cleared of assault - Friday
October 3, 2003
yesterday threw out a case against a head-teacher accused of forcing a
fish head into the mouth of an 11-year-old boy.
Watkins, a respected headmaster with a reputation for helping difficult
youngsters, walked free from Norwich magistrates court after it was
ruled that he had no case to answer. He had denied assaulting the boy at
a school in Norwich last November.
Watkins, 51, declared the decision "a good result for
education" and criticised the Crown Prosecution Service and police
for bringing the case.
Joe Ghirardello, prosecuting, had told magistrates the assault took
place while Mr Watkins was trying to make the boy, now 12, put the fish
head into a bin. He said Mr Watkins, of Old Catton, Norwich, had put the
student, who cannot be named for legal reasons, in a headlock and forced
the fish head into his mouth.
Martin, the chairman of the magistrates, said: "We've carefully
considered all the evidence given and reflected on everything we've
heard. There was such a degree of inconsistencies and changes in
evidence during testimony as to render the evidence so manifestly
unreliable no reasonable tribunal could convict."
Watkins later paid tribute to friends and relatives. "They have
been there for me throughout," he said. "It's been a
nightmare. It's been the most difficult time in my life. I'm not bitter,
I'm disappointed. I don't blame the parents, I blame the CPS and I blame
headteacher, who has more than 30 years' experience in teaching, pledged
to return to education: "I love it so I will get back to it. It's a
good result for education.
got to start saying to people: yes, children have rights and so have
parents, but they have responsibilities, too."
Watkins' wife, Anne, also 51, said she was "absolutely relieved ...
He's a fantastic man and I love him very much, and he's a great
solicitor, Simon Nicholls, criticised the police and the CPS:
"David Watkins has not been acquitted on a technicality. He has
been acquitted because there was not enough evidence for him to stand
trial." The headteacher was acquitted after an application to
magistrates by Mr Nicholls.
the court heard from Margaret Roberts, a classroom assistant with
responsibility for special needs pupils. She had worked closely with the
boy for two years and accepted that he had been a troublesome pupil. She
said: "He was a cheeky little boy. He could cause disruption in the
Smithers, education correspondent -
Verdict - Jury
Miscarriages of Justice Organisation
'Bringing hope to the innocent'
millioncampaignhomepage is inspired by the Million Dollar Homepage,
run by a 21 year old student and entrepreneur called Alex Tew.
Mr.Tew's website was phenomenally successful and his vision of the
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As well as being a brilliant concept, the website he created looks
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We here at the Million Campaign Homepage believe that the world, and
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There is a lot of cynicism in the world and people feel that their
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is inaccurate. The power of synergy and symbiosis is enormous. The
more bridges are built between different campaigns, the less
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The Million Campaign Homepage is an ecosystem where a congregation of
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The Million Campaign Homepage is a links page. It is a mosaic. It is a
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entrepreneurs can dock their spaceships. The sum of the whole is
greater than its parts. Keep the information flowing and the networks
growing - please add your tile to the game by contacting us.
forum where we have added Simon’s case for discussions / questions.
Crime, World News and Justice: For Readers and Writers
National Monthly Newspaper for prisoners
have created a page on Myspace for Simon, again, to raise awareness.
is a News Website, allowing people to post their own stories, if you
search for Simon Hall, you will see our articles on there, this will
hopefully bring even more awareness to the campaign and who knows who
might pick this it up. The more views we get on our articles, the more
popular our story becomes and the more chances we have of being
noticed and bringing Simon home.
raise public awareness of wrongful convictions as a continuing cause
for concern, despite the creation of the Criminal Cases Review
To facilitate research that identifies the causes of wrongful
convictions in the interests of effecting legal reform to reduce the
occurrence of wrongful convictions.
To encourage the establishment of Innocence Projects within
universities in the UK.
Note 10, Improving Prison Healthcare. Duty of care for prisoners:-
"All persons deprived of their liberty shall be treated with
humanity and with respect for the inherent dignity of the human
perfect guide to get you started.
Who to contact, where to go, support is available, you just need to
Visit United Against Injustice (Thanks to Andrew, great drop menu :)
Smoke Without Fire
Prisons and Probation Ombudsman is appointed by the Home Secretary and
investigates complaints from prisoners and those subject to probation
supervision, or those upon whom reports have been written. The
Ombudsman is completely independent of both the Prison Service and the
National Probation Service (NPS). The current Ombudsman is Stephen
Shaw, and a team of deputies, assistants, investigators and other
staff supports him.
