Blog entry 24th August 2020
Progression of my case with the Court of Appeal (CoA) is currently delayed by my former appeal solicitors Wells Burcombe.
On 3 separate occasions I have written to Wells Burcombe requesting that they send the CoA the documents and evidence being requested by the CoA. Wells Burcombe have yet to answer any one of these letters. Wells Burcombe have also failed to respond to an e-mail direct from the CoA requesting that they release these materials. This disengagement by Wells Burcombe in the appeal process is exactly why so many of us who have been wrongly convicted end up spending decades in prison for crimes that we haven't committed.
My next step will be to lodge a formal complaint against Wells Burcombe for obstructing the advancement of my appeal. Their disengagement also begs the question as to just how much real effort they put in to pursuing my appeal whilst entrusted with it. I would advise anyone pursuing an appeal against conviction to carefully consider other options before instructing Wells Burcombe Solicitors.
Fortunately, my case worker at the CoA is being very understanding of the current obstruction to moving my case forwards.
I won the damages viability hearing against the Ministry of Justice (MoJ), for my civil claim for their obstruction of my studies, and breach of my successful 2011 high court judicial review. In response the MoJ have applied for another order to strike out my claim. Thing is, they've tried this once before using all but identical arguments. That application was dismissed by the court. I have now entered a rebuttal argument, including that fact, to the court and await the courts response.
Media avenues often cite moral and public outrage that prisoners can bring civil claims for damages against the MoJ and prison system. What this position misses is that if a prisoners claim is successful, it is only because the MoJ and prison in question has broken the rules and, or law. Or, it has abused a prisoners fundamental rights. It also means that the internal prison complaints system, including the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman has failed in their responsibilities.
This is where the media and acclaimed 'public outrage' should be directed at. Not the fact that prisoners, regardless of their convictions have the right to seek justice through the courts when the prison system fails (usually in an easily avoidable ways).
My parole hearing had been set for September 17th. Upon my solicitors request this has now been deferred for a short period. This is so my solicitor can instruct a psychologist to write an up to date report.