous and cavalier approach to the strip-search. This incident has caused her significant and lasting distress.
'These violations were totally unjustified and whilst we welcome this settlement my client has as yet received no apology. She has been failed at every stage of her interaction with the Metropolitan Police Service.'
The woman described her treatment as 'unacceptable' but said she was now ready to 'get on with' life.
When contacted about the case, a Metropolitan Police spokesman said: 'The MPS settled a civil claim on Tuesday 28 April. 'The claim arose from an arrest in March 2011. Officers arrested a woman for a public order offence.
'She was charged and bailed to court for four counts of assault on a constable. The matter was discontinued due to insufficient evidence.'
The force has not responded to questions over why it did not heed the advice of the IPCC but said 'misconduct proceedings are ongoing in all cases.'
Human rights campaigners have slammed the force's handling of the case, describing the incident as a 'gross violation'.
Shami Chakrabarti, Director of Liberty, said: 'This case represents a gross violation of a young woman's rights to privacy and not to be degraded under the Human Rights Act.
'It's one thing to settle a damages claim, but the women of London need to trust their police - and they will expect an apology and an explanation as to why misconduct proceedings have not been pursued.'
Posted by bussorah at 9:45 PM
Monday, June 15, 2015
Innocence Project in Ireland too
"There is no question there are wrongful convictions all over the world. There’s no country that is free from wrongful convictions and no country that would not benefit from making its criminal justice system more reliable and more just. It’s a worldwide issue," says American civil rights lawyer Peter Neufeld. "We are trying to identify the primary causes of wrongful convictions and begin to address them throughout the world."
In 1992, Neufeld co-founded the Innocence Project with lawyer Barry Scheck in New York. The project is based at the Benjamin N Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University, where Scheck is a professor.
The project uses DNA technology to free innocent people, over 300 so far in the US, and it is now an international organisation.
"It started as a small project in New York. We now have over 40 in the United States. In addition to the one in Ireland, there are 14 projects in other countries, and it’s expanding. Now there are Innocence Projects in Asia, Africa, Europe, North and South America and Australia," says Neufeld.
"As we move increasingly towards globalisation, countries want to become more guided by the rule of law in order to advance themselves internationally. One way to do that is to demonstrate that your criminal justice system is fair and just. Having innocence projects, like the one in Ireland, advances that considerably."
Causes of convictions Neufeld says one of the primary causes of wrongful convictions worldwide is false confession, and fewer than half of the states in the US record police interrogations.
"That’s a big problem. The way you deal with the confession issue is to require that all interrogations are videotaped from beginning to end, to have a neutral and objective record of who said what to whom," he said.
"It’s not just about civil rights and human rights for the wrongfully convicted. We’re also about improving the system of investigation to improve public safety, to make sure police don’t go down the wrong road and get an innocent guy" rather than the real perpetrator.
Neufeld and Scheck met in the 1970s when they were both working as public defenders in the Bronx.
"Then we continued to work together on a variety of cases, many of which involved the intersection of science and law," says Neufeld. They saw the advent of DNA profiling as an opportunity to re-examine old convictions where biological material collected at the crime scene was still available.
"We knew from the beginning that this science was going to expose that the criminal justice system was riddled with errors for a whole host of reasons," says Scheck who, along with Neufeld, famously served as co-counsel on OJ Simpson’s defence team.
Neufeld says that, while DNA evidence is reliable, other types of forensic science are not as robust. "When we look at the US, we find that 50 per cent of the wrongful convictions involve a misapplication of forensic science."
This includes the forensic science used to convict the Birmingham Six (who were wrongfully convicted of the IRA pub bombings in Birmingham in the 1970s).
"Initially the prosecution was predicated on the notion that you could swab someone’s hands and see if they had certain chemicals consistent with explosives. Subsequent research showed that you could also test positive if you had unwrapped a pack of cigarettes or playing cards," said Neufeld.
Wrongful convictions can also be caused by eyewitness misidentification, ineffective assistance of counsel, jailhouse snitches and police and prosecutorial misconduct.
