Miscarriages of JusticeUK

Brendan McConville and John Paul Wooton , a British Miscarriage of Justice

Wootton v McConville - Supreme Court Refuses Appeal (Posted 22/05/2015

The Supreme Court (Lords Kerr, Wilson and Hughes presiding) today Tuesday 19th May 2015, has refused an application to hear an appeal relating to the sentencing of John Paul Wootton and Brendan McConville who were convicted of murdering Constable Stephen Carroll, a member of the Police Service of Northern Ireland, on 9 March 2009. The Appellants were convicted on 30 March 2012 of the murder of Constable Stephen Carroll and for possession of firearms and ammunition with intent to endanger life or cause serious damage. The First Defendant was also convicted of attempting to make a record of information likely to be useful to a terrorist.

The issue in this case is whether, where the prosecution evidence is insufficient to establish a specified role in a crime and there is no direct evidence of agreement to commit the crime, the court can draw adverse inferences by reason of a failure to give evidence, so as to contribute to a conclusion that the totality of evidence of the was beyond reasonable doubt. Secondly whether, in setting the tariff for a child convicted of murder as a secondary party, bearing in mind the overarching principle of rehabilitation, the court should not increase the sentence by reason of aggravating factors to a level appropriate for an adult.

The Supreme Court has declined to hear the appeal and the judgment of the Court of Appeal of Northern Ireland therefore stands: ·

<> http://bit.ly/2uy6sDh

The substantive text of the Supreme Court's Order reads: "Permission to appeal was refused because the application does not raise an arguable point of law of general public importance which ought to be considered by the Supreme Court at this time bearing in mind that the case has already been the subject of judicial decision and reviewed on appeal."

John Paul Wootton Sentence Increase [Posted 16/10/14]

Today 15/10/14the appeal court and the Public prosecution service have increased the sentence of John Paul Wootton from 14 to 18 years. This punitive measure is designed to cloak the fact that John Paul Wootton and Brendan McConville are victims of one of the most blatant miscarriages of justice in recent times.

A cursory look at the facts and so called evidence used shows quite clearly that both men have for this past five years been used as scapegoats for a system determined to get someone get anyone for a killing most likely orchestrated by the very people tasked to prevent such things from happening.

The litany of abuses, abnormalities, outright lies and under hand and devious tactics used by every strand of the so called justice system in this case is an indictment of a system that while claiming to safeguard a new dispensation actually exposes just how retrospective and draconian it has become

Years of special powers, Diplock courts and the erosion of the right of the individuals at the mercy of this system to the presumption of innocent until proven guilty has been turned on its head.

From the very start regardless of the fact that no evidence existed, it became very apparent that this system claimed Brendan McConville and John Paul Wootton as guilty, and with a deck heavily stacked against them both men had to then prove their innocence.

An eye witness who's testimony was medically impossible, who was a paid perjurer, who has been called a walter mitty and a liar by his own family and despite the fact that we all know Witness Ms identity we all know of his vulnerable nature, we are barred by the system from speaking his name lest the public know the kind of individual this court of law accepts as credible and sends to men to jail for life on his word.

The spying by MI5, the destruction of evidence by the SAS, the sabotage of the appeal by the PSNI, the planting of evidence by the prison service, all set the tone and illustrated the lengths the system has sought to maintain the convictions of Brendan and John Paul.

The appeal courts decision here in the spring, conveniently threadbare, refusing to account for flawed and contradictory evidence by not dealing with it at all, afraid of the consequences a quashed conviction might bring, afraid that the veil may fall fully and expose the truth at the core of this miscarriage of justice.

We the Justice for the Craigavon Two Group have redoubled our efforts confident that next week, next month, next year , next time we will do enough to overturn this gross injustice.

We have called to the public for help, Brendan and John Paul have called for your help, and you have replied in kind, more and more are reading the case files the facts, and are coming to the same conclusions we have come to, more and more are raising their voices.

At some stage the rising crescendo will become a serious embarrassment to a system that prides itself as one of the best in the world, and when that day arrives they will concede defeat and the political decision that was taken to scapegoat the Craigavon Two will be rescinded.

We are not there yet! but with your support we will be 

Justice for me and for you, justice for the Craigavon Two! 

The Diary of a Derry Mother - A Fitting Epitaph

A big thank you to everyone who attended today's protest outside the appeal Court.

No Justice for the Craigavon Two

Today Thursday 29th May 2014, the British appeal court made a shocking decision in the case of Brendan McConville and John Paul Wootton (The Craigavon Two) by dismissing their appeals against their life sentence convictions for the killing of PSNI Constable Stephen Carroll in 2009.

