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Michael Mansfield QC - Memoirs and Lies

John Bowden V Michael Mansfield, Round 5

Lawrence Kershen disowns John Bowden


From: Lawrence Kershen Q.C.
(Contact details withheld)

To John Bowden
HMP Perth
3 Edinburgh Road

Dear Mr Bowden

I have now received your letter of 16th July. I have also seen copies of a number of documents apparently sent on your behalf to various recipients, including newspapers, the Home Office and the Attorney General.

It may be that this has been done without your knowledge or consent, in which case I would like to know the circumstances. On the face of it, however, the publication of this confidential material has been caused or allowed by you.

In your letter you said you did not accept the limits to publication that Mr Mansfield was asking for, and invited my response. Rather than allow me the opportunity to respond, let alone go back to him to negotiate further, it seems you have taken matters into your own hands, and further have deliberately made public my private correspondence with you.

In these circumstances, as you will have known, your actions have breached both the fundamental principles of the mediation process, and the explicit agreement you made with me when I agreed to assist you and Michael Mansfield.

This has of course destroyed any prospect of achieving a resolution that is mutually acceptable to you both. It has also broken the trust that I thought had been established between us. And it has made it impossible for me to continue to act as a neutral third party.

While I understand the extreme feelings that you may experience in the situation you are in, you will perhaps understand that to give them free rein in this way is destructive of what you said you wanted to achieve, and the relationships that might have been built.

No doubt you will contact me if you have been the innocent victim in all this.

Otherwise I regard the process I undertook as at an end and withdraw from it, and do not expect to have further correspondence with you.

Yours Sincerely,

Lawrence Kershen


Reply from John Bowden

Dear Mr Kershen,

I'm sorry that you seem so obviously angry and personally aggrieved by my releasing into the public domain Michael Mansfield's admission that what he wrote about me in his book was untrue. As a lawyer who has obviously built a career on a belief and duty in establishing natural justice and defending those wrongfully accused of crimes, I would have thought, however, that you would have been more understanding of my desire to publicly clear my name of the crimes Mr Mansfield so very publicly accused me of. Clearly not.

You infer that I betrayed your trust by publicly exposing the lies Mr Mansfield wrote about me in his book and I say to you that what you feel in that regard is nothing compared to the feeling of betrayal and abuse I felt when first reading what Mr Mansfield wrote about me in his book, a book published and distributed around the world.

My intention was always to publicly reveal the truth that Michael Mansfield had manufactured lies about me for the purpose of glorifying his image in his book, and I think that I have now achieved that. If that angers you then one wonders if your loyalty to Mr Mansfield was always more important to you than the pursuit of truth in this matter.

Yours sincerely,

John Bowden
HMP Perth
3 Edinburgh Road

John Bowden v Michael Mansfield, Round 4, Mr. Mansfield fesses up

I received the enclosed letter from Lawence Kershen today, which as I'm sure you'll agree makes very interesting reading.

Of course there is no possible way that I'm going to agree to Kershen's or Mansfield's condition that I keep quiet about Mansfield's acknowledgement that what he wrote in his book about me was untrue.

Can you believe the cheek of the man?! So it's OK for him to write and publish blatant lies that are then distributed around the world, but I must keep it quiet and private when finally he admits that what he wrote about me was a load of shite.

Can you please send copies of Kershen's letter to anyone familiar with the case ... and please distribute it far and wide.

I've now written to Kershen letting him know that I will indeed be telling people that Mansfield has admitted telling lies!!!?

John Bowden

So here is what is said in Mr Kershen's letter:

Dear Mr Bowden,

As agreed I passed on your draft to Mr Mansfield and he has suggested the following changes:

"In my recently published 'Memoirs of a Radical Lawyer', I made certain references to John Bowden, a life sentence prisoner whom I defended at his original trial in 1982 and which I described in my book as a central figure in a siege at Parkhurst Prison in 1983.

" In the narrative describing the siege at Parkhurst I wrote that John Bowden was convicted of a series of murders that involved ?carving up homosexuals and winos while they were still alive and freezing the cuts?.

"This is in fact untrue and is the result of a mistaken recollection on my part. There were other serious charges on the indictment, but there was never any claim or suggestion during John Bowden's trial in 1982 that he or his co-defendants were responsible for more than one murder or that John Bowden had ever targeted a specific group of people for the violence that I described in my book.

"This error was entirely unintentional, and has been corrected for all future editions of the book. I wish to apologise for this mistake particularly as the overall thrust of the narrative is intended to provide support for John Bowden's stance on prison conditions.? "

Please let me know if this version is acceptable. If not, I would like to know what specifically you would want to change. You will of course understand that I can't guarantee that further changes will be agreed.

We also need to be clear about the status of whatever version is agreed. So far all our discussions are confidential. Mr Mansfield is willing for an agreed document to be made available to the relevant authorities e.g. the parole Board.