Prisons and Probation Ombudsman
for Yourself is a book that is long overdue - a well researched lay
person's guide to the British legal system's appalling number of
miscarriages of justice.
Naylor starts from an intelligent and irrefutable premise: that any
system of justice, being man made, is prone to error.
Naylor Judge for yourself
Police Complaints Commission
Law Reform and Human Rights organisation working to improve the legal
system and the quality of justice.
4th National Miscarriage of Justice Day Public Meeting.
Raising the Profile of Miscarriage of Justice.
We will be there to represent our campaign, for more information click
on the link...
OF JUSTICE DAY
Parole Board is the independant body that protects the public by
making risk assessments about prisoners to decide who may safely be
released into the community and who must remain in or be returned to
helping people through Miscarriages of Justice
helping people through Miscarriages of Justice
Of Justice UK, another organisation supporting miscarriages of
Case Review Commission
based organisation supporting people going through miscarriages of
justice. Special THANX to Ann!
December 1999 - March
you fitted up by this man - Gene Morrison? 23
convicted of Jong Ok Shin murder, legal expert says 26
Adams - Tyneside murder case conviction quashed 12
to be released after 10 years 10
conviction overturned - jury decision was irrational 9
cleared after serving 14 years for murder 21 November 2006
was a CIA fix, US intelligence insider claims 12 November 2006
reviews 9 cases involving ex-pathologist Michael Heath 31
appointments to the CCRC 23 October 2006
application to the SCCRC October 2006
rape conviction overturned 12 September 2006
could get new appeal 11 August 2006
CCRC 'more effective' than CCRC for England and Wales 4 July
Rose murder conviction appeal dismissed 23 June 2006
Day : Home Office inquiry into jail death of informant 9
Karling gets £891,717 for 5 years in jail after wrongful
murder conviction 7 June 2006
conviction quashed after "vampire rituals" allegation
proved false 18 May 2006
Gee rape conviction overturned after teacher dies in prison
21 April 2006
case brings fingerprint ID into question Guardian
article 18 April 2006
Kamara pledges £100k to help miscarriage of justice victims 18
just the UK - French miscarriage of justice scandal
04 April 2006
Allardyce granted leave to appeal 21 March 2006
Johnston: freed on appeal; police to be investigated 17
granted leave to appeal 7 March 2006
Asbury and Shirley McKie - fingerprint 'experts' get off 22
Jenkins to sue for compensation, 12 February 2006
Booker: quashed conviction remains secret, 6 February
Power, armed robbery conviction overturned in 2004, dies,
after 18 years in jail 7 December 2005
Jenkinson conviction for GBH overturned on appeal 18
Bowman: convicted on 'recovered memory' evidence 28
Gordon Park website opens
Eye exposes record of pathologist in Simon Hall
case 14 Oct 2005
Injustice revival, August 2005
Eye reveals important undisclosed evidence in Sue May
case 22 July 2005
baby' convictions quashed, 21 July 2005
Meadow, prosecution expert in baby death cases, struck off 15
Blackburn: conviction overturned 25 May 2005
Pountley 11 June 1964 - 28 April 2005
officers among 22 arrested for Cardiff 3 case
White and Keith Hyatt featured on BBC
11 March 2005: CCRC
refers historic abuse case to Court of Appeal
of 2005 Miscarriage of Justice Day meeting available from Socially
Against Injustice - regular meetings
retrial for Graham Huckerby and James Power
for Yourself - new book by L. A. Naylor, reviewed by Eric Allison
Hanson - appeal to be heard on 18 February 2005
Anthony - another double sudden infant death syndrome case
to go to appeal
you know these loan sharks? Can you help Michael Brown?
Stone: appeal lost
Allder - he went to help police with their inquiries and
spent 17 years in jail
Smith - new miscarriage of justice case from South London
Steele and Jack Whomes - CCRC refer case
for new appeal
Nicholson - Innocent-supported case added to this site
Daud Sheikh: Abuse conviction quashed
Case featured on 'Inside Out'
Dallagher: Justice after seven years
Pinfold / Harry Mackenney: Redemption at last!
