Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Another Miscarriage Of Justice In The Case Of Asher & Lewis Johnson

“Five charged with stabbing a suspected gangster, Thomas Cudjoe, to death in the garage forecourt of the Shell petrol station in Ley St, Ilford.”

On the evening of Friday November 2nd 2012 Asher Johnson (aged 24) attended an old neighbour’s birthday party in Ley St, Ilford.  

During that evening Asher decided to meet up with a couple of friends in the Bell pub for a couple of drinks before his friend picked them up later in a car to go clubbing.   

Asher Johnson’s younger brother, Lewis Johnson (aged 21), arrived later at the pub on his own at 12pm and the idea was to have a few drinks, play pool and wait for their friend to arrive later.

Once the brothers had finished drinking and decided to leave the pub (which backs on to the forecourt of the petrol station) there was an altercation between Asher Johnson and Thomas Cudjoe. 

Lewis Johnson stood back during this whole ordeal and did not get involved in any way whatsoever. 

Asher Johnson threw a couple of punches at Thomas Cudjoe and quickly withdrew from the scene with his brother Lewis Johnson, as a few other people arrived at the scene and Asher Johnson could tell that there was going to be some kind of further trouble which he did not want to be involved in. 

After Asher and Lewis Johnson had departed from the scene, Thomas Cudjoe was stabbed to death by Jerome Green, the victim is said to have had 10 stab wounds to his chest and legs and also 4 slash wounds. Whilst Jerome Green was stabbing Thomas Cudjoe, Courtney Mitchell was holding the front passenger side door, therefore, preventing Thomas from escaping and as all of this was occurring, Reece Garwood was in the back of the vehicle, having a physical fight with the victim’s friend. 

All 5 men were charged with murder under joint enterprise, even though it was clear on the CCTV that it was in fact Jerome Green who had committed the stabbing and murder. 

On the CCTV it clearly shows that Asher and Lewis Johnson both withdrew from the scene before the weapon (knife) was produced and before any stabbing took place, and yet, they were still charged with murder.

During the trial the judge even mentioned that he had been watching the CCTV all weekend and that different charges must apply to the Johnson brothers, which could have been Violent Disorder or ABH (as manslaughter was not applicable to them) so therefore, they would be tried separately to the other co-defendants.

There was only one killer and this was admitted in court. On Friday July 26th 2013 they found the first 3 co-defendants guilty of murder, Reece Garwood and Courtney Mitchell being convicted on presence and Jerome Green for actually carrying out the murder. That same day, later in the afternoon, the jury also convicted Asher and Lewis Johnson of murder on a majority, rushed into a verdict in an hour as the Judge had somewhere to be at 4pm that day. The jury had also mentioned that they wanted to leave early as it was too hot. The judge had mentioned that if they did not reach a verdict in that hour then there would have to be a retrial for the Johnson Brothers.

This, the family feel, would have been much fairer as it can be noted that the judge seems to have pushed the jury into making a decision when they clearly had little guidance and no knowledge of the joint enterprise guidelines which were introduced in December 2012 to prevent mistakes such as the one made in this case whereby people are wrongly convicted.
Does this now lead to mean that if you argue with someone and that same person is later attacked when you have left the scene that you are guilty of murder? That is complete and utter madness!

The boys’ mother feels the trial was carried out unfairly, none of Asher Johnson’s good character was heard, and a deal was done which was all or nothing (guilty or not guilty of murder) which the family and Johnson brothers had no knowledge of. Two jury members were constantly asleep and one female jury member was seen crying on one occasion.
How in the United Kingdom can one be convicted of a crime he did not commit or did not foresee happening? How can a person be given a conviction of a crime like murder and then be told by their legal team that they cannot appeal, knowing the entire trial was a shambles and that the jury had evidentially made a mistake.
Asher Johnson

Asher Johnson is a loving son and brother, he has a further two younger siblings, a sister of 5 and a brother of 13. He has always been a kind, easy going and laid back, gentle young man. He has never been involved in any violence before. Asher Johnson was playing football for his local boroughs team at semi-pro level and was also working as a youth worker 3 days a week. Under no circumstances was Asher Johnson a gang member, he doesn’t even have any previous criminal record.

Lewis Johnson with his mother and grandmother

Lewis Johnson is also a very kind and caring brother and son, at the time of the incident prior to being in London for that particular weekend, Lewis Johnson was living with his grandma in Christchurch, Dorset; working for Thames Water. 

The family are devastated, especially the mother, as they were told that the boys would receive lesser charges, never murder.

The family are currently waiting for the boys to be sentenced at the Old Bailey on Friday 13th September 2013. They are not accepting this miscarriage of justice and will be lodging a highly profiled appeal against this unbelievable conviction and yet to be known sentence.