Mr Robert Neill
Chair Justice Select Committee
House of Commons
6th April 2016
Dear Mr Neill
you for attending JENGbA’s conference in the House of Commons in
January when we launched the Manchester University & Centre for
Crime and Justice Studies report on, “Dangerous Associations: Joint
Enterprise, Gangs and Race.” I am sure you will agree it was a very
important report and JENGbA welcomed the robust comments from the MP’s
on the panel and those who attended. Lord Beith, your predecessor, in
particular, was exceptionally outspoken about the concerns the previous
Justice Select Committee had about joint enterprise charging, especially
the overwhelming evidence of the disproportionate convictions of young
men from ethnic minorities.
As you will be aware JENGbA’s years
of campaigning have finally been vindicated by the Supreme Court
decision on Feb 18th in R v Jogee when the Supreme Court Judges
unanimously decided that the doctrine had been misinterpreted for 32
years since Chan Wing-Siu. JENGbA absolutely welcomes this decision,
and we know that the years of campaigning as well as the two reports
from the Justice Select Committee would have contributed to their
decision that joint enterprise charging based on possible foresight was
no longer tenable in our Justice System.
It is now of vital
importance to understand what the Supreme Court did in this particular
case, and this was to acknowledge that the law was not wrong and
therefore did not need to be corrected, but that the actual courts
interpretation of the law was wrong. It is this misinterpretation of
the law that has been corrected not the substantive law itself. This is
important because if it were the law itself that had been changed, then
what the Supreme Court says about fresh appeals would be perfectly
If people have been convicted of murder when as the law
as it stood at the time they would not have been convicted of anything
more than manslaughter, if even that, then surely an obvious miscarriage
of justice has occurred and the courts should be keen to correct it.
may be inconvenient for the court of appeal to have to clean up the
mess left by previous courts, but if injustice has been caused then
obviously that must be corrected.
Supreme Court said in paragraph 100 of the judgement,
a conviction has been arrived at by faithfully applying the law as it
stood at the time, it can be set aside only by seeking exceptional leave
to appeal to the Court of Appeal out of time. That court has power to
grant such leave, and may do so if substantial injustice be
demonstrated, but it will not do so simply because the law applied has
now been declared to have been mistaken.”
JENGbA believe this is
wide open to challenge. The interpretation of the law over the last
thirty two years may have changed as a result of the decision in Chan
Wing-Siu but the actual law itself did NOT change. So in that period
the courts have NOT been “faithfully applying the law as it stood at the
time”, they have been misinterpreting what the law always was in the
However, if they did not think the ruling would open
the floodgates for appeals they are wrong, we have a number of appeals
that we think will be successful because of the correction, but sadly
there will still be a huge number of prisoners where the 'foresight'
ruling will not apply even though they we not the principal or in many
cases at the scene (as with the Cohen brothers article attached.)
would like advice on how we get a full independent inquiry into the
years of abuse that have allowed people to be convicted, predominantly,
though not exclusively, of murder or manslaughter based on virtually no
evidence except that someone loosely associated to the principle should
have/may have/could have ‘known’ what he/she might do. JENGbA does not
accept that the law took a wrong turn, lawmakers including the police
and CPS and the courts took a wrong turn, in charging people using joint
enterprise precisely because they had no other evidence against them.
is currently supporting 698 prisoners and if as ordinary members of the
general public we recognised that this doctrine was leading to mass
numbers of miscarriages of justice, something the previous Justice
Select Committee agreed with because of the evidence before them in
submissions, then it is only right and proper that a fuller
investigation is made into police and charging decisions to find out the
We believe that transparency is now key and therefore
urge for a full independent inquiry so that prisoners who are serving
mandatory life sentences for crimes they did not commit can have a full
We would like a moratorium to be issued that no
legal transcripts or documents from cases can be destroyed until this is
We want the CPS and police to hand over disclosure
evidence that prisoners and legal teams have been trying to obtain for
years. This is extremely important as the current climate for the
miscarriage of justice world is loaded with obstacles and malfeasance.
The CCRC are currently struggling to cope with the cases they have
before them, we do not believe they will be able to do the investigative
work needed to get to the 'truth' our prisoners so desperately need.
would also urge that an inquiry is made on the life licence for
prisoners who were not the principle, but were convicted of murder as a
secondary party using joint enterprise. These are people who are now at
liberty but living on the outside with a life time of restrictions.
is also an important discussion to be had about Schedule 21, as
mandatory sentencing is not something supported by the general public.
A further Inquiry into joint enterprise
charges based on the overwhelming evidence that JENGbA has now gathered
through our cases can only merit the full attention and support of
Parliament and we would truly appreciate any advice from the Justice
Committee or those MP's who have been supportive of JENGbA's campaign on how we take this important prison and human
rights issue forward.
For information we have included an
article by the Investigative journalist Bob Woffinden into a case of the
Cohen brothers JENGbA have been supporting along with their families as
a clear example of these exact obstacles and malfeasance prisoners
seeking to right a miscarriage of justice are unable to overcome.
Campaign Co-ordinator Joint Enterprise: Not Guilty by Association.
Mr Andrew Mitchell MP, Mr Andrew Slaughter MP, Lord Alan Beith, Lord
Herman Ouseley, Baroness Lola Young, Mr Stephen Pound MP, Mr Keir
Starmer MP, Kate Osamor MP, Mr Jeremy Corbyn MP, Emily Thornberry MP,
Sadiq Khan MP, David Davis MP, Gorden Marsden MP, John McDonnell MP,
Diana Abbott MP, David Lammy MP, Dame Tessa Jowell, Baroness Neuberger,
Lisa Nandy MP, Helen Jones MP, Baroness Jenny Jones, Lord Wolfe, Lord
Ramsbottom, Baroness Joan Bakewell, Steve Rotheram MP, Oliver Dowden
MP, John Pugh MP, Dominic Grieves MP, Andy Burnham MP, Yasmin Qureshi MP,
Maria Eagle MP, Stephen Twigg MP.