Cannings: Convictions quashed
Cummiskey: Conviction quashed
Morris: Fresh evidence suggests he is innocent
convictions quashed following wrongdoing by West Midlands police
Fraser: Conviction overturned
Miscarriage of Justice Day 2002Report
4 "Between Ourselves"
convicted of 1969 Luton PO murder finally have their names cleared
Shirley: Murder conviction quashed
Shah: Conviction quashed
Lane: CCRC now reviewing murder conviction
Mills / Tony Poole: Convictions quashed
Wickens: Conviction overturned after 13 years
Kelly: Pronounced innocent 53 years after he was hanged
Guney: CCRC pushes through quashing of conviction
Rigby-Williams / Michael Lawson: Convictions for sexual
Clark: Cleared by appeal court
Bamber: Appeal rejected
three years after a 'near-miss' miscarriage of justice
Tinker: Murder conviction quashed
McNamara: Appeal granted
Brown: Conviction quashed
Smith: Murder conviction quashed
Tucker: Appeal denied
Dudley/Bob Maynard: Convictions quashed
Evans: Appeal rejected
book published by Ludovic Kennedy
Johnson: Conviction quashed
Higgins: Another case of police skulduggery
Ram: Released on licence
Six: Paddy Hill to receive compensation
Hanratty: Appeal rejected
Downing: Book published
Walsh: Northern Ireland appeal court dismisses appeal
Gilbert: Much-needed publicity for the forgotten man
Cleeland: Appeal dismissed
Case to be examined by CCRC
Irvine: Conviction quashed
Green: Conviction quashed
Brannan/Bernard Murphy: Convictions quashed
Ely: Another victim of police 'trawling'?
Campbell: Rough Justice analyses case on Jan 6
cleared after girl admits rape lie
Pendleton: Law lords quash murder conviction
Day: CCRC refers case to court of appeal
Two: Released pending appeal
Botmeh and Samar Alami: Appeal refused
Bowler: Anybody's Nightmare to be broadcast
Gilfoyle: Latest newsletter
police expert resigns (in disgust) over fingerprint errors
claims by miscarriage of justice victims
to challenge governor
Allan: Conviction overturned after student lawyers take up
Gilmour: Case referred by Scottish CCRC
Straffen: Britain's longest-serving prisoner - the victim
of a miscarriage of justice?
Evans: Family to claim for compensation
Karling: Conviction quashed
paid to family of man hanged in 1952
Jones: Murder case re-opened
asks whether the CCRC is itself in need of review
Kiszko: Murder inquiry to be re-launched
court quashes murder conviction
Gorman: A miscarriage of justice?
Of Justice Organisation - MOJO - launched
Maguire book made available on this website
quoted in BBC NEWS Online feature
Two: Convictions upheld
Hay Gordon: Verdict overturned
Craven: Appeal refused
weeks before appeal hearing
Gair: Released pending appeal hearing
studying report on Paul Cleeland case
Three convictions quashed
not a(nother) fair cop ...
released after one and a half years in prison
'rewrote' confession (It's not a fair cop - again)
Tango 'rapist' cleared after 2 years in prison
for rape quashed after 16 years in prison
not a fair cop ...
Kamara: Freed after 20 years
Newsagent Three: Convictions quashed
King: Appeal successful
- Z of Sussex officer investigations
QUASHED OVER 'MADE UP' VAMPIRE CLAIM
Paul Lewis - Friday May 19, 2006
man who was sentenced to eight years in prison in 2004 after a teenager
falsely alleged he repeatedly raped her in "vampire" rituals had
his conviction quashed yesterday.
Benjamin Forde, 21, of Lincoln, was jailed 18 months ago after the girl
claimed he subjected her to a sex ordeal two years previously, when she
was 13. But he won his freedom at the appeal court after the prosecution
accepted the girl's testimony was undermined by evidence uncovered from a
computer diary which suggested she had "made it all up".
Forde later said his time in prison had been "hell".
CLEARED OF RAPE TOO LATE
Graeme Paton - Published: 21 April 2006
A teacher who died in prison after being convicted of raping one of his
pupils has been posthumously cleared by the Court of Appeal.
Molly Gee, 88, who has
been awarded £62,493 by the appeal court
battling to clear her son Darryl's name
Darryl Gee was jailed in 2001 despite scant evidence to corroborate his
accuser’s claims, which related to alleged incidents more than a decade
music teacher, who protested his innocence, died in his cell from an
undiagnosed blood cancer. He had served 18 months of an eight-year
This week, campaigners described the case as one of the worst miscarriages
of justice they had seen after the Court of Appeal in London quashed his
comes as government guidance designed to speed up investigations into
alleged abuse of pupils is introduced in schools. Unions say this will
reduce the risk of innocent teachers being smeared by false allegations.