The Justice for the Craigavon Two Group firmly believe this decision by the appeal court judges is a political one and not one based on the facts of the case.

Regardless of this decision the fact remains there is no credible evidence linking Brendan or John Paul to the shooting of Stephen Carroll, this assertion is fully supported by a large number of leading legal and human rights experts.

This decision has been a hammer blow for Brendan and John Paul the McConville and Wootton Families and for everyone who has campaigned for and supported the fight for Justice for Craigavon Two.

But today's decision has only hardened our resolve in recommitting ourselves and redoubling our efforts to pursue an end to this miscarriage of justice, bringing this case to a successful conclusion; the full exoneration of Brendan McConville and John Paul Wootton.

It seems the judicial system in the north is inherently corrupted, incapable of rectifying this most blatant of injustices and therefore we will rely on the public, which this system claims to protect, to rectify these wrongs.

We call on the public to view the facts of this case, to look past today's public whitewash (imposed by the British State and its agencies) and rally to the cause of justice and human rights by supporting the call for Justice for the Craigavon Two. 

Summary of Judgment - Court Dismisses Appeals Against Conviction For The Murder of Constable Stephen Carroll

Who is Controlling the Justice System in the North of Ireland?

The Justice for the Craigavon Two group welcome todays (03/05/13) acquittal of Brian Shivers, Brian's case has many similarities with the case of the Craigavon Two, Brendan McConville and John Paul Wootton.

Both the Massereene attack and the killing of PSNI member Stephen Carroll happened in a four day period, the state response to both attacks was swift and obviously coordinated, in a matter of days Brian Shivers, Colin Duffy, Brendan McConville and John Paul Wootton were arrested and detained in Antrim PSNI Station.

All were held under new legislation which seen periods of up to 13 days detention without charge, a precedent to this time. after this all four were charged respectively and sent to Maghaberry with Brian later securing bail until trial,

After years on remand both trials simultaneously opened in the High Court, both cases relied almost entirely on circumstantial evidence and in the case of Brian and Colin experimental DNA testing techniques.

Colin was acquitted, and Brian was convicted on the slimmest of circumstantial evidence when the State's forensic witness stated that only Brian's DNA was found on matches and a phone in the partially burnt car used in the Massereene attack.

Likewise Brendan McConville and John Paul wootton where similarly convicted based primarily on the evidence of a highly dubious eye witness named only as M.

Brian Shivers' fought an appeal and had the original conviction quashed earlier this year, the PPS moved almost immediately to retry him even though they had no new evidence to back up their case.

Shocking new evidence came to light during the retrial in which it was learned that the truth regarding the forensic analysis had been either hidden or lied about by the original forensic witness, it turned out to be the case that the items recovered from the car namely a phone and matches were covered in multiple DNA profiles this clearly undermined  further the case against Brian Shivers.

Rather than concede that Brian was an innocent man the PPS brought further charges of aiding and abetting, again with no new evidence.

Today Brian Shivers was rightly acquitted based on the lack of evidence presented, it has been a terrible ordeal for the man who is severely ill. His lawyer rightly pointed out that the case against Brian Shivers has been a serious miscarriage of Justice.

The questions now needing answered is who is controlling the justice system in the north of Ireland? Following the revelations in Brian's case and following the clear attempt to sabotage the appeals of the Craigavon Two. Who is answerable? Who will stand trial for perjury? Who will investigate the investigators during the original arrests and convictions in 2009? The politicians and media applauded the justice system following the convictions, those same politicians and media condemned those who were convicted. Following today's acquittal there is an eerie silence from those same politicians once so vocal.

Something stinks to high heaven in the Justice system and unless it is fixed more and more people will fall victim to this corrupt system.

Craigavon Two Appeal Opened and Adjourned for 6 Months

The men's appeal against convictions for the murder of PSNI constable Stephen Carroll has been adjourned until October after prosecutors claimed that new evidence has emerged in the case. Crown barrister, Ciaran Murphy QC, told the court that police had only become aware of new potential evidence last Thursday.

Defence counsel for Brendan & Sean Paul claimed that police were attempting to sabotage the appeal, rather than obtain investigating new evidence in the case. Defence lawyers confirmed they are to lodge a complaint with the Police Ombudsman.

Lord Chief Justice Sir Declan Morgan agreeing to adjourn the case until October said. "There is such a high level of uncertainty as to the factual circumstances surrounding the position that we are faced with having no alternative but to adjourn this appeal."