"When you put them all together, you see the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. It’s a whole system that has to be transformed. We’re doing it through science, but all of these institutions have to be reconstructed and reimagined," says Scheck. Irish Innocence Project "There’s always been enormous interest [in the Innocence Project] in Ireland. The Irish have a natural affinity for those who fight the state and who fight arbitrary miscarriages of justice, which makes sense in light of Irish history," says Scheck.
The movement reached Ireland in 2009, when the Irish Innocence Project (IIP) was launched at Griffith College by its Dean of Law, David Langwallner.
It made headlines earlier this year for its work in the Harry Gleeson case. Gleeson became the first recipient of a posthumous pardon from the State, almost 75 years after he was executed for a murder he did not commit.
The IIP investigates and seeks to overturn cases by finding new or newly discovered evidence proving there has been a miscarriage of justice.
The IIP only helps people who claim factual innocence and does not work to overturn convictions based on legal technicalities.
Currently, 21 students from Griffith College, Trinity College and Dublin City University are working on 30 cases under the supervision of nine pro-bono lawyers.
Posted by bussorah at 10:30 PM
Sunday, June 14, 2015
MI: Victim in wrongful conviction case too afraid to talk about the real rapist, mom says
A mother whose live-in boyfriend allegedly raped her young daughter said she spent nearly 25 years believing that a teenage neighbor - a man prosecutors now say spent 17 years in prison for a crime he did not commit - had sexually assaulted the 10-year-old girl.
Aurelias Marshall, convicted Monday of the 1990 murder of Joel Battaglia, was living with the girl and her mother on Wealthy Street SE in 1991.
The mother described Marshall as a violent, crack-addicted monster with multiple personalities, who beat her daughter in front of her and convinced the girl to lie about her sexual assault. The mother, in the trial two weeks ago, admitted to being a crack addict and part-time prostitute at that time
After the rape, the girl, in a trial prosecuted by Kent County and upheld by the Michigan Court of Appeals, pointed the finger at then 17-year-old Quentin Lavell Carter.
Carter, a neighbor of the girl, would spend 17 years in prison for first-degree criminal sexual conduct.
During that time, police continued to investigate the murder of Battaglia, and circled back to Marshall as a suspect in that slaying. It was within that investigation that police say they determined it was Marshall who raped the girl.
On Wednesday, Kent County Prosecutor William Forsyth put out a statement on Carter's wrongful 1992 conviction. He now is assisting the 40-year-old Grand Rapids man in filing a motion to set aside that conviction.
Carter was convicted by a jury and he was sentenced to six to 20 years in prison, Forsyth said. Forsyth said he has met with Carter and apologized on behalf of the prosecutor's office. Reached by phone, Carter has declined to comment.
Authorities told the girl's mother what they learned of the wrongful conviction in October, but she did not believe it. She believed police were lying to her in order to give her motivation to testify against Marshall, of whom she was mortally afraid.
The mother said she and her daughter had been very close until a few years ago when the two drifted apart. She said she still talked occasionally to her daughter, but the girl never revealed the truth.
She said the rape was not a subject her daughter wanted to talk about, but when she did, she claimed it was Carter who committed the crime.
"I don't blame her for that, I blame him – she was a little girl," the mother said, sitting on the front stoop of her Grand Rapids home on Thursday, June 11. "This man could have killed us."
The mother said after leaving Marshall in the 1990s, she wanted to stay away from the man she said would abuse both mother and daughter. She'd managed to hide all his crimes from police and even those close to him.
"He would say to me 'I will drop this little b----," the mother said referring to Marshall's threats to kill her daughter if the mother did not do as he wanted.
"He had a couple of different personalities," she said. "Reverend, charming neighbor, monster...No, monster's not good enough – beast."
She said even as he was raping, murdering and selling crack, Marshall told people he wanted to be a pastor. "He knew the Bible from one end to the other," she said. "He convinced me to bring my kids to church."