Keates, general secretary of the NASUWT, said: “This is an extreme and
tragic illustration of the consequences of malicious allegations and
underlines the need for these new procedures.”
Gee’s 88-year-old mother, Molly, awarded £62,493 costs by the court,
said the case should be a warning to other teachers.
all boiled down to one girl’s word against his, and the jury believed
her,” she said. “That’s all it took to send my son to prison and it
has left me very angry and grief stricken. I don’t think anyone should
have to work alone with a child – it is just too easy for an allegation
like this to be made.”
Gee, a supply teacher who taught brass instruments, was found guilty at
Leeds crown court in January 2001 after being accused of raping and
indecently assaulting a pupil in a Huddersfield school in 1989. He died
aged 55 in August 2002, a month after a second appeal failed.
conviction was eventually quashed when his mother alerted the Criminal
Cases Review Commission, which asked a leading psychiatrist to report on
his accuser. The study cast doubt on her mental state. It also emerged
that the girl, now 26, made similar allegations against another man, whose
conviction was quashed earlier this year.
Read more in the TES including the story of
Charlie King. A jury took just half an hour to find him not guilty of
sexually assaulting three of his pupils. So why did it take 13 months for
the case to reach court?
ATTACK LIAR NAMED BY PEER 19th October 2006
woman with a long history of crying rape who sent an innocent man to jail
was named in Parliament amid calls for a change in the law.
Taylor was unmasked by a peer who told the House of Lords her lies had put
father-of-two Warren Blackwell behind bars for more than three years.
Campbell-Savours used Parliamentary privilege to expose her identity and
lambast the 'shabby' police investigation that saw Mr Blackwell
experts praised his decision to speak out to prevent other men falling
victim to fake sex attack allegations.
Blackwell, 36, whose loyal wife Tanya never doubted his innocence, was
dramatically cleared at the Appeal Court last month after Miss Taylor's
background as a serial fantasist was exposed by a Criminal Cases Review
although his name was blackened, anonymity laws meant his accuser's was
automatically protected, and she became known only as Miss A.
the appeal judges wanted to name her - but were powerless to do so - to
warn other blameless members of the public.
Daily Mail led calls for her identity to be revealed before she put
another innocent man through torment.
Lord Campbell-Savours - said to be motivated by 'outrage' at the case -
stood up and publicly did so.
asked fellow peers: "Is not the inevitable consequence of the
workings of the law, as currently framed, that we will carry on
imprisoning innocent people like Warren Blackwell, who was falsely accused
by a serial and repeated liar, Shannon Taylor, with a history of false
accusations and multiple identities?
a result of her accusations, he spent three and a half years in prison
following a shabby and inadequate police investigation, and was only
exonerated when the Criminal Cases Review Commission inquiry cleared him
and exposed her history."
Labour peer added: "Shouldn't mature accusers who perjure themselves
in rape trials be named and prosecuted for perjury?"
Taylor's own daughter backed the decision to disclose her name, saying:
"She is a danger and the public needs to be warned. She needs
prosecuting for what she did. She is every man's worst nightmare."
Blackwell's ordeal began when his accuser, now 38, claimed she had been
seized with a knife outside a village club early on New Year's Day 1999,
taken to an alley and indecently assaulted.
later picked him out of an identity parade and a jury found him guilty,
even though there was no forensic evidence against him and he had no
the case was investigated by the Criminal Cases Review Commission which
found that the woman had made up at least seven other fake allegations of
sexual and physical assault, including against her own father. She
frequently changed her name and police forces did not realise they were
dealing with the same woman.
own mother has described her as "a persistent liar, very manipulative
and a bully" who frequently claimed to have been beaten, sexually
attacked and raped - all of which were untrue. She has a history of mental
illness and self-harm.
original investigation by Northamptonshire Police was exposed as shoddy,
with Mr Blackwell's lawyers claiming that normal safeguards and procedures
were completely ignored. He plans to sue.
a friend of 63-year-old Lord Campbell-Savours explained why he decided to
speak out. He said: "He named
her because he was outraged. He doesn't think it's got anything to do with
the issue of rape, he thinks it's an issue of perjury.
woman made up the story and told lies and he can't see why a person who
has perjured themselves should be protected, irrespective of the type of
people have to stick their heads above the parapet in cases where the law
is clearly an ass and needs to be reformed.
thinks the law around anonymity,
particularly where false accusations have been made, needs to be
the development, Mr Blackwell, from Woodford Halse, Northamptonshire,
said: "It's absolutely fantastic. I didn't think anybody would have
the guts to name her.
woman needs to be stopped. The fact is, she remains free to carry on
crying rape and up till now has been enjoying the full protection of the
law. It's absolutely crazy that she could not be named and shamed, because
innocent men need to be warned to avoid her like the plague.
