Sunday, 24 June 2012

The importance of law: fundraiser in London Tuesday for the campaign against joint enterprise

On Tuesday, June 26, there will be a fundraiser in London for the campaign against joint enterprise (below). The joint enterprise law enables all who are present or who can plausibly be associated with a person committing an act of violence to be charged themselves with the same act. See here. This results in Britain in an enormous number of people being jailed (17% of the prison population with life sentences compared to 3% for the rest of Europe is one indication) with a predilection for young blacks. But the predation extends, as this event indicates, to whites as well.

Jordan Cunliffe, a white 16 year old who suffered from acute keracotonus (he can only see some colors; he is effectively blind), was in a group of boys who had a confrontation with Garry Newlove. Newlove had been told by his daughter that they were vandalizing a neighbor's yard. Two of the young men struck Newlove, one kicked him in the throat, and killed him. These two men were rightly tried for homicide.

Cunliffe was present but did not take part in the attack. Though legally blind, the prosecutor, with the aid of a corrupt judge, excluded direct medical testimony at his trial about what the nature of keracotonus is (the case would not have survived). As a result of joint enterprise and prosecutorial and judicial malfeasance, Cunliffe was convicted and has now served four years in prison (part of a 16 year sentence; a 30 year sentence is a life sentence in Britain).

Prime Minister David Cameron singled out this crime as an example of "broken Britain." And he is certainly right that the assault itself was a horror. But what is broken in Britain (and in a different way in the United States) is the law. According to Blackstone's ratio, it is better than ten guilty men go free than that one innocent is thrown away. Jordan Cunliffe is blind. Jordan Cunliffe did not part in the assault on Gsrry Newlove. Jordan Cunliffe is in jail.

His mother Janet Cunliffe will speak about the case.

Worse yet, many more innocent people - especially young blacks and Asians - are in jail in England, which has a police state proportional, in terms of population, to the United States (the United States holds 2.3 million people in prison, 25% of the world's prisoners).* What happened to Jordan Cunliffe shows strikingly how an abuse against minorities extends at last to everyone. how whites also are hurt by racism as a form of divide and rule, how Pastor Niemoller's statement first they came for the Communists and the jews and I did nothing, and at last they came for me, and there was no one left to protest, lives on.

The other speaker is Paddy Hill, as IRA member, part of the Birmingham 6, wrongly convicted of a bombing in England. He served six years but has been found not guilty on appeal and released. He is, as it were, the Communist in the Niemoller poem.

It is easy to take law frivolously, to go on about one's life, to think that the presumption of innocence is of no great importance and that it is better to throw away "criminals." It is not.

Professor Alan Gilbert

Friday, 22 June 2012

JENGbA Newsletter 16 - June 2012

You can read/copy/print JENGbA's latest Newsletter HERE 

Please share with ANYONE you feel should know about our campaign...

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JENGbA UpRISING - Tuesday 26 June


Come to JENGbA UpRISING Tuesday 26 June!

On Tuesday 26 June, JENGbA is holding our first fundraiser/awareness event at the Tabernacle Powis Square W11. 

The Tabernacle has a long history of activism for the West London community and is also a fantastic music venue. The event is being supported by MOJO Scotland, the Miscarriage of Justice Campaign that Paddy Hill set up along with Gerry Conlon when he was released from Prison. 
Paddy is also going to be one of the speakers; he retains the same passion and anger directed to miscarriages of Justice as he did 20 years ago when he was released after 17 years of wrongful imprisonment.  He is heartbreakingly honest about what prison does to innocent people, and he's an inspiration to all of us who have a loved one imprisoned by the 'justice' system. 
MOJO Scotland have also secured The Alabama 3 to perform for us. Their track 'Woke Up this Morning' is well known from the Soprano's but they are brilliant social commentators in their music and sure to be an unforgettable gig. 

The rap artist Goddaz has recorded a song for JENGbA which he will perform for the first time on the 26th - and has promised all proceeds from sales to go to the campaign. 

Also speaking will be Janet Cunliffe, whose son Jordan was convicted to a life sentence for the murder of Garry Newlove, a murder which he did not commit. Jordan, who is blind, was 15 at the time of conviction and is currently serving time as a miscarriage of Justice. 

Janet hopes that her talk will dispel some of the myths around prison life and Jordan's wrongful conviction. She says: "Life in prison for my young son is horrendous. It is not a cosy place with playstations, three hearty meals a day and as much leisure time in the gym as you choose. It's a dungeoun filled with bullies, boredom, tasteless food and unimaginable sadness. But for someone paying the highest price possible, which is a life sentence for the actions of another, it is also a place of mental torture.

This is just one of many examples of how the Joint Enterprise law is being applied.