He would not want it to be published e.g. in a newsletter or on the web. I would be grateful for your comments on this.

In case I haven't made it explicit, my intention is that if you and he are able to reach agreement about this matter, it will be in full and final settlement of the issues between you, and no other action will be entered into. I hope this is your understanding as well.

I look forward to hearing from you, but won't be dealing with correspondence until on and after 26th July.

Yours sincerely,
Lawrence Kershen

Round 3 Michael Mansfield QC - memoirs and lies

At the request of Michael Mansfield for his Email to MOJUK (2.1) and his letter to John Bowden (3) are published in full, texts are below, scanned copies in PDF of exchange attached.

John O for MOJUK

Questions to Mr. Mansfield:

1) Have you asked the publishers/distributors to recall all unsold copies of 'Memoirs and Lies'! pending resolution of the matter!

2) Have your chambers, completed the investigation of the complaint by John Bowden, and has John been informed of the outcome?


1) To: "John O" <>
Wednesday, May 26, 2010 9:23:52 AM

Dear John

In response to your email,

I would like my actual email, not an edited version  I sent to you & the letter I sent to John Bowden to be published on MOJUK

Yours sincerely

Michael Mansfield


2) Envelope-to:
Subject: John Bowden response
Date: Tue, 4 May 2010 09:48:53 +0100

Dear John

Thank you for your email

I apologise for the delay in responding to your email.

Thank you for letting me know what is intended to go into "Inside Out" magazine. I did attended the launch event for the magazine.

I am writing a commentary today, which I would appreciate my response to be published too with regards to Mr Bowdens letter.

Yours sincerely

Michael Mansfield

Subject: Michael Mansfield QC
Date: Thu, 6 May 2010 17:04:32 +0100

2.1) Dear John

Thank you for your patience in this matter. I am aboard and my emails have been playing up.

Up to now all correspondence about this matter between John Bowden & Myself, has been marked strictly private and confidential, both by John & by me. Therefore, I am concerned not to breech that confidentiality.

I have written to john Bowden directly with my initial comments and I am happy for him to show you a copy of that letter.

Yours sincerely

Michael Mansfield


3) 31st March 2010
Mr John Rowden (6729)
HM Prison Glenochil
King OMuir Road
Scotland FKIO 3AD

Dear John Bowden,
My time is split between the UK and abroad at the moment, but I trust you received a prompt response from Patrick Roche which included my sincere concerns about causing you distress. This was never my intention.

The Parkhurst episode was incorporated into the chapter on prisons for two main reasons. Principally I wanted to describe the lengths to which you were driven in order to highlight oppressive prison conditions. That is why I trusted your word and gave evidence for you in the subsequent trial. I was also anxious for the personal safety of all involved. Dora Belford and Mike Fisher shared these objectives. Secondly, it was not an experience you forget in a hurry. As you may be aware I have represented prisoners on many occasions (Risley, Strangeways) in relation to disturbances arising out of legitimate grievances.

Reference to your trial was made in order to indicate the magnitude of the task we had to face in terms of persuading the authorities to permit negotiations. My publishers and myself have taken your concerns on board straight away and we will ensure that the next print run and the paperback version will address them and will reflect the allegations you faced at the Old Bailey.

Yours sincerely,

Michael Mansfield QC
Tooks Chambers


4) Att: Michael Mansfield
Tooks Chambers
8 Warner Yard
Warner Street
London. EC 1 R 5EY

From: John Bowden: 6729
HMP Glenochil Tullibody
Scotland. FKI0 3AD

Dear Michael Mansfield,
Your letter of the 31't March fails completely to answer or address my complaint regarding material in your book concerning my original trial in 1981 that is completely untrue. You say you have taken my concerns on board regarding this matter but you have yet to acknowledge that your claim concerning the nature and circumstances of my offence in November 1980 as portrayed in your book have absolutely no basis in fact whatsoever. Both yourself and Patrick Roche, in his letter to me of the 26th February, have attempted to avoid the specific focus of my complaint by shifting the issue instead to your account of a protest at Parkhurst Prison in 1983; as you're clearly aware this has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the nature of my complaint.

In his letter to me Patrick Roche said my complaint had been referred to the relevant committee in your chambers; when is that committee likely to complete it's investigation and inform me of it's outcome?

Yours sincerely,

John Bowden

Round 2 Michael Mansfield QC - memoirs and lies

MOJUK once again invites Mr. Mansfield to publicly comment

No mitigation without a public apology

It would seem that Mansfield's prime motive in lying about the circumstances and facts of my original offence was simply to spice up an account in his book of a protest and siege at Parkhurst Prison in 1983 in which I was centrally involved.

There is no other explanation as to why someone who boasts throughout his book of possessing a forensic memory for details and facts should so outrageously misrepresent the truth concerning why I was imprisoned.