Statement from the 'Justice for the Craigavon Two' campaign group.

Today Both Brendan McConville and John Paul Wootton were returned to Maghaberry Jail on the first day of their appeal against the wrongful conviction for the killing of PSNI officer, Constable Carroll.

It was with a sense of disbelief in the opening moments of the hearing that the public prosecution service called for an immediate adjournment due to what they called fresh evidence coming forward from a covert intelligence operation.

This 'intelligence' is purporting to the arrest of a new defence witness. This defence witness is a close relation of the key prosecution witness (Witness M) who is central to the original prosecution case.

The new witness had made a statement which discredited the original testimony of witness M and we believe that the arrest was used as a tool of intimidation as the new Witness was released unconditionally within 48 hours of being arrested.

This development indicates the lack of factual evidential information surrounding this case, rather it is a case built upon the dubious practices of covert agents and surveillance.

This practice has now been extended to the defendants' legal team, family members and members of the Craigavon Two campaign committee, who it has now been revealed were subjected to a covert surveillance and recording operation.

What began as a call for Justice for the Craigavon Two has now clearly been shown to be a case of Justice for us all with the full implementation of the justice system in an open and transparent fashion, free from interference from unaccountable agents of the intelligence services.

In light of today's events, and the additional delay in hearing of this case, which means that the defendants will have already served nine year sentences we call for both Brendan and John Paul to be released immediately on bail pending the withdrawal of what has now become a farcical and unsustainable conviction.

The Detail Report here . . . .

UTV Reporthere . . . .

Prison writings: Letter from: John Paul Wootton

My name is John Paul Wootton and I am now twenty years of age and I have been imprisoned in Maghaberry prison for the last three years, that is, from I was 17 years of age.
On the 10th of March 2009, while still a teenager, I was arrested and interrogated for thirteen days in relation to the fatal shooting of Constable Steven Carroll in Craigavon on the 9th of March 2009. From the outset of this period of interrogation I made it clear that I neither knew nor had any part in this incident and indeed the duration of my interrogation was only ended when my legal representative took out a legal injunction.
On the 30th of March 2012, after a trial before a Diplock court, I was convicted and sentenced to a life sentence for the killing of Constable Carroll on the basis of a tracking device that had been fitted to my car at some point and which allegedly placed me at the scene of the shooting. However, the device in question, which had been placed there by members of MI5, went missing for a period of time and when it was finally recovered portions of the data allegedly recorded on the device were missing! These ‘gaps’ were supposedly filled by an MI5 operative who gave his evidence at the trial anonymously from behind a screen and his explanation for the data going missing was that, ‘he had left it on his desk and someone had moved and then replaced it without his knowledge’!
Additional to the missing data, the examination of my car, during the period of the missing data, also produced a brown coat that had particles of gun powder residue on it. These particles did not match the rifle or ammunition recovered by the PSNI that was claimed by the prosecution to have been the weapon that fired the fatal shot which killed Constable Carroll. This coat, which was a central piece of evidence in the case, not only did not belong to me but it had no physical connection to me, that is, no traces of my DNA, fibres or fingerprints were found on the coat. In short, there was no physical evidence presented to the trial that linked me to this shooting rather a process of speculation and hypothesis that turned the legal principle of innocence until proven guilty on its head was applied.
During the trial my legal team attempted to tease out the anomalies of this case to demonstrate the complete lack of evidence against me, however, at each attempt they were met with the barrier of ‘Public Interest Immunity Orders’ being sought and granted to the prosecution. As a result of this crucial lines of inquiry about the movements of my car and the particles on the coat were denied to my defence.
As a consequence of all of the above I have instructed my legal team to appeal the conviction against me on the grounds that I did not receive a fair trial for the following reasons;

  1. I was refused the right to a trial by jury and instead I was tried by a single judge in a Diplock court,
  2. This single judge in the absence of any physical evidence against me resorted to negative inference and opinion,
  3. Evidence which may have assisted my defence or undermined the case against me was kept hidden from my legal team through the use of  Public Interest Immunity Orders,
  4. Several witnesses were granted anonymity thereby preventing the defence from properly cross examining them.

I would like to thank you for taking the time to read this short description of what has happened to me and I would ask you to do all that you can to highlight this miscarriage of justice in the hope that I will get the chance of a fair trial at my appeal.
Further information on the legal detail of this case and the summary of the original trial are also contained on this web site. Please feel free to use them to demonstrate the scale of the injustice involved or to contact my legal representatives with any enquiries.
Thank you, John Paul Wootton.