I hope she will go on to be prosecuted." But she is unlikely to face
charges for perjury or perverting justice.
Police yesterday claimed there was "insufficient evidence",
while Crown Prosecution sources have cited her mental illness as a
Mr Blackwell's barrister Anne Johnson said: "There is a clear public
interest in her being prosecuted for perjury or the very least wasting
fantastic that somebody of authority has finally come out and named this
woman. The issue needs to be aired otherwise nothing will be done."
Mr Blackwell's appeal last month, Mr Justice Tugendhat admitted that
similar tragic cases could follow because of the lies of the 'Miss A',
adding that Parliament had not seemed to have considered this possibility
when framing the law. Last night the judge said he did not wish to comment
on yesterday's twist.
the 1970s, the Daily Mail campaigned for women in sex cases to be granted
automatic anonymity, to protect genuine victims of genuine crimes.
Although Miss Taylor has now been publicly named, there is nothing to stop
her changing her identity yet again.
to her most recent address were told by her boyfriend that she no longer
what readers have had to say so far. Why not add your thoughts below?
is unfortunate that in my opinion women seem to be able to make
allegations and men are treated as guilty unless proven innocent. This
spills over into family law where this happens all the time. It is time
for laws to be changed and the system to be exposed for what it is. I
take my hat of to the judge for naming this women. It is about time that
more professional people i.e. judges and lawyers started looking at what
is right and wrong instead of either following there own political
agenda or lining their own pockets.
- Lisa Lipscombe, Burlington, Canada
sentencing for false accusations of rape should be as harsh, and
enforced as harshly, as rape itself.
The USA also needs to wake up to the many false allegations of rape that
are putting innocent men in jail.
- Denis, Boston, MA USA
Blackwell and wife Tanya - Guilty until Proven Innocent
freed but serial rape accuser remains anonymous12th
Blackwell and his wife Tanya outside the Court of Appeal
innocent man jailed for a sex attack was dramatically cleared after it
emerged that his 'victim' is a serial liar with a long history of crying
because of laws that protect her anonymity, judges are powerless to name
and shame her, leaving her free to make more false accusations against
blameless members of the public.
Blackwell, 36, hugged his loyal wife Tanya and wept as the Appeal Court
quashed his conviction.
described his accuser as "every man's worst nightmare".
Justice Tugendhat admitted, however, that similar tragic cases could
follow because of the lies of the woman, Miss A.
does not seem to have contemplated this situation.
appears to be no means of displacing her entitlement to anonymity."
the 1970s, the Daily Mail campaigned for women in sex cases to be
granted automatic anonymity, but now there are questions about whether the
law has gone too far.
Blackwell's nightmare began when Miss A, now 38, claimed she had been
seized with a knife outside a village club early on New Year's Day 1999,
taken to an alley and indecently assaulted.
later picked Mr Blackwell out at an identity parade.
was no forensic evidence against him and he had no previous convictions.
needs to be stopped'
Mr Blackwell, from Woodford Halse, Northamptonshire, was found guilty and
spent three years and four months behind bars.
the case was referred to the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) which
assigned Detective Chief Inspector Steve Glover, to investigate. He
discovered that the woman:
• Has made at least five other fake allegations of sexual and physical
assault to police in three separate forces.
• Was married twice and made false allegations against both husbands -
one of whom was a policeman.
• Once accused her own father of sexual assault, but police concluded
she had made it up.
• Accused a boy of rape when she was a teenager, only for a doctor to
discover she was still a virgin.
• The CCRC concluded that in the case of Mr Blackwell, she had
"lied about the assault and was not attacked at all, her injuries
Crown Prosecution Service did not oppose the appeal.
Farrell QC, for the Crown, said: "This conviction is unsafe. What has
come out of the woodwork paints a picture of a woman with immense personal
problems with serious difficulties in distinguishing between truth and
this information had been known at the time of the trial, he added,
"this case would not have made it off the ground".