In an exchange of e-mails with MOJUK Mansfield claimed that he was reluctant to discuss my complaint against him because I'd agreed with him to keep the matter "strictly private and confidential" whilst his chamber investigated my complaint.

This is yet another blatant lie. I made no such agreement with Mansfield, and indeed I now invite him to explain openly and publicly through MOJUK why he wrote such obvious lies about my original case in his book.

Mansfield has now agreed to remove the false accusations about me from future print runs and the paperback edition of his book, but this does not mitigate what has already been done or absolve him of the moral duty to publicly apologise for what he knows was the deliberate manufacturing of lies purely to increase the dramatic effect of certain narratives in his book and thereby his own reputation and character, which is now seriously open to question.

John Bowden
HMP Glenochil, May 2010

Comment from Bobby Cummines  (Posted 13th May 2010)

John Bowden, Is telling the truth and I can vouch for that as I was in wormwood scrubs with John whilst he was on trial for the murder ( ONE) and it was as he says a murder at a party not a rampage of murders of wino's and gays, media seem to delight in making up their own version of the truth. I have always found John to be staunch and loyal. And what has been written about him is not correct, I think an apology from Michael Mansfield would not go a miss here and his reputation amongst prisoners and Ex-offenders has diminished greatly because of this. So I suggest that the facts be made right and the fiction stops.

Bobby Cummines
Chief Executive

Michael Mansfield QC - memoirs and lies and 'misdirectioon' more lies (Posted 13th May 2010)

[MOJUK informed Mr. Mansfield, that we intended to publish the letter below and asked him if he would care to comment. Initially Mr. Mansfield said he would and then said he wouldn't. So we publish it with out a reply from Mr. Mansfield, but if he chooses in the future to reply, MOJUK will publish the reply]

For Attention of: Michael Mansfield QC

Hi Michael,
                my name is John O and in regular correspondence with many prisoners. I received the letter below from John Bowden. I intend to publish it in "Inside Out' a small newsletter which goes out to prisoners each week.

Would be grateful if you would comment on the contents, if commenting please make clear, what I can/cannot publish.

Yours Sincerely

John O for MOJUK

Reply from Mr. Mansfield

Dear John

Thank you for your patience in this matter. I am aboard and my emails have been playing up.

Up to now all correspondence about this matter between John Bowden & Myself, has been marked strictly private and confidential, both by John & by me. Therefore, I am concerned not to breech that confidentiality.

I have written to john Bowden directly with my initial comments and I am happy for him to show you a copy of that letter.

Yours sincerely

Michael Mansfield

Michael Mansfield QC - memoirs and lies

A comment by John Bowden, HMP Glenochil, 2010

Michael Mansfield's recently published Memoirs of a Radical Lawyer contains factual inaccuracies and lies concerning myself, one of the prisoners mentioned in his accounts.

A chapter in his book dealing with 'Prison Riots' devotes five pages to a siege at Parkhurst prison in 1983 that I was involved in and subsequently received ten years imprisonment for. The taking hostage of a prison governor and subsequent two day siege at Parkhurst was an action motivated by a desperate need to highlight brutality at the prison.

We demanded that Mansfield be brought to the jail as an intermediary, based on a hope and belief that he would represent our interests and prevent the prison authorities and police from ending the siege Violently and with loss of life.

In Memoirs of a Radical Lawyer, a book full of self¬praise verging on the narcissisttc, Mansfield describes his role at Parkhurst during the siege as one of heroic and fearless saviour of the imprisoned governor held at knifepoint by psychopathic prisoners; he aligns himself entirely with the prison authorities in securing the release of the hostage and claims to have single-handedly assisted them in ending the siege. In fact, he played an insignificant role in the events and was never central to either the negotiations or the siege itself.

More seriously, and with the obvious intention of increasing the dramatic effect of the personal physical danger he faced at Parkhurst during the siege, he describes me in the following way: 'I had defended John Bowden at the Old Bailey in relation to what became known as the Camberwell Murders, a series of particularly grotesque and gruesome killings, which had involved carving up homosexuals or winos while they were still alive and freezing the cuts'. This is a straight lie - I was never convicted of such crimes and in fact he attributes to me the crimes of
the infamous serial killer Dennis Nilsen.

Mansfield, as my senior defence counsel at my original trial in 1981 defended me on one count of murder that involved the death of a single individual at the hands of three men during a drunken party. Neither the police nor prosecuting authorities have ever claimed that I was responsible for any other murders.

Michael Mansfield now considers himself a celebrity figure and icon of the liberal establishment; in fact he's become an integral part of the establishment and shares its institutional interests.

John Bowden
HM Prison Glenochil
King O'Muir Road
FK10 3AD

End of Bulletin

Source for this message:
John Bowden

Last updated 16 August, 2010