Prison writings: Letter from Brendan McConville, HMP Maghaberry

Our battle for justice against the state and its considerable resources is akin to David versus Goliath, as not only do we have to overcome its' natural resistance to acknowledging its' own fallibility, but we must also confront the political considerations, which played no small part in returning the unjust verdict against us. It often seems like we are pawns in a game of chess, and just to make it that much more difficult, our side is playing blindfolded, which can be evidenced by the excessive use of Public Immunity Orders and Anonymity Orders, which have been invoked against our defence.

I have also been forced to contend with a number of separate, yet ultimately unsuccessful attempts by the Public Prosecution Service to advance other fallacious and erroneous charges against me on the initial indictment, in an effort to bolster, what they knew to be, a weak and unconvincing, circumstantial case.

The first of these assaults was to take the form of a trumped up charge of possession of explosives, which my defence team fought successfully to have severed from the main charge, in the face of strong resistance from the crown. This case was later to be dropped in October 2012, on the day that I was due to stand trial, when the prosecution QC declared to the court, that they would not be offering any evidence against me. The reality is that the evidence pertaining to this fabricated charge, consisted of a DNA profile which was attributed to me, being discovered on a battery which was found during a house search in 2007, and has since been proven not to form part of any potential device.

The second onslaught was to manifest itself in the form of an outright criminal act, when the personal details of the Prison Governor were planted in my cell by prison staff opposed to his plans to initiate a programme of much needed reforms. This was to lead to an eighteen-month investigation into the incident by Northern Ireland Prison Ombudsman which culminated in the publishing of a report, which found that ''On the balance of probabilities, a member of prison service staff planted the note found in Mr. McConvilles cell".

While this further manoeuvre initially appeared to be unrelated to the original indictment, it was to become clear, after the disclosure of the list of the non-sensitive material, that the prosecution were scrutinizing the evidence of this crime, for which I was to be wrongly arrested, with a view a view to establishing proof of bad character on my part. The irony is that while I was suspect in this investigation, the prosecution appeared quite willing to advance a charge against me, yet when it later became evident that I was in fact the victim, I was to receive notification from the Public Prosecution Service, that it was not their intention to proceed with charges against a prison officer who had been under investigation for the crime.

All of this was to form the backdrop into which we were to be tried by a single judge in a non-jury 'Diplock' court in a highly inflamed political atmosphere, owing to the fact that Stephen Carroll was the first member of the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) to be killed since the signing of the Good Friday Agreement, and the recent highly lamented failures by the Public Prosecution Service to secure convictions in cases such as, the Omagh Bombing, the Loyalist Supergrass Trial and the attack on Massereeene Army Barracks, in which two soldiers were killed. It appears that both public and internal pressure on the Public Prosecution Service and the judiciary, was such that a conviction had to be secured at any cost. The question is, who really cares if that cost is borne by two innocent men, whose only crime appears to be that they are republicans?

Can any Irish person receive justice in a British Court? Have the public and judiciary already forgotten the lessons that ought to have been learned after the wrongful convictions of the Birmingham 6 and the Guildford 4, to name but a few? What does it profit society to keep innocent men and women lingering in prison cells, while the perpetrators are free to continue their activities?

Brendan McConville, Monday 17th December 2012

Letters of Solidarity/Support to:
Brendan McConville
HMP Maghaberry
Roe House (Roe 4)
Old Road
Ballinderry Upper
BT28 2PT

* Maghaberry prison note 'planted by officer': Ombudsman
The note was found in the cell of Brendan McConville a dissident republican suspect in December 2009. The governor at the time, Steve Rodford, resigned a short time later because of fears he was under threat.

Pauline McCabe Northern Ireland Ombudsman has completed a 15-month investigation into the incident. She concluded the note was hidden in the cell by a member of staff opposed to planned reforms at the prison.
BBC News, 28 March 2011

Diplock trials, the non-jury courts were introduced for paramilitary type offences after a 1972 report by senior judge Lord Diplock. The legislators were adamant that this would only be temporary measure for a few years, but 40 years later they remain. The government technically abolished Diplock courts in 2007 but non-jury trials continued to be used on the insistence of the then Northern Ireland, Justice Minister Paul Goggins, described as Òpolitically convenient.Ó The practice was due to end in July 2011 but was again extended this time to April 2013. There have been many wrongful convictions under the Diplock trials and a large number of convictions have been overturned in the last few years.