The JENGbA UpRISING will be the first of many. It is not just about fundraising (although we are now supporting 340 prisoners and the cost of sending in  a regular newsletter to keep them updated is a paramount concern). It is a campaign run by volunteers so all funds raised will support our activism and our determination to expose the abuse of an archaic 'principal' to lock up innocent men, women and children. 

Our UpRISING event is also about raising awareness.  We are asking people young and old to attend, we are asking lawyers and barristers, we are asking politicians but most of all we are asking you. We hope you will come to listen to our message - not enough people know about the inhumane and unjust reality of the Joint Enterprise law so we hope that you will help us spread the word and demand that this horrific law is outlawed.

You can buy tickets to the event here

Gloria Morrison - Campaigner for JENGbA - Joint Enterprise Not Guilty By Association

Monday, 11 June 2012


Joint enterprise is a law used when the police cannot prove who the perpetrator of the offence was. So for example you are walking down the street with a friends or relative.Your friends/relative gets into a fight, your at the scene watching what is happening obviously thinking that it has nothing to do with you, it’s not your fight. The fight ends everyone walks away. The next day you are arrested on the suspicion of murder, you find out it wasn’t just a fight you witnessed, the person who your friend/relative fought with was fatally stabbed. You tell the police ‘ I was there but it wasn’t me’. You feel confident because you played no part, you didn’t know the person was going to be or had been stabbed.

You are then charged jointly with murder! You know you are innocent but it will go to trial. The prosecution will allege that you were part of a common purpose or plan, you were there for encouragement, you are equally guilty. The prosecution will ask if you knew whether your ‘accomplice’ had a knife, you will of course deny this, you thought it was just a fight. The prosecution will then allege that you should have known what was in your ‘accomplice’ pockets because you are best friends or relatives etc etc. The prosecution will allege you shared the same intent as the murderer, he will go on to trash your defence with his wild speculations during his closing speech. His whole speech will be intent on damaging your character because he has no solid evidence against you, he barely mentions your co-accused, he doesn’t have to, the evidence presented in court has secured his first conviction. He will save his closing speech all for you, attacking your character and making sure the jury learn that you are no scared little chicken sitting in the back of class to afraid to speak with your school teacher.

But the jury won’t take too much persuading, after all the standard of proof is set frightfully low in joint enterprise law. Your life has been placed in the hands of 12 people who don’t know one end of the law from the other. It takes a person 10 years to qualify as a barrister and yet a jury of 12 people with no law experience are expected to understand such complex laws like joint enterprise in 3-4 weeks. The jury will go on to convict you because of one or two things. 1. ‘There’s no smoke without fire’ the prosecution has done his job by attacking your character with totally unwarrented speculations, or 2. They just don’t understand the complex law of joint enterprise or worse, they can’t be bothered to work it out – after all they have sat through a rather lengthy trial. Conviction number 2, really good day for the prosecution.

Ok so now you think, ‘ I’ll appeal, I know I am innocent’. You will then be told that you can’t appeal on the basis of your innocence. Why? Because jury’s don’t get it wrong. The fight you will have on your hands to over turn your conviction will be way bigger than you can ever imagine. Why? Because the ‘Justice System’ don’t like to admit they have made a mistake. You will still fight though there is nothing left for you to do apart from a sentence for a crime you haven’t commited. Things will get a whole lot worse before they get even a smidgen better. The newspapers will print that you are a murderer, that you joined in with the fight. They will crush any chance of people believing you, you will feel trapped. Because you keep maintaining your innocence you will stand little chance of parole. Why? Because maintaining your innocence is not showing remorse therefore you are not rehabilitated because you are not sorry for a crime you did not commit.

Someone said to me not long ago that juries should be told how difficult it is to have a murder conviction over turned. Some Juries will more than likely go on to convict under the illusion that if they got it wrong a higher court will correct their mistakes. This is wrong, courts do not like to over turn convictions and admit their perfect system is wrong.

Other people are serving life sentence’s because of simply using their mobile at the wrong time. Another is serving a life sentence for being a good samaritan, unfortunately all he did was offer the wrong person a lift. Another person is serving life because he was asked to burn out a car for the insurance money, little did he know that the car had been used in a murder, and there you have it – another miscarriage of justice.

This is joint enterprise, I know you will probably not believe what you are reading but these things happen, this is real life. If you think Joint Enterprise will never affect you think again! Remember all you have to do is be in the wrong place at the wrong time or even innocently use your own mobile phone. This law is unjust and is crying out for an amendment that will set the standard of proof extremely higher than what it is now. But don’t worry I know you will be thinking this simply couldn’t happen to you….. Could it?

