Justice for Tony Marshall ( See also: Complaint to IPCC Against Police, Upheld)
'The British Justice System works, very slow to rectify any damage caused by those who had created it'
'A couple of meanings from the definition of the word fair is; reasonable, fair-minded, open-minded, impartial, even-handed and non-discriminatory. The question here is, can our very own British Justice System really live up to these expectations? Is it really a fair deal, to have offences committed by those who are supposed to be doing the complete opposite? '
Since 8th July 2009 Tony Marshall has been in custody for offences that he did not commit, he is now currently in HMP Frankland, serving an 18 year sentence (9 year IPP) after the original 20 year sentence (10 year IPP) that he was first given was "generously" reduced by the Court of Appeal.
Tony Marshall was originally arrested at his home address in North London, for a conspiracy to rob and conspiracy to burgle on dates between October 2008 and July 2009, he however, was only released from serving a 10 year sentence on the 7th February 2009 and was then made to reside at a probation hostel for 3 months as part of his licence conditions, this involved close supervision along with a 11:00 pm to 7:00 am curfew.
When the police had realised this, they then started to custom build the case around him and the times that he would have been out, this was done as Tony, out of the 21 suspects named within this case papers had the most extensive criminal record, most of what were for serious offences including robberies and firearms.
He had exercised his right to silence and gave no comment interviews, he was given no special warnings by the interviewing officers during these interviews, and after the interviews Tony was charged with two Counts of conspiracy between May and July 2009. What had been a 10 month conspiracy had now become a 2 month conspiracy.
It was continuously suggested by the Crown during the trial that Tony was at the top of the chain, the main man within the conspiracy; I mean how far from the truth can this have been? He had just served 7 years out of the 10 year sentence that he had previously been given, and had just been released prior to his arrest.
There was no evidence of an agreement ever happening between Tony and any of the other suspects within this case, no covert recordings or anything to that extent. There was no forensic evidence to link Tony to anyone of those offences within the conspiracies, he was not picked out on the ID parade that he was made to take part in.
A trial was then set for six weeks at Winchester Crown Court, before trial as required by the Crown, Tony had submitted a defence case statement denying any involvement in the conspiracy offences, he had also submitted a further requests for case disclosure, specifically within that disclosure request, was a request for any surveillance logs relating to Tony himself and any of his co-defendants, this was never disclosed leading up to the trial.
This had been requested as Tony had been informed while he was on remand that another suspect within this case, someone he had known for many years, someone who had an extensive criminal record and someone that Tony had fallen out with shortly after being released from prison, had in fact been on the books as a police informant, it had been noted on the Police National Computer (PNC) that this individual had been arrested for offences believed to be linked to this conspiracy, he was released on bail and the following day had met two police officers at the back of a London police station, he was paid X amount of money in cash and in return he had put Tony Marshall's name along with other's as people that had been involved in offences, he was never used as an anonymous witness, or a witness at trial.
He himself was arrested on the same morning as Tony Marshall but was never charged; in fact he was never charged for any offence but was placed on recall to prison as he had been on licence.
From evidence disclosed in the case papers, he was clearly marked as one of the key suspects within the conspiracy, a request was made for the custody (CCTV) of the morning of the arrest of this suspect, it was said during trial that this (CCTV) had gone missing and that there was no explanation as to its whereabouts.
Another suspect named within the case, who was at one point a friend of Tony, was being pursued by the police with reference to the conspiracy offences, Tony had fallen out with this person while he was in prison and as a result had made threats towards him. Tony was later taken out of prison by the investigating officers interviewed and charged with threats to kill.
This suspect was arrested by the investigating officers on many occasions, he was bailed time and time again even though he had always failed to show for his bail hearing, during his contact with the police he had continuously gave no comment interviews. He was later identified within the case papers by police officers as being one of three suspects being chased away from a robbery offence, the vehicle he was seen travelling in was a short while later found abandoned, within that vehicle police found 3 mobile phones all attributed to him, he was forensically linked to the vehicle along with being identified as the driver of that vehicle by the pursuing officers, items believed to be from that robbery offence were later found at his mother's address which was within a mile of where the vehicle was abandoned.
