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Friday, 2 September 2016

IPP. A message from Mr Osbourne regarding the Petition- Release the Remaining IPP Prisoners

Osbourne 2 August  2016

This is very good news  regarding the the Parole Board .
I recently served 12 months in prison and one of my cellmates was on IPP. He had been given a two year tariff and had already been in prison for eight and a half years. He had a parole board review due in February this year. Had the parole board been positive he would have served ten years by the reasonably expected date of release. This period would be far in excess of any sentence he could expect if he was sentenced for the same offense today.
There were two other similar but not so excessive cases on my wing that I knew of.
The IPP prisoners would then expect to be under license for the remainder of their lives with the prospect of re--imprisonment for any minor infringement that a less than sympathetic system might create.
I know that release must be the first priority but the license conditions also need to be addressed in order to allow the opportunity for these people to be rehabilitated and move on.

Mark Newby  2 August 2016

Thank you for inviting me here today to speak to you about a subject that not only we are concerned about but that every right thinking member of society should care about – miscarriages of justice.
Today I want to talk to the subject of the inability of the establishment to accept responsibility.
My argument here today is that we are probably at the worst moment we have ever been at for tackling such miscarriages and I would say that one of the fundamental reasons for this is the inability of the machinery of the state to accept responsibility and admit error when they are wrong.
You see we are all human beings in the end and a system that relies on individuals will in the end deliver outcomes based upon human error. Whether you are the hapless accused, the Police, the Prosecutor, the Defence Counsel, the Jury, the Judge, the appeal lawyer, the CCRC or the Appeal Judges We All Make Mistakes And We Are All Infallable .
Of course the fundamental problem with a system that never admits mistakes is that it is in a downward spiral – organisations that cannot admit fault in the end will become failing organisations. The easiest answer is to brush it under the carpet or find an excuse for why things went wrong

But sticking plasters will not save a system which is bleeding from every artery.
As we will see one case which demonstrates better than most complete system failure is the case.

We have given control of our Justice System to the Media and Politicians
2. We have removed fundamental safeguards of those accused and each year these safeguards are eroded further
3. Public funding has been subject to a sustained and unremitting attack
4. Past cuts have encouraged poor representation and cases where every corner is cut
5. The CPS is in my view badly administered and massively underfunded,

6. We have taken the Forensic Science Service which was admired across the World and decimated it and the retention of exhibits for another perceived financial saving. Now we leave exhibits in the hands of private organisations with restricted ability to access those exhibits when a case goes wrong.
7. The Police themselves have equally been attacked by substantial cut backs, large reduction in experienced investigators and a drive towards results at all costs.
8. The Courts are skewed in favour of convictions at all costs and we live in a world where “statistics” are the order of the day, we charge additional fines and disincentivise those who want to plead not guilty.
9. We have a public funding system for criminal appeals which is non-existent, difficult to achieve and awash with delay.
10. The Court of Appeal has become a hurdle which few get across in seeking to appeal their convictions and the Court itself has put in place significant hurdles. For example it has over recent years narrowed appeals based on false memory, weakened fatally good character directions and recently introduced a requirement for original legal teams to comment on the grounds and factual basis. Whether through design or by accident the net effect of these reforms has been to narrow the opportunity to appeal.
The Supreme Court in Nunn has reinforced difficulties in obtaining access to Original Exhibits denying some appellants the opportunity to ever put right their wrongful convictions
12. The CCRC remains under funded, delays are wholly unacceptable and there remains a lack of dialogue and accountability for CCRC decisions
13. Even if you manage to achieve against all odds a successful quashing of your conviction it is virtually impossible to be compensated for what has happened to you.

The problem is that the evidence is that the Court is now pursuing a strategy of narrowing the opportunity to appeal at every turn. From the outside it seems like it is seeking to plug every gap for an appeal in the hope that this will somehow protect the integrity of the system when in fact the converse is true.