The mother said when she learned that Carter was innocent, she wept and she wants to talk to her daughter, who is apparently dodging her calls and texts.
"I don't want her to think I'm mad at her," the mother said. "We need to sit down and cry about this. This is something you have been keeping in for a long time."
The mother said even after they broke up, Marshall would track her down and would walk out in front of her home, presumably as a reminder that he could find her.
She said she does not know why Carter was chosen as the patsy for Marshall's crime, describing the 17-year-old as nothing more than a boy from the neighborhood. "I feel sorry for that boy now," the mother said. "She had everybody convinced it was him."
She said she cannot understand how this charade went on for so long. "I was asking myself last night, 'Where the hell was I?" the mother said. "What was I doing?"
Posted by bussorah at 10:12 PM
Saturday, June 13, 2015
Trigger-happy British cop kills man who was doing nothing but sit in a car
The moment a police marksman shot a suspected armed robber eight times in 2.1 seconds was shown in court today after being caught on a video camera.
Azelle Rodney died after he was hit in the head and body by six bullets fired by firearms officer Anthony Long, who opened fire 0.06 seconds after pulling up alongside him, the Old Bailey heard.
The policeman claimed that Mr Rodney, 24, was reaching for a gun, but jurors were told that Long did not have time to see what the suspected robber was doing.
The shooting, which took place in Mill Hill, north London in April 2005, could be pieced together in detail because it was recorded for training purposes by an officer with a hand-held video camera in the police car behind the defendant's.
Footage shown to the jury today showed how four police cars pursued a Volkswagen Golf carrying Mr Rodney and two other men, then boxed it in using a 'hard stop' operation.
An unidentified man could be heard saying 'Sweet as, sweet as, sweet as' while Long fired eight times at close range through the Golf's open window, killing Mr Rodney.
Opening the case, prosecutor Max Hill QC said Mr Rodney was in the back of the Golf, with two men - Wesley Lovell and Frank Graham - in the front.
The Metropolitan Police had received information that the car contained firearms - possibly a machine gun - and the occupants were on their way to commit an armed robbery, he said.
The officer in charge gave the order for the firearms team to be dispatched to make a 'hard stop', forcing the Golf to a halt by boxing it in.
Long, 58, who was the front-seat passenger in the unmarked vehicle which came alongside the Golf, opened fire on Mr Rodney with his police-issue Heckler and Koch G36C Carbine.
Mr Hill told jurors: 'The majority of those shots caused fatal injuries to Azelle Rodney, culminating in the final two shots which were fired into the top of Azelle Rodney's head.
'The prosecution say that it was not necessary for Mr Long to open fire upon the Golf and Azelle Rodney. Therefore, we say, Mr Long was not acting lawfully when he opened fire.
'That being so, Mr Long's actions in deliberately killing Azelle Rodney, when it was not necessary to do so, make Mr Long guilty of murder.'
The court heard Long, whose call sign was E7, joined the force in 1975 and had 30 years' experience before the fatal shooting.
Mr Hill told the jury to bear in mind that being a police officer is an important - and at times dangerous - job which can also be stressful.
But he said that 'with onerous duties there come onerous responsibilities' and it was 'imperative' that specialist firearms officers act professionally and did not open fire in a public place except when absolutely necessary.
Mr Hill said: 'Whether through misjudgment, panic or some other reason, Mr Long opened fire and took another life when the circumstances at the moment he pulled the trigger did not justify him in so doing.
'Azelle Rodney and the other men in the Golf were embarked on criminal activity that day, and they deserved to be stopped, to be arrested, and to be dealt with for any crimes they had committed.
'They did not deserve to be shot and killed, and it was not necessary that this should happen to Azelle Rodney.'
The court heard that the evidence suggested the gap between the car pulling up and Long pulling the trigger of his semi-automatic carbine was 0.06 of a second.
Mr Hill told jurors: 'Mr Long opened fire extremely quickly as the Bravo car came to a halt. So quickly, we say, that he cannot have taken any time to observe anything happening inside the Golf before he opened fire.