He had now come to the end of the line with regards to getting bail and knew that there was no way out for him, he would be placed into custody as a co-defendant and would therefore have to come face to face with Tony, this is something that he would not of wanted and he would have been desperately trying to avoid this situation. He agreed to sign up to a Serious and Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 (SOPCA) agreement; he was placed on remand at another establishment and while there he was disclosed all of the case papers.
Tony Marshall's trial was set to start on the 12th April 2010. The Prosecutions main witness was produced from prison during the months of March and April 2010 to conduct his (SOPCA) agreement interviews, this is just weeks before the trial is scheduled to start, they conducted about 13 interviews over that period of time where the witness had totally fabricated a story that would fit into what he had read from the case papers, the interviewing officer near to the end of interviewing this witness, had stated himself that this witness had not told them anything that they had not already known, and what he had told them, what was in relation to the case papers which he had been served.
The Prosecution were still keen on using him as the main witness even though the police had done nothing in relation to collaborate his story. As part of this witnesses (SOPCA) agreement he had to admit to any involvement in any offences that he had been involved in. He also had to plead guilty to the outstanding conspiracy offence, the Prosecution witness had pleaded guilty to one offence within the conspiracy to rob. He also pleaded guilty to handling stolen goods and perverting the cause of justice the later one was with reference to giving police false information when he was stopped by them prior to this investigation. He had given the police his brother's name, a person who was of good character and he had done this to avoid being convicted himself, this surely is an indication that his evidence could never be relied upon.
This Prosecution witness was never charged for the robbery offence where the evidence was over whelming against him, this was not done as part of the (SOPCA) agreement. He had later during trial, while being cross-examined by the defence teams, gave totally different accounts to what he had during interviews proving that he had fabricated a story, he had done this to avoid a confrontation with Tony and most of all a lengthy prison sentence.
A short statement of the overall interviews he had made was disclosed to the defendant's a week before the trial had started. On the day that Tony and his co-defendant's trial started a request was made to the Court for full transcripts of all of the Prosecution witnesses interviews. Within the first few days or so these transcripts were provided, the defence teams were simply asked to work through them as the trial was continuing, giving the defence teams no adequate time to prepare for this witness. The surveillance material that had been requested prior to trial was never disclosed, it was not held back under the Public Interest Immunity application and the defence teams were not given notice to say that no such material exists. Within the first two weeks into the trial the defence teams discovered surveillance material and I say discovered as this material was never disclosed within the case disclosure, the Prosecution had clearly failed within their duties and obligations to disclose key evidence.
Had it been available for the jury members to see, it would have clearly undermined the Prosecution's case against Tony. It would have opened up a new line of inquiry, it would have clearly undermined the investigating officers accounts during the trial as they had clearly lied while under oath, clearly committing perjury.
Evidence was put in front of the jury members that was, never before trial disclosed as evidence within the case. Clearly procedures that need to be followed by both the defence and the Prosecution. The jury members were simply asked to cross it out and take no notice of it! Another document was put in front of the jury members stating that a stolen Police Warrant Card was found in a sofa at Tony Marshall's address. I can ensure that Tony Marshall's address was searched thoroughly on two occasions following his arrest, this item on both occasions was never said to be found there, as it was never there.
A police officer's statement within the case papers shows that it was actually discovered in the glove compartment of a vehicle in the North West London area, 10 months after Tony had been remanded into custody. The vehicle was not Tony Marshall's, Tony Marshall had never been in contact with that vehicle, the vehicle in question was in fact the Prosecution witnesses vehicle. This evidence put before the jury members, was totally false and misleading, but yet was allowed, it should never have been.
The Prosecution had also largely relied on bad character evidence against Tony Marshall. Constantly mentioning to the jury members that he was a professional armed robber who had a string of convictions which involved firearms and robbery offences. These offences that the Prosecution mentioned were in the past, hence why they are called previous convictions. Tony had previously pleaded guilty to those offences and had served his time.
Other evidence that the Prosecution had relied on was mobile phone cell site evidence. The Prosecution had allowed for a coloured glossy book of maps and cell site locations to be provided to the jury members. The Prosecution were asserting that reconnaissance's had been carried out on some robbery offences. Some mobile phones had been cell sited, in some areas days or weeks before offences had been committed, but not at the actual times of the offences. No survey had been carried out to prove that anyone of the mentioned phones had been within enough distance for there to be a reconnaissance.