Some examples have been:
Requiring a Single Judge to no longer grant permission to appeal on the papers in a case long out of time but to refer it to the full court for consideration.
Blocking the availability of Good Character directions in any case where the Crown might rely on bad character
Requiring appeal lawyers to confirm the factual basis and obtain comments on any grounds of appeal.
On bad appeals reporting Solicitors and Counsel to their regulatory bodies Reducing to an almost non -existent level the availability of rep orders in the Court of Appeal for Solciitors .
Plugging the gap rulings – where there is an appeal granted subsequently targeting that new point and over turning it in subsequent cases.
The CCRC – I have said something about the CCRC already and I probably don’t need to say too much more. Too slow, still too secretive and not referring nearly enough cases. Yet it is still a vital organisation and one with many good commissioners and lawyers such as those who have supported this conference today. The inconsistency and lack of transparency remain the vital issues which the commission still have to address.
We don’t want to see headlines about Professional Footballers applying to the CCRC we want to see headlines about the increased numbers of referrals and quashed convictions of ordinary applicants.
Finally perhaps the gravest challenge to the future is the systematic attack on Legal Aid. We now have a system that has sustained:17.5% cuts on fixed fees.Those fees had already been reduced year on year for the last 15 years Payments incentivised towards securing guilty pleas A dramatic reduction already in the number of providers.Proposals to reduce the number of duty solicitors contracts from 1200 to 525 A systematic attack on criminal appeal firms with aggressive auditing practices.

Limits on when firms can grant funding .Reductions in the fees that can be paid to expert witnesses. The removal of defence cost orders to anyone who has not been refused legal aid and then only paid at legal aid rates.
The consequences of which are large numbers of firms can no longer operate financially and are leaving. The pool of good miscarriage of justice lawyers is rapidly diminishing at a time when conversely the amount of miscarriages are increasing.Ultimately there is a common thread to all of this .it is easy to attack legal aid, to
restrict appeals and fail to refer or to investigate or prosecute flimsy cases when the system has nothing to worry about because it does not answer for its mistakes
where error can be swept under the carpet.
However .. perhaps we are coming close now to a time when the cracks can no longer be papered over. Where the efforts to block justice have become so perverse that they will soon be no longer sustainable. Where scandal has fatally damaged the police, where prosecutions are collapsing with too much regularity and where our appellate system is being criticised by the establishment itself.
The next few years will determine what sort of society we want to be in the end, if we truly believe in justice we shall have to learn how to say sorry and put right our errors.

Karen Bardsley05Aug 2016

My son Ryan  had a parole hearing with Nick Hardwick present as an observer He was told within the week the outcome ( hearing date July 20th) The outcome was that he is to b released to a hostel Sept 6th which I'm thrilled about My son was attacked in 2009 which resulted with him having a titanium plate in his head All through him being in custody (2010) he has complained with headaches You could visibly see that the plate had moved + dropped leaving him with a big visible dent for 1/2 his head Anyway the prison decided to take him to Salford Royal for it to be checked That resulted with the doctors saying that it needed replacing within 3 months The plate was cracked + a screw missing All through custody it seems that they thought he was playing up on his head Most annoying fact is that the prison took him to hospital on Tuesday when he had the replacement plate put in that day He was discharged + sent back to Buckley Hall prison with an open 25 stitches wound No Health care plan I'm utterly disgusted!!! Plus he had the op + none of his family were informed I'm distraught I'm a Llaryngectome { had my voice box removed. Coz of cancer )
> He's a  vulnerable prisoner + I fear for his health IPP prisoners get treated like trash. They didn't even give him clean pillow slips or extra pillows He isn't out till Tues + then onto a hostel for 3 mths He's in no fit state but what can he do?? I don't think there will b anybody at the hostel that's medically trained When he stands or turns his head he can feel all movement in his head with all the swelling. I will follow your campaign closely. 
7th September A Nothing's gone to plan My son was supposed to b released today ( 6th Sept ) but at 8.00 am this morning as they unlocked he was told off the officer that he was staying put!! Apparently there's no room at the hostel My son had given most of his stuff away + hadn't got anything from the canteen Talk about a kick in the teeth Probably another test to see how he reacts We are now expecting him to be released 9th Sept Will keep you updated X

Hardwick said.
The former Chief Inspector of Prisons said there were three categories of IPP inmate who would benefit most:

The Parole Board is also trying to cut the backlog of prisoners awaiting decisions on their release, by hiring more parole panel members and dealing with cases more efficiently.
It was “crazy” to be paying out compensation to inmates held in custody because their cases were delayed due to a lack of resources.

The law society Gazette

It should not be surprising that Liz Truss has paid more attention to prisons than courts during her first few weeks as justice secretary.
Prison Law
What We Do Our prison and civil liberties law experts can provide you with advice and support across a wide range of legal issues, including:
  • Challenging poor conditions and addressing medical issues in prisons and other places of detention
  • Supporting prisoners through the parole process
  • Ensuring that the categorisation of prisoners is appropriate to them
  • Supporting families who are party to coroners’ inquests after deaths in prison or police custody

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