'The time gap from the first shot to the eighth and final shot was 2.1 seconds. He fired the first six shots in just over 1.1 seconds. He then paused for just under three-quarters of a second before firing the seventh and eight shots. When firing, the gap between each pull on the trigger was about two-tenths of a second.'
The first two shots missed, with one lodging in the metalwork of the Golf and the other fragmenting as it hit the door frame. The third shot hit Mr Rodney's right upper arm and shoulder. Bullet four hit his back as the victim started to fall.
The next two shots entered his head around his right ear and the final two shots, fired after a pause, went through the top of Mr Rodney's head and travelled down towards the base of his skull, the jury was told.
As soon as they realised what had happened, firearms officers tried to give first aid to Mr Rodney, but it was too late.
The court heard that Long's gun was a short-barrelled semi-automatic rifle and therefore the trigger had to be pulled for each shot fired.
Members of Mr Rodney's family sat in court as the last moments of his life were played out in the police video on screens alongside a computer simulation.
After the shooting, police recovered three firearms from the Golf, but only one was loaded.
As well as a deactivated American Colt .45 pistol, inside a rucksack behind the front seat was an unloaded Russian Baikal pistol wrapped in a scarf and a small double-barrelled fob gun loaded with one live round and hidden in a sock.
Mr Hill told the court there were other items in the car - including a pair of handcuffs - which suggested that, as suspected, they were planning to rob a gang of Colombian drug dealers.
The prosecutor said: 'On speaking to supervising officers immediately after the incident, Mr Long said that he fired at the suspect, Azelle Rodney, believing that he was going for a gun.
'He also said that he had seen the rear seat passenger move in a manner that he believed placed the lives of himself and his colleagues in immediate danger. He claimed that he took the necessary action to protect himself and his colleagues.'
In a note made a few hours after the incident Long claimed 'as a result of intelligence and the behaviour and movements of the rear seat passenger, I believed that he was about to open fire with a fully automatic weapon'.
In a full written statement a few days later, the officer said: 'I saw the rear seat passenger apparently leaning forward in his seat holding the front passenger seat.
'Suddenly he ducked down and I was looking at the top of his head, he appeared to be reaching down onto the passenger seat or floor well.
'I feared that he was reaching for a weapon, I held my fire waiting to see what he would do next. Suddenly his head popped up and he appeared to look through the front windscreen, his shoulders were hunched.
'Everything about his actions and his body language led me to believe that he had picked up a firearm and was preparing to shoot a fully automatic firearm but I still couldn't see a weapon.
'I believed that I couldn't delay my decision to fire any longer. We had been told that he had access to fully automatic weapons and I felt that my colleagues were in imminent danger. 'I opened fire through the closed nearside window of the Golf and the window shattered. I fired several shots in quick succession. I could see no effect from my rounds on the suspect.
'The remaining glass in the window was obscuring my vision and I moved slightly and saw the suspect's head and shoulders upright in the vehicle. 'I fired several more shots and he appeared to pitch forward and out of my view across the rear of the seat. I immediately left the vehicle.'
But Mr Hill told jurors that there was not enough time for everything that Long claimed to have happened. 'We say that the movement of the vehicles during the hard stop, the restricted visibility and the rapid timing of events mean that Mr Long cannot have seen what he claimed,' he said.
'This must mean that he has tried to explain his decision to open fire, to justify his action after the event.
'Having analysed Mr Long's account given in justification for opening fire, we say that you can be sure that it does not represent the truth.
'That being so, you can be sure that Mr Long had no lawful justification for shooting Azelle Rodney. That means that Mr Long must be guilty of murder.'
Long denies murder. The trial continues.