For starters you would have to be within seeing distance of the alleged offence for there ever to be a reconnaissance, on the maps provided. Mobile phones were placed at the actual locations of the sites, no survey of anyone individual site was carried out to establish whether or not that site was currently active and working correctly. The actual range of that site and where the actual mobile phone may have been at that given time, as they could well have been within miles of those locations. This evidence was compiled by a female officer, part of the Serious and Organised Crime Unit, she while under cross-examination had admitted that she is not an expert; she admits that she has no qualifications in cell site analysis, but has experience. She could not answer the simplest of questions such as the range of each of those sites, where the mobile phones could have been when the calls had been made or whether or not the calls were even made from outside of the UK.
Tony Marshall had been advised by his defence team not to give evidence at trial, this was his right and he exercised that right. Tony and two other co-defendants after the trial period where all found guilty, Tony Marshall was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment (10 year IPP) his co-defendant's each received 18 years (9 year IPP) and 9 years determinate, the Prosecution witness received 4 years 8 months.
Tony Marshall had automatically launched an appeal against conviction and his legal team retrospectively against sentence stating that it was manifestly excessive (How about manifestly unfair). His appeal against conviction at the first judge was refused but he was granted leave to Appeal against Sentence.
Tony again automatically reapplied to renew his application for leave to Appeal against Conviction and added a further ground that he had been denied the Right to a Fair Trial under Article 6 as the Prosecution service had failed to comply with Criminal Procedure and Investigations Act (CPIA) guidelines, they had failed disclose evidence, evidence that had been requested prior to trial and evidence that should have been disclosed.
A date was later set for the hearing before the full Court, Tony had made arrangements with the Court of Appeal to be produced for his hearing as he was now representing himself in regards to conviction, this surely would have been his minimum right, for someone to be representing himself to be produced to present their case.
However the day prior to this hearing Tony was informed by landing staff that he would not be produced to the Court of Appeal for his hearing. After making inquiries into this situation it had become apparent that the Security Department at Frankland prison had sent an urgent fax to the Court of Appeal. They stated that they were not producing Tony for his hearing as they believed he was going to escape. There was no evidence to suggest this claim, he was not placed on the escape list, it was just a totally made up allegation by the prison service, nothing more than them not wanting to foot the bill for transport.
The Security Department had asked for a Video Link hearing to be set, Tony was made to try and present his case via a Video Link of a poor quality, he could not see anyone of the Judges within the Court, the sound of the hearing was all over the place and there was a lot of confusion with regards to the hearing.
Tony Marshall's requests to the Court of Appeal had been rejected even though he had requested the Court to access undisclosed evidence before making their decisions on his application, as this evidence would have undermined that of the Prosecution, this was never done, and his application was refused.
The Court reduced Tony's sentence from 20 years to 18 years (10 year IPP to a 9 year IPP) for a sentence that is considered to be manifestly excessive; this has hardly made a difference.
Six months down the line and Tony Marshall still has not been notified by the Court of Appeal why his renewal application has been rejected and now waits for the Judgement.
Tony Marshall continues to protest his innocents and is now in the process of making an application to the (CCRC) to have this case referred back to the Court of appeal as an abuse of process and an unfair trial.
A complaint has been lodged with the Independent Police Complaints Commission (lPCC) with regards to the conduct carried out by the investigating officers, this was a joint operation carried out by three police forces. Where obvious deals had been carried out between those forces to cover up offences and custom build a case against Tony, we again await the outcome.
There clearly have been procedural flaws throughout the investigation and throughout the trial in this case. But as yet no notice or action has been taken to rectify the damage caused.
Perhaps this is just the way that the British Justice System works, very slow to rectify any damage caused by those who had created it.
The Right to a Fair Trial under Article 6 is supposed to be in place to stop miscarriages of justice from happening and to give everyone that fair hearing, however we see more and more of these cases coming to light every year.
A couple of meanings from the definition of the word fair is; reasonable, fair-minded, open-minded, impartial, even-handed and non-discriminatory. The question here is, can our very own British Justice System really live up to these expectations? Is it really a fair deal, to have offences committed by those who are supposed to be doing the complete opposite?
Tony Marshall remains in HMP Frankland waiting for the day to come when his conviction will be finally quashed, no one knows how long that wait will be, but we will keep you updated!
Written this day of continuing injustice, Friday 3rd February 2012