Help the UK's Wrongly Convicted Tuesday in London
Tim King Salem-News.com
Stand for justice at JENGbA Campaign Fundraiser; sometimes justice is not blind but the wrongly convicted are...
CD cover of Rapper Goddaz has Jordan Cunliffe's picture above the letter A. Goddaz will be joined by Alabama 3 and others to be announced for the special 26 June event.
(SALEM / LONDON)
- By the time you are done reading this account of a wrongly convicted boy in England; his mother's pursuit of justice, and her support from one of the UK's most famous wrongly convicted men, you just might be asking where you can sign up to help.
We all must remember that one single victory for a human being's injustice, is a battle won in the war for human rights, and that is in many respects what it is coming down to.
Our newsroom was advised of an upcoming fundraiser that is worth paying attention to. It is a call to assist an important cause for justice in the UK, and I hope people in the London area get out and support this group in their mission for justice by attending the scheduled event referenced below.
Janet Cunliffe is battling the legal system on behalf of her son Jordan, who she contends, was falsely convicted of Murder.
Myself and Paddy Hill (one of the Birmingham Six who was released on Appeal after 16 long years in prison) are guest speakers. We are hoping to raise money for the JENGbA Campaign as well as raising awareness to the abuse of the law of Joint Enterprise and the horror of being a Miscarriage of Justice as Paddy Hill was and my son Jordan Cunliffe's now is.
Both Paddy Hill and Janet Cunliffe have a great deal to say about civil and legal injustice in the UK today. In fact Mr. Hill can talk about the absence of it in ways that would likely make your skin crawl.
His story is one of false conviction under extreme prejudice, and eventual appeal and freedom. This political prisoner was called a terrorist, and then terrorized for more than a decade and a half by his own government. As the record would later show, Paddy Hill and the others were victims of a terrible miscarriage of justice.
As Ms. Cunliffe mentioned, he is one of the 'Birmingham Six'- men convicted for being Provisional IRA (Irish Republican Army) members complicit in the infamous 'pub bombings' of 21 November 1974 in Birmingham, England that left 21 people dead, and 182 injured.
To this day, it is not clear whether the IRA was even involved in the incident, and it is a fact that Dáithí Ó Conaill, a member of the IRA's Army Council, denied any claim to the act the day following the deadly bombings:
If IRA members had carried-out such attacks, they would be court-martialled and could face the death penalty. The IRA has clear guidelines for waging its war. Any attack on non-military installations must be preceded by a 30-minute warning so that no innocent civilians are endangered.
At the time, Wikipedia states, IRA sources in London said that the bombs might have been planted by Ulster loyalists "bent on stirring-up a wave of anti-Irish feeling in Britain".
The political and media attention allowed the British occupational war in Northern Ireland to escalate tensions under the banner of terrorism, and these men were prosecuted for a crime that another group they had absolutely no connection to, actually claimed responsibility... the small militant group, "Manchester Brigade of Red Flag 74"; an organization that reportedly broke away from the International Marxist Group and claimed to have about 500 members.
The bombings brought a wave of anti-Irish sentiment; attacks were waged on members of the Irish community in Great Britain, and then just days after the bombings, the 'Prevention of Terrorism Act' was introduced by the British Government.
The Birmingham Six faced charges based on circumstantial evidence, for murder and conspiracy to cause explosions. Three men were charged with conspiracy and two also faced charges of unlawful possession of explosives.
Convicted and sentenced to life in what a higher court later determined to be a fabricated police case, he and the other men: Hugh Callaghan, Patrick Joseph Hill, Gerard Hunter, Richard McIlkenny, William Power and John Walker, who were physically abused by police and sentenced to life in prison, waited sixteen years behind bars for a successful appeal.
A police superintendent and two other police officers would be charged with perjury and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice, Wikipedia explains.
Unlike the Birmingham 6, the police were never prosecuted.
Paddy Hill eventually found his freedom, but for Janet Cunliffe and her son, the pain generated by this same legal system drags on. Jordan, a teenage youth, is serving a life sentence for Murder as one of three teens convicted in the death of a father that tangled with the boys, who reportedly had been drinking, after his daughter told him that they were vandalising a garden; and lost his life in a scuffle with the boys.
While her son was convicted by the courts in the death of Garry Newlove, the boy was prosecuted according to Joint Enterprise; an archaic doctrine introduced hundreds of years ago to outlaw duelling- of all things.
