Time for the CCRC to be ‘Put Down’

When your pet dog gets old and no longer able fend for itself, can’t even wag its tail; it is normal to have the pet ‘Put Down’, Canine Euthanasia.

Euthanasia the humane practice of intentionally ending a life to relieve pain and suffering. In this case putting down the CCRC would ease, the pain and suffering of unnumbered hundreds of wrongfully convicted prisoners.

CCRC have finished the year with three abject apologies for not referring the applications of Michael Stone the ‘Freshwater Five’, and Stephen Ward, to the Court of Appeal.

According to the CCRC website they have only referred six cases to the Court of Appeal, this year. Aiden Maund, Stephen Simmons, Mr Y, James Dalby, Mr Z and Hazifa Chikhmous.

This latter referral (no less important a case than the other four), was an Asylum and Immigration matter and his dispute is with the Home Office, not the Ministry of Justice as in the other cases. It could have been dealt with administratively in the courts, there was no need for it to go through the CCRC.

There have been a number of these, all to do with presenting false documents at the point of entry to the UK. Mostly by people trying to enter the UK to seek asylum. The CCRC have had several successes with these types of cases and it does make one wonder, are they taking the easy road, to up the number of cases that they can say have successfully referred!

There has been much criticism of the CCRC over the years, particularly in the last year and no praise. As the ‘Justice Gap’ recently reported, “The CCRC’s Much Heralded Historical Referral Rate of 3.3% Disguises a Miniscule 0.77% Last Year.”

Life serving prisoners, NGO’s working with those wrongfully convicted have all lost faith, (if they had any to begin with), in the CCRC. Their constant looking over their shoulder to how the Court of Appeal (COA), would deal with their referrals has been their undoing. Their fear of rejection by the COA, has dominated all that they do. The consequences of this have been pain and misery for all those wrongfully convicted.

The CCRC have long past their ‘Sell by Date’ and should be ‘Put Down.

John O for MOJUK



Dennis Hutchings
: What’s Sauce for the Goose is Sauce for the Gander

The Divisional Court, sitting today, Wednesday 20th December, in Belfast, dismissed an application by Dennis Hutchings challenging a decision by the Director of Public Prosecutions that requires him to be tried without a jury.  Dennis Hutchings was a soldier serving with the Life Guards Regiment in Northern Ireland.  He has been charged with the offences of attempted murder and attempted grievous bodily harm with intent relating to the death by shooting of John Patrick Cunningham (“the deceased”) on 15 June 1974 near Benburb, County Armagh.

The court handing down its’ decision, was emphatic: ‘That the administration of justice might be impaired if the trial were to be conducted with a jury.’ Which is essence means Mr Hutchings will be tried by a ‘Diplock Court’. These courts have been vehemently opposed by human rights groups as well as Nationalists and Republicans, Judges and to a lesser extent magistrates.