Friday, 26 February 2016

"An Amazing Day": Jan Cunliffe's message to JENGbA's Inside Campaigners about the UKSC landmark Joint Enterprise judgment

What an amazing day Thursday 18th February 2016 turned out to be. We were number two slot on the news. The Prime Minister made an announcement on the same morning, and according to a reliable media source it’s terribly rude not to put him on first even if what comes second is more interesting. I'm sure you're all aware that after the joyous reporting of the morning things started to falter with some of the mainstream media by late afternoon. That is probably because the BBC news website had gained over a million watched hits by lunchtime and bad murderous news stories sell better than good old fashioned success stories. This is perhaps why tactics changed by Friday morning with some of the papers awash with foolish headlines such as, 'Hundreds of Dangerous Murders Could Walk Free due to Supreme Court Ruling'. Don't worry though the Supreme Court Judges soon put the record straight and many MP's and knowledgeable legal people jumped on board to quash the mayhem via social media.

Facebook and Twitter was on fire with concerns from members of the public who were horrified that the law had taken a wrong turn for over three decades. Some were concerned that killers really would be set free, but still accepted how wrong it was that people who hadn't committed a murder were doing life for murder. There was some input from victims’ families, you may have noticed how they were confused and worried about the implications of the ruling, and quite rightly so.

It was never the job of JENGbA to inform victims’ families that a joint enterprise case was being heard at the Supreme Court, and even if it was possible to track down every family who had lost a love one and seen a conviction gained via joint enterprise, (which it isn't), it would have been highly inappropriate for us to contact them anyway. Firstly because we are here to support you, and secondly we had no idea what the result was going to be.

It seemed to me that some journalists felt there was a battle between victims of crime and victims of injustice. I am always asked how I feel about the victims, of course there is only one answer, and it is the same answer that every sane person would have. No victim was asked how they would feel if they found out that an innocent person was serving a life sentence for murder? We are not at war with the victims and nor should they be with us. The law took a wrong turn in 1984, the law got it wrong and because of that we are all paying a heavy price. Don't ever feel angry with the victims’ families, they have had the wool pulled over their eyes throughout,  and it must be devastating to now have to come to terms with the possibilities of what the future may throw at them.

So much news following the ruling means the vultures are circling. Good stories about miscarriages of justice sell newspapers, and a good documentary idea gets commissioned, so there is money to be made from all of our misery. I'm personally not worried about the media because if time and money can be invested by others in getting the message out there I welcome it, (as long as it is the truth). Many families did this and many more can contribute in the future, but they may want your permission first. I would say let them help you if they are willing to do so.

However, I am seeing law firms pop up declaring their acute awareness of the Supreme Court’s judgment and falling over themselves with promises of help. All I can say is JENGbA has been campaigning for years, we have struggled on a shoestring and to the best of my knowledge some of the names I'm seeing come out of the woodwork right now never showed an ounce of genuine concern for any of you or the JENGbA campaigners as we struggled to inform the public and MP's alike on the failings of joint enterprise. However, that is not to say it is all about the money and that alone, maybe they do have morals and a genuine concern. Only you can decide where and how you move forward, and who with. Just remember for those of you who are not wealthy, it should not cost you or your family anything right now. If you are asked for money upfront please contact JENGbA and we will find out why.