"It means anyone associated with someone who commits a crime can be convicted alongside them for the same offence," JOINT ENTERPRISE: NOT GUILTY by ASSOCIATION (JENGbA), the group holding the upcoming fundraising event, explains.
The case against the youths coincided with a public outcry against teen drinking. By all accounts, the boys involved in this crime were made into examples of how harsh court administered penalties can be, but none of it matters of one of the boys is innocent.
Jordan Cunliffe was 15-years old at the time of this terrible, tragic event that robbed the life of a father of three. Without question, there are no words to describe this callous and tragic event that did not cost one life, but four if you think about it.
The problem with all of it, is that Jordan is legally blind, and he says he didn't lay a hand on Mr. Newlove. The prosecution contended that he was guilty - that he could see the crime, and encouraged it.
Yet as the Guardian wrote of the incident:
- For years, he has suffered from acute
keratoconus, an eye condition. A medical report produced at the trial
stated: "He is eligible to be registered as a blind person and is unable
to perform any tasks for which vision is necessary." The report was
accepted by the prosecution and read to the jury.
He was still convicted in an emotionally charged trial. The 2007 incident was used as an example by the Conservative party's David Cameron, then leader of the opposition, who pointed to the death of Mr. Newlove as a symbol of "broken Britain".
The Guardian described the widow Helen Newlove's rage against the three convicted youths as "unrelenting".
- Newlove, who supports capital punishment – she
told reporters in 2008 that the UK should have the death penalty –
believes the trio convicted of killing her husband should never be
released from prison.
While it is always natural for a mother to rally for her son, the conviction of Jordan Cunliffe, based on the existing evidence, truly seems full of holes.
From my perspective, it appears that he was convicted under a response to public pressure, rather than on the actual merits of the case.
Baroness Newlove, the victim's wife, continually appears in the media saying her husband was kicked in the head forty times and that my son stood and watched while this happened. This simply is not true.
Garry Newlove died due to a single blow to the neck and this was inflicted by one person. As Jordan wore no shoes and had no marks to his hands or his feet, this proves he played no part in any attack, and more importantly as Jordan was blind, to stand and watch as Baroness Newlove claims is something he most certainly could not do.
Jordan's mother says the case is an important one that shows just how unjust this legal principle is. It brings into the picture a unique problem: victim's families do not always understand what is happening during the trial; who is guilty or why. A select committee brief inquiry recently concluded this legal principle is "confusing for juries".
If a blind 15-year old child can can slip through the net then this can happen to absolutely anyone. People need to start realising just how vulnerable they are if this law stays as it is. People need to show their support and speak out, no one should be made to take responsibility for someone elses actions, especially if they if they have no knowledge of that other persons actions, and the public need to do this now so that this does not have to happen to them or anyone else.
Janet stresses that the Tuesday, 26th June event, that will be held from 7:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. at The Tabernacle, 35 Powis Square, London, WA112AY, is extremely important.
A symbol of the growing awareness of the situation facing so many, is the fact that the Rapper Goddaz has written his latest single about Joint Enterprise, and he will be performing it at the Tabernacle and releasing it on the same day. As a staunch supporter of the campaign he will be donating all the proceeds to the JENGbA Campaign. Click image of the CD cover below, or here to download full size PDF with more details about the 26 June event. More entertainment is planned for this special evening; Alabama 3 will appear, along with other high profile guests.
Janet Cunliffe concluded by saying, "I know it will not be possible for everyone to attend, but please be aware, donate to the campaign or inform anyone you think may be interested."
JOINT ENTERPRISE: NOT GUILTY by ASSOCIATION (JENGbA) is a grassroots campaign
supporting prisoners who have been convicted under joint enterprise but who are not
guilty of the index offence. We are all volunteers who have a loved one in prison for
something they did not do. We are campaigning to highlight the abuse of "joint
enterprise" to convict innocent people, including children, who are serving
mandatory LIFE sentences.
What is JOINT ENTERPRISE?Joint Enterprise is an archaic doctrine that was introduced hundreds of
years ago to outlaw duelling. It means anyone associated with someone who
commits a crime can be convicted alongside them for the same offence.PLEASE SUPPORT US – see our website www.jointenterprise.coOr come along to our fundraiser in London on Tuesday 26th