Posted by bussorah at 8:35 PM
Friday, June 12, 2015
Family of man shot dead on London Underground by police claim 'no-one has been held to account' in legal challenge
The refusal to prosecute this gross misbehaviour -- killing a man who was doing nothing but sit peacefully on a train -- is all about covering up for the incompetent and dithering Lesbian in charge of the operation -- Cressida Dick. You have the whole armour of righteousness if you are a homosexual in Britain today
No one has been held to account over the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes, his family's lawyer said today at the European Court of Human Rights as they challenged the decision not to bring charges over his death.
Relatives of the Brazilian took their case to the Strasbourg court's Grand Chamber almost ten years after he was mistaken for a suicide bomber and shot dead by police marksmen on a London Tube train.
Mr de Menezes, 27, was shot dead at Stockwell tube station in London in July 2005, two weeks after the 7/7 bombings which killed 52 commuters.
Lawyers for the family argue that the assessment used by prosecutors in deciding that no individual should be charged over the 2005 shooting is incompatible with Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which guarantees the right to life.
They claim the evidential test applied by the Crown Prosecution Service - that there should be sufficient evidence for a 'realistic prospect' of conviction - is too high a threshold.
It means that, in effect, the decision not to bring a prosecution was based on a conclusion that there was less than a 50 per cent chance of conviction, they say.
The case has been lodged by Patricia da Silva, a cousin of Mr de Menezes.
In front of a panel of more than 20 judges, Hugh Southey QC, representing Mr de Menezes's family, said: 'This is a case in which an entirely innocent man was deliberately shot by agents of the state. 'The Government accepts in essence, there were systemic organisation failures but no individuals have been prosecuted. 'No individual has been held to account.'
Clare Montgomery QC, representing the British government, told the court there was 'huge operational pressure' on police at the time of Mr de Menezes's death in the wake of the July 7 bombings.
She said: 'Both senior officers in command had virtually no sleep.
'Fifty two people had been killed on the 7th of July. On 21st July, the day before this event, four bombs had been set in Tube trains and buses and there was a hunt on for the four people who placed them, which was what led to this tragic event.'
When the Crown Prosecution Service is deciding whether or not to bring charges in a particular case, they apply two tests - one of the evidence, and one of the public interest.
First, they consider whether the evidence allows a 'realistic prospect of conviction' - meaning that there is a more than 50 per cent chance that the defendant will be found guilty in court.
This is a less strict threshold than that faced by a jury or magistrates' court, who can only convict a defendant if they are completely sure he or she is guilty.
The CPS then rules whether or not prosecuting the suspect would be in the public interest - but this stage takes place only once the evidence test is passed.
The family of Jean Charles de Menezes argue that the CPS guidelines are unnecessarily stringent and breach the right to life guaranteed by the European Convention on Human Rights.
If they win their case, the Government could be forced to change the rules for bringing prosecutions over incidents involving someone's death, meaning that hundreds of cases could be reopened by campaigning relatives.
A year after Mr de Menezes was shot dead the CPS ruled that there was not enough evidence to bring a prosecution against anyone for his death, but the Metropolitan Police was later fined for breaching health and safety rules.
An inquest jury later rejected the police account of the shooting and returned an open verdict. The coroner had already ruled out a verdict of unlawful killing.
In 2009, the family of the electrician agreed an undisclosed settlement with Scotland Yard.
Today's hearing comes more than seven years after the original application was lodged at the European Court of Human Rights. The claim is also challenging the definition of self-defence.
Before the hearing, Ms de Silva said: 'For 10 years our family has been campaigning for justice for Jean because we believe that police officers should have been held to account for his killing. Jean's death is a pain that never goes away for us.
'Nothing can bring him back but we hope that this legal challenge will change the law so that no other family has to face what we did.'
If the family win their case, the CPS will have to reconsider its decision about Mr de Menezes' death, but they will not necessarily have to bring charges because they could rule that there is not enough evidence for a prosecution even using a lower threshold.
However, a defeat for the CPS in this case could force prosecutors to review their decisions in hundreds of similar cases where no charges were brought over an individual's death.
The case was adjourned following the lawyers' arguments, with judgment reserved to a later date
Posted by bussorah at 5:35 PM