Blog entry 24th July 2020
Since my application to appeal my conviction was accepted by the Court of Appeal (CoA) for consideration there have been several questionable occurrences:-
- A letter from the CoA was given to me severely damaged. One long edge neatly slit open, the first (key) page 'missing', the remainder then soaked so as to render it almost unreadable.
- Police turned up to the prison wanting to 'speak' to me, without having booked a visit with the prison first, or having sent me a letter to inform me that they were intending to visit beforehand.
- Another letter from the CoA given to me by the prison, open, in a plain brown prison envelope.
- A third letter to me from the CoA given to me open and 8 days after it had been posted, making it impossible for me to carry out the CoA's request in the time frame set out by the CoA.
Of course certain factions will or would claim that these occurrences are purely coincidental. Despite these questionable occurrences I am doing all that I can to work with the CoA to move my appeal successfully forwards.
I have now been given a date for my first parole board hearing (Thursday 17th September 2020). This now means that my prison law solicitor and I can begin to adequately prepare for it. In truth I expect very little from it. Having spent 20 years on this side of the razor wire I am all too aware that Cat-A lifers who maintain their innocence rarely get positive outcomes from parole hearings. In fact, despite extensive research I can find no record of a Cat-A lifer who maintains their innocence ever having been given open conditions or release successfully at their first parole.
In fact, for most Cat-A lifers who maintain innocence their best chance of release is in a coffin. Regardless of what the law, rules and guidelines state we Cat-A lifer PMI's (Prisoner Maintaining Innocence) are judged/viewed as posing a higher risk than those who admit guilt for the crimes they are responsible for. This is why there are many Cat-A lifers (PMI's) who are ten-plus years over their tariff expiry date.
Of course, my just writing these truths is viewed as 'subversive' and manipulative by the Prison Service and its report writers. Speaking out gets us labelled in this way and viewed as being 'challenging' and 'disruptive' to the system. Attacks of free and honest speech in this way is typical by those whose actions are being exposed by open commentary on an issue, and only serves to evidence how far those whom the criticism is directed at, and whose actions are being exposed will go to in an attempt to silence their critics. Just because I am a prisoner (albeit wrongly convicted), it does not mean that I have lost my right to free speech. Nor will I be intimidated into silence over issues that need to be addressed in open forums and discussion.