Anonymity Orders: Criminal Evidence (Witness Anonymity) Act 2008

Brendan McConville and John Paul Wooton , a British Miscarriage of Justice


Brendan McConville and John Paul Wooton were convicted earlier this year with the killing of the first PSNI Officer Stephen Carroll, both Men were sentenced to life imprisonment. The case was high profile and played out in the media, to anyone who watched the news reports or read the daily papers it seemed an open and shut case. A close look at the case however paints a very different picture, the key State Witness a proven liar, his eye witness testimony medically impossible, forensics that are contradictory and inconclusive, the use of covert intelligence from British Army special forces which was found to be tampered with, the use of assumption presumption and inference due to a lack of any solid facts, leads to one of the worst British miscarriages of Justice in years.

Justice for the Craigavon Two is a Group set up to campaign and lobby for Justice for Brendan and John Paul, with both men's appeals coming up next year we hope to raise awareness of the corrupt nature of the case, we hope to bring pressure on the Powers that be to make sure that both men get Justice. we believe that the "evidence" (or lack off) speaks for itself, any close scrutiny of the case will reveal its corrupt and flawed nature.

We ask You to read the facts, don't take our word for it the Court transcripts are their for all to see, if you want more info contact us and we will send you a kit or arrange a meeting.

We ask You to use your position of influence to raise this case, don't let it become a long running sore like those of the Guildford four and Birmingham six.

Chairman of Justice for the Craigavon Two, Gerry Conlon is himself no stranger to British injustice having served 15 years as a Member of the Guildford four, he had this to say about Brendan and John Paul's convictions. (taken from the recent Irish News article)

"We can't have innocent people going to jail and 15 years down the line them being released and their lives ruined and not only that, the lives of their families being ruined," said Mr Conlon. "But you have to have the courage of your convictions to stand up for what you believe in and I believe a miscarriage of justice took place here on the basis of all the evidence I have read. "Would I want someone I know to stand trial on this evidence? The answer is no. Everything I have read leads me to believe this is a miscarriage of justice," he said. "It runs on a parallel with Guildford, Woolwich and Birmingham."

Help us help Brendan and John Paul

Regina -V- Brendan Mcconville, John Paul Wootton, Sharon Wootton 30/03/12

This case arises out of the murder of Police Constable Stephen Carroll ("the deceased") who died on 9 March 2009 as a result of a bullet wound to the head. The deceased was a serving member of the Police Service of Northern Ireland. He was born on 4th November 1960 and was 48 years of age at the time of his death. He died in circumstances demonstrating that whoever shot him did so simply because he was a serving police officer and that his personal identity was irrelevant to the killer. It is clear that he died as a result of a murderous terrorist plan to kill a serving police officer.

Accordingly, I find the first and second named defendants guilty on Counts 1 and 2 and I find the second named defendant also guilty on Count 3.


Regina -V- Brendan Mcconville, John Paul Wootton, Sharon Wootton

Sentencing Remarks Sharon Wootton: http://bit.ly/2uxGxLX - 21st May 2012

Regina -V- Brendan Mcconville, John Paul Wootton 29th May 2014

Appeal dismissed: http://bit.ly/2uUs8MA

Regina –V - John Paul Wootton And Brendan Mcconville 14th October 2014

Prosecutions now seeks leave to refer the sentences to the Court of Appeal pursuant to section 36 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988 on the grounds they are each unduly lenient.

[34] The principles influencing these and other cases were set out at paragraph 25 of DPP’'s Reference (No 18 of 2013) R v Finnegan [2014] NICA 20.

“"The domestic and international provisions in relation to the sentencing of children are designed to ensure that where detention of young people is necessary it should be for the shortest appropriate time and the focus should be on rehabilitation away from recidivist offenders. It is for the court, however, to establish whether in accordance with sentencing principles such an outcome can be achieved in a particular case. In assessing the culpability of a young offender his age and emotional development are likely to be significant. The closer he is to the threshold of adulthood the more likely it is that the mitigation of youth will be diminished. That is consistent with the Sentencing Guidelines Council Definitive Guideline entitled “"Overarching Principles – Sentencing Youths”" at paragraph 5.2. We have said on numerous occasions that we often find assistance in the general factors taken into account in the compilation of these sentencing guidelines.”"

[35] We are satisfied, therefore, that the mitigation for youth in the case of a person who was approximately 2 months short of his 18th birthday at the time of the commission of a serious violent offence of this nature is limited. In our view the appropriate tariff in the case of Wootton was 20 years. We have to take into account the effect of double jeopardy arising from his exposure to this reference and in the circumstances we substitute a tariff of 18 years.

[36] We refuse leave in the case of McConville and grant leave and substitute a tariff of 18 years in the case of Wootton.