Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Jan's Blog: The harsh truth about Joint Enterprise

I am writing this blog in the hopes that someone will read it and learn something that I was not able to learn in time to help my own son Jordan Cunliffe. Joint Enterprise is a confusing legal principle and without the proper information prior to trial a defendant can find themselves running the wrong defence and then sadly being convicted for a very serious offence they did not commit.

As a Defendant it is up to you to instruct your legal team. It is no good just pleading not guilty to the index offence and proving you were not the perpetrator of a crime. This is not what Joint Enterprise is about. It is not about proving there was no common plan or organisation involved, because people are convicted because of a Prosecutor’s insistence that you had or should have had possible foresight that a crime might be committed. A ludicrous notion especially when talking about a murder trial, and a murder you took no part in, or one you can prove that you had no physical involvement with let alone a plan or verbal agreement. Or in my son’s case no way of even seeing, as he was blind on the night a spontaneous outburst of violence occurred that sadly resulted in a man’s death. They wanted him to prove disengagement from the scene of the crime, but no one explained to the Jury that it is pointless for a blind child to attempt to prove disengagement from a scene that he was not able to engage in because he was not able to see it in the first place.

So what am I trying to tell you? Well I am trying to tell you to forget about logic or all your ideals that a person is innocent until proven guilty or that our "Great British Justice System" would rather 10 guilty men go free than one innocent man be convicted of a crime he did not commit. That is long gone, and our Judges and Prosecutors these days sadly not only believe in the complete opposite, they strive to make that opposite a reality.

A reality that has already destroyed hundreds, if not thousands of innocent lives. Men, women and even children. Not gang members or those involved with organised crime, like armed robbers, drug dealers or gangland killers. The media have and will continue to feed you a false narrative that this in fact is why Joint Enterprise is being used in our Courts today. Maybe this was the origin for its reintroduction and for very good reasons, but of course only if used correctly even in these types of cases, then it may have merit.

Jan campaigning for her son Jordan
But somewhere along the line its easy application and swift non evidential criteria has meant the bar to conviction has been lowered to such murky depths that convictions are now being gained on mere presence alone or through possible foresight that a crime MAY occur. All too often this happens in cases where a spontaneous fight breaks out, no weapon is used and the victim is the original instigator of the aggression.

And because of this dangerously low level of evidence that places a person securely on the route to conviction, it is now more convenient for the Police to charge more than one person for any crime using flimsy evidence, than to gather real, solid concrete evidence and prove exactly who committed that crime, why and how. Imagine how a victim’s family must feel if they knew not only do the Police not care one iota about bringing the person who ruined their lives to justice, but that the Courts care nothing for them either. You will hear MP's bleating on about putting "victims at the heart of the Criminal Justice System", talk is all it is, because all victims really want are answers, the truth, reasons and justice, not appeasement or revenge at all cost, but sadly this is all they are being offered.

Imagine the utter devastation to the family of the innocent person locked away for life, not just a cushy few years, but LIFE. The frustration, the anger, the daily anguish must be worse than any other form of human torture. That could be you and all because you trusted a system that can no longer be relied upon to serve Justice even to the victims, let alone to the public or to the innocent bystander. 

As a society we developed a justice system that was meant to be fair and just, because without it Britain would have remained lawless, with innocent people being blamed and persecuted for crimes they took no part in. Joint Enterprise and the way it is now being applied means Britain may as well be lawless once again, because innocent people are being blamed and persecuted for crimes they took no part in.

Any legal Professional, MP or so called "expert" who claims this law is necessary and condones its use in its current form has NO understanding of the law or why we have laws in the first place, and because of this they should not be allowed to teach, inform or make decisions about the law that will affect the rest of us with such devastating consequences.

If I had known in 2007 all of the things I know now, things that I had to find out for myself, my blind 15 year old son would never have been convicted of a murder he so obviously did not commit. I would still, as I did back then, insist on him telling the "Truth, the Whole truth and nothing but the Truth." But I would have understood that the truth alone was not nearly enough to save him. I would have realised that you have to remove yourself from the "route to conviction" that is cleverly placed upon you before you even go to trial. A route to conviction that conveniently no one tells you about, in which hearsay, speculation, possible foresight, meaningless one-sided text messages, and flimsy evidence from unreliable witnesses that you may have been, what could be considered by some people, of bad character at some point in your past. Not a criminal or police record, but someone giving personal evidence that they do not like you. This route to verdict is then passed to the jury in a bundle of papers like a multiple choice for them to use when deliberating their verdict. Taking away the jury’s autonomy and forcing them to reach a verdict they may not have done otherwise. 

Please if you value your freedom and liberty or that of someone you love, contact JENGbA. None of us are legal professionals so we cannot offer legal advice but we can make you aware of what it was that allowed our innocent loved ones to be convicted of a crime they did not commit. We can show you just how easy it can be for a Prosecutor to gain a conviction on very flimsy, if not no real evidence at all. It will alarm you, I can guarantee that, and if it doesn't we are not doing our jobs properly.

To ignore this issue means you are allowing it to become even worse than it already is, it WILL touch your life at some point because there is no guidance or control in place. Someone who has not murdered anyone should never go to prison for murder. And anyone who believes it is acceptable for innocent people to be used as example to deter others from crime should offer their own sons lives as lambs to the slaughter, not expect me to hand over mine. 

Janet Cunliffe
4th December 2012