(Posted in JENGbA's Facebook Group) 



JENGbA UpRISING Flyer Rear   

You can view/save/print the flyer from HERE

Thursday, 7 June 2012

JENGbA At Birkbeck University Of London

Presentation at Birkbeck on Wednesday 9 May 2012; 7 – 9pm.

Debbie Johnson, a student on Birkbeck’s MA Gender, Sexuality and Culture:

The Joint Enterprise Law is hailed as the answer to ‘gang crime’ in Britain.  However, an alarming number of teenagers are currently serving life sentences for being ‘guilty by association,’ or simply being ‘in the wrong place at the wrong time.’  This includes being imprisoned for crimes they did not commit, could not have foreseen, had no intention of committing or even in numerous cases – tried to prevent happening.

JENGbA campaigners Gloria Morrison, Patricia Brown and Karen Horlock spoke at Birkbeck last Wednesday evening about the implications of the Joint Enterprise Law (JE) and why we should be concerned about its current application.

The evening began with a short film detailing the history of JE.  It is a law over 300 years old for the prevention of illegal duels holding equally culpable all in attendance, not only the combatants but also the medics or any witnesses – they would all be ‘guilty by association.’  It is this law which has re-emerged as Britain’s answer to ‘gang crime.’  However, its current application is targeting large numbers of working class families in Britain particularly those from Black, Asian and Ethnic minority groups.  JENGbA are campaigning for the reform of the Joint Enterprise Law.

Karen Horlock spoke first relating how the JE law had devastated her family.  Her son is serving a life sentence for a crime he did not commit and despite having witnesses to testify that he was not present at the crime, he was imprisoned because he knew some of the people involved and by JE law is ‘guilty by association.’  Karen questioned why her son – a 30 year old married man – has been imprisoned under an archaic law supposedly used to prevent teenaged gang crime.  Karen further explained the impossibility of the appeal process; it is inadmissible to use evidence used during the trial, you are required to find fresh evidence ‘how do you find DNA evidence to prove you weren’t there?’ said Karen to the stunned audience.

‘It encourages lazy policing,’ said JENGbA campaigner Sharon Spencer sat in the audience, the police no longer need to find evidence, you are guilty simply by knowing the person who is involved, ‘people have been imprisoned for a phone call.’

Patricia Brown then spoke about her son.  While walking home from school with a friend, they were attacked by a much older boy, Patricia’s son managed to break free, he was 15 years old at the time and ran home scared.  Later it was discovered that his friend had stabbed the older boy.  Patricia’s son was sentenced to 15 years in prison for a crime he did not commit, was not present at and – as also required by JE law – had no forethought or knowledge of.  Patricia was visibly distressed, speaking just above a whisper, she like Karen is still grappling with the enormity, and pain of what has happened to her son.

Campaign Coordinator Gloria Morrison then gave what proved to be a rousing finale to the evening.  Gloria outlined JENGbA’s aim to not only campaign for the reform of The Joint Enterprise Law but for solidarity with all miscarriages of justice.  Gloria cited many examples of social injustice against working class people including the deaths in police custody of Christopher Alder and Anthony Grainger.  She invited everyone present to JENGbA’s fundraiser on Tuesday 26 June 2012 and also an upcoming presentation on Monday 21 May 2012 to include John Carlos who performed the iconic black power salute at the 1968 Olympic Games, Doreen Lawrence the mother of murdered Stephen Lawrence and Janet Alder the sister of murdered Christopher Alder.

Liz Feteke – Director of Institute of Race Relations:

Room incredibly packed – must be seventy people.

Very diverse audience, age-wise, gender-wise, race-wise a real representative cross section of the population.  People in the audience shaking their heads when they hear the sentences of the people convicted under JE.

Karen Horlock explains how JE works and what happened to her son, also the lack of evidence in JE cases, and the long term impact on the health and well being of her family.

Patricia then spoke of her son’s case and the media handling of a high profile case.

More people coming in as Gloria does her ‘state of the nation’ address on JE.

Questions are very challenging. One lady in the audience reveals that her godson has been sentenced for 18 months for a crime he did not commit, and he has gone off the rails now. A lot of focus on the media

Anna Foldvari, Birkbeck MA student:

We heard the voice of the voiceless. Thanks to JENGbA we heard how frequently in the name of justice and order, injustice occurs in the UK. The fact about the destruction of the lives of hundreds and thousands of ordinary and innocent people and their families cannot be hidden anymore. The horrid experiences of families and innocently imprisoned people cannot be denied anymore because JENGbA and the amazing people behind it raise their voice. They are here and they are campaigning against an outdated, politically charged law which application is so very often motivated by racism and middle-class anxieties. And because change is desperately needed, responsible citizens cannot turn their head away and cannot sit with their hands folded.”