"The victors are not those who can inflict the most, but those who can suffer the most"
Justice for Jake & Keith Mawhinney
Trying to overturn a guilty verdict in this country even with everyone realizing it is unjust, becomes a nightmare, it is a battle that seems to go on forever.
Firstly let me explain that our names were not just picked out of a hat by Hartlepool police.
They have spent years racially physically and mentally abusing us since we moved to England. We have been labelled as Irish Scum, Paddies, Bogtrotters, IRA Bastards, and lots of other choice names. They have smashed up our home they have attacked us, we have been victims of crime and when we have reported it we were laughed at.
We tried to take court action against these people and it went nowhere. So please do not for one moment think we are complaining simply for the sake of it. These people meant to uphold the law have destroyed our lives. The latest being they fabricated evidence with resulted in my son and I being sentenced to life imprisonment.
I was held in custody for 4 months, my Mother died while I was in custody and I was even refused permission to attend her funeral, in August 1998 I was acquitted of all charges and told I could go, I got the ferry straight back to Ireland.
Due to my daughters medical condition we had to return to England and in December we were looking for accommodation as she had to undergo tests at Freeman's hospital to see if she could be placed on the waiting list for a heart and lung transplant.
We were informed during an interview that a Hartlepool man Anthony Clark whom we did not know had been attacked in his home 3 days earlier and had subsequently died the following day. We gave an account of our movements, which they refused to believe we were then taken to court and remanded in custody. The charge was one of 'Conspiracy to Murder'. We later discovered another man Michael James Casey had already been remanded on the same charge on Monday 21 st December. Casey was to become our coaccused.
We were warmed by our solicitors not to discuss the case with anyone as we did not want the police appeared with a witness claiming we had confessed to him. We explained we couldn't discuss anything as we didn't know anything. His words still ring in our ears nearly 5 years later.
1. A reconnaissance trip to the home of the deceased two days before the attack. A witness for the prosecution gave evidence to say that on the night in question she had asked us to accompany her to Milton Road it was for her purposes and at her suggestion.
It took Payne and the police 25 days to concoct this statement it was finalised 1 day after they spoke to the last prosecution witness she was to allege that she had been told by another witness that we had been seen with a fireman.
Payne had never mentioned a firearm prior to this now he was saying it was a browning 9mm etc, we returned to prison now fearful of the lengths the police were prepared to go to.
The circumstantial evidence turned out to be as much of a travesty as Payne's. The majority of the witnesses claiming from the witness stand that they had been bullied threatened bribed and intimidated by the police.
The circumstantial evidence consisted of
2. Association with Casey earlier on the evening prior to the attack. We have always maintained we were not with him that evening.
3. Lies as to the above. We still maintain we did not lie.
4. Phone calls at or around the time of the attack that the prosecution speculated happened around 3.00am. The calls they relied on were 3.12am, 3.22am and 4.48am. Firstly my sone made the 3.12am call from my mobile phone after he had received an incoming call at around 3.00am. Due to the conduct of the Hartlepool police on earlier occasions he did not volunteer this information during interviews. However he did give the full detail in evidence.
5. Lies in relation to the phones and there use. I did not lie the phone was not even in my name if I had anything to hide I would have denied it was my phone, I didn't yet I was still accused of lying.
The evidence of Zeiff Alexander Payne
He started to accuse the police of offering him massive inducements to make a statement, he claimed he was involved with drug dealing for the police also that he had sold senior police officers class A drugs, That he had bullied and tricked into making a statement.
He claimed that 3 police officers from Hartlepool CID had offered him a house abroad i a country of his choosing fully paid for, that he could take his family with him. That he would have his criminal record quashed and a new identity, they would supply him with two new cars and a large sum of money. However Payne complained I was tricked into making that statement because I got nothing.
It was known that Payne had severe psychological problems and was being treated for cocaine addiction, he had already attempted suicide twice and had threatened that he would do it again. He was found to have tried to defraud an insurance company of thousands of pounds after he claimed his house had been burgled.
After a suicide attempt the police were searching his home to ensure there was no medication with which he could harm himself they came across all the items he had claimed were stolen.
The police had supplied Payne's girlfriend with a car he was instructed not to drive it, as it was not insured for him. Payne drove it anyway and eventually crashed it when he contacted the police he stated he was going to say his girlfriend was driving at the time. He was advised against this.
He had ulterior motives for giving evidence and getting out of Hartlepool, one of his handlers Gary Smith a D/C with the National crime squad took the stand to contradict Payne's evidence. Another D/C Gary Nobel also one of Payne's handlers went sick due to stress after Payne accused him of taking drugs money as a loan.
Leave to Appeal
The logic in this was the judge put it to the jury that Keith had said in evidence that around 3.00am he had received a call on my mobile I was asleep in bed in the house we were staying at in Brough Court Hartlepool. The conversation on the phone was as follows Hello is Casey there? Reply no! Well when you see him give him this message. Tell him he is going in an ambulance like that other cunt Clarky. The caller was anonymous.
At 3 .12am Keith looked through my phone found the number for Casey and rang his home, Casey's common law wife answered and informed Keith Casey was out when he asked for him so he relayed the message to her. There was nothing sinister about this and if police had investigated the case properly they would have discovered that 3 men who had taken Casey from his home after it was alleged he was involved in a burglary, the same 3 men had been in his home looking for him on the evening of the attack they may have found evidence we were not Mr Clark's attackers. But it suited them much better to fabricate a case against us.
Mr Justice Hoppers, statement to the jury was, Keith Mawhinney did not inform the police about any of these calls during interviews, therefore if you do not believe his account of the incoming call for him to the information that Clarky was going in an ambulance at 3.12am he must be the murderer or have been with the murderer at the time of the attack. What utter nonsense.
1. There was no evidence to state what time Mr Clark was attacked.
2. The prosecution could adduce that it may have been sometime between 1.30am and 3.25am.
3. If the other evidence by prosecution witnesses had not been ignored in order to reach this conclusion it may have been feasible, but one witness told how he had seen Casey in Clark's car at 2.00 to 2.15am that morning and Casey had told him that Clark has had his kicking we've had to give him smelling salts 3 times to bring him round.
4. Ms Clark herself told how Casey took a phone call with the same message while they were at Casey's home at 2.45am.
5. Another witness states both Ms Clark and Casey arrive at her home at 2.45am to 3.00am to inform her that Clark has been beaten and left for dead. She still maintains this account in a second statement.
6. Ms Clark had been arrested at the scene her clothes were taken for forensic testing her blood was found on cushions beside her husband her hair and blood was under his fingernails, Casey's blood was found at the scene.
7. A large battery charger found at the scene which was sitting beside Mr Clark on the chair, it was taken by police but never tested for forensics they were later to claim it had been overlooked. When it was tested it was found to contain Mr Clark's hair and blood spatters inside the vent.
At present my son and I are still waiting to go to the court of appeal we have now got two QCs who are prominent advocates to argue our case Mr Micheal Mansfield and Mr Edward Fitzgerald so hopefully will find justice.
We would like to Thank everyone for their prayers and support especially our family as without their sheer determination and faith this nightmare would have been unbearable.
Jake and Keith Mawhinney HMP Long Lartin
It is mainly due to the fact that those involved in the judicial system would rather ignore what goes on than try to change it.
However as each day passes our resolve grows stronger-in the knowledge that we are fighting for what is right and just and eventually we will succeed in bringing changes.
At present we can rest in the knowledge that our conscience is clear, as we are the ones being victimised.
The victors are not those who can inflict the most, but those who can suffer the most. A saying that has became become very true.
I would like to wish everyone involved in the fight for Justice a Happy New Year.
Perhaps in 2003 this farce that they call a justice system at some point will be reviewed so that drug dealers and convicted-prisoners cannot be presented by the crown as reliable prosecution witnesses.
They say that the courts are all in favour of the defendants obviously the person or persons who made those remarks never sat through a trial in England.
Of course if anyone has been the victim of a crime their first reaction is to want revenge, but revenge at what cost? 'When innocent people are incarcerated for years and years, their lives and the lives of their families destroyed.
Can you imagine if your were on trial and tried to call a convicted prisoner to give evidence on your behalf, or a self confessed drug dealer, who had been offered massive inducements to do the same.
Not only would the judge point out how unreliable your witnesses were fie would probably order you face charges of attempting to pervert the course of justice.
Justice must be a double edged sword, 'Yet the prosecution can do what they like in a trial and use these type of witnesses to send men and women to prison for life.
It has now become the case that the public are being whipped up into having a lynch mod mentality by politicians who are in search of votes.
Everyone wants to know that they and their families are safe, that they can leave their homes without the fear that when they return their property has not been ransacked and their belongings stolen, I believe it would be everyone's wish to round up everyone responsible for these crimes. It "is a natural reaction to want to punish those responsible, "revenge "
But what most right thinking people don't want is when the police decide they are a law onto themselves and use any means to obtain a conviction, it then becomes much easier for them than rather to look for evidence that may lead to those responsible they rely on witnesses they can coheres or induce into fabricating evidence.
They the police can do this safe in the knowledge that if they are discovered the severest penalty will be a warning not to do the same thing again. They know that what that warning really means, is if you are fabricating evidence don't get found out.
The mistake a lot of people make is living with the belief,
"It won't ever happen to me, I don't break the law"
Unfortunately neither did a lot of us but we have been incarcerated for years and continue to fight to prove we didn't do anything either, it is a difficult struggle unless we can show people that it can happen to you, or someone close to you.
When it does you then wonder why no one will listen, you keep trying to tell anyone who will listen "I'm innocent" but no one wants to know. It then becomes a living nightmare for you, sitting watching your life pass by, your family being dragged down by the pressures of coping without you, you watch the hardship they suffer each day and you begin to believe that there will be no end to this.
Then you receive a card or a letter from someone else in the same position and with it comes the realisation that you are not alone, you know then that you can't give up, because any battle, even one fought for truth and justice, is better fought in numbers. So we all need the support of each other.
Best wishes for the coming New Year to everyone involved with fighting injustice and all those Hostages fighting to prove their innocence,
Keep a positive attitude my friends because " We 'Will Win".
Yours in struggle,
Jake & Keith Mawhinney,
'Hostages since Christmas eve 1998