Blackwell said: "Clearly something has to be done about this woman.
She needs to be stopped. The prosecution say she is psychiatrically
disturbed, but insane people who murder are tried and if found guilty put
Blackwell, who plans to sue police over his ordeal, will now have his name
removed from the Sex Offender Register.
accuser has a history of mental illness and self-harm - once inscribing
the word 'HATE' on her body with scissors.
because she has changed her name at least eight times, and moved between
addresses in at least three counties, it seems police never realised they
were dealing with the same woman.
Mr Blackwell, her accusations meant he missed more than three years of
family life. His son Liam, ten, and stepdaughter Holly, 16, were three and
nine when his ordeal began.
36-year-old wife said: "I never doubted him for a second. We were
together six years before it happened, and ever since."
(Falsely Accused Carers and Teachers)
PO Box 3074
Cardiff CF3 3WZ
Tel: 029 2077 7499
Campaigning organisation and support group which provides help and advice
to falsely accused and wrongly convicted carers and teachers throughout
the UK. The website contains a range of information, leaflets, books and
for education staff and volunteers in schools
This website has guidance on: 1) staff facing an allegation of abuse; 2)
preventing 'abuse of trust' for education staff; and 3) the conduct of
education staff working with young people.
THE DIRT: DISCLOSURE OF RECORDS IN SEXUAL ASSAULT CASES
disclosure of confidential records such as those of doctors, teachers,
counsellors, and therapists may be sought by the defence as a means of
undermining the credibility of complainants in rape and sexual assault
trials. The procedure is under section 2 of the Criminal Procedure
(Attendance of Witnesses) Act 1965, under which disclosure of the records
of third parties may be sought.
may be relevant in the Dysfunctional Family case where the mother is a
psychiatric nurse and thought to be an associate of one or more of the
December 13, 2006 - The Guardian
celebrity themed reality TV goes, it's a long way from making them eat
bugs. One of the cornerstones of BBC2's new year schedule will aim to
meticulously recreate a high-profile rape trial using top lawyers and
following 12 celebrity jurors as they reach their verdict.
the inclusion on the jury of the likes of former MP turned perjurer,
Jeffrey Archer, and Stan Collymore, the former footballer involved in
well-publicised domestic violence and "dogging" incidents, has
already sparked concern about the motives of the programme-makers from
rape charities and support groups.
Verdict's diverse lineup also includes So Solid Crew rapper Megaman,
real name Dwayne Vincent, who was recently acquitted of murder at the
Old Bailey after three trials and 18 months on remand, as well as former
soap actress Patsy Palmer, the chief executive of Ann Summers,
Jacqueline Gold, and Sara Payne, whose eight-year-old daughter, Sarah,
was murdered by a convicted paedophile, and who has since campaigned for
the so-called Sarah's Law.
will be charged with determining if two fictional footballers gang-raped
an imaginary 19-year-old young woman in a London hotel suite.
sounds quite sensational," said Cliona Saidlear, the policy
coordinator at Rape Crisis Networks Ireland. "Rather than 12
ordinary people, they've turned to celebrities and instead of taking a
standard rape trial, they've used a celebrity case. They've pitched it
at such an extreme, sensational level you have to question their
objectives. The celebrities are probably going into it with the best of
intentions but why not 12 people from the street?" she said.
the programme-makers insist it is a serious attempt to lift the lid on
the usually unseen deliberations of the jury room. They said they were
taken aback by the extent to which the celebrity jurors treated the
concocted scenario as real.
Lambert, chief creative officer at Wife Swap and Faking It producer RDF,
who came up with the idea, said there was a public interest defence.
"Barristers and, I guess, the rest of us, really want to get an
insight into how juries make up their mind in such cases. Wearing my
public service hat, I'd say it's a great way of showing how a court and
a trial work."
controller, Roly Keating, also defended his motives. "It's an
ambitious project that is attempting to bring the law and the jury
system to life in a new way. It's an extremely complex, finely balanced
case derived from case law but fictitious in its detail."
Verdict will be screened over four nights in February on BBC2. After
each programme, viewers will be encouraged to switch to BBC3 where they
can watch footage of the jury debating the day's evidence over dinner at
the five-star Conrad Hotel in Chelsea, where they stayed after being
whisked from Kingston county court in Surrey in a fleet of black Lincoln
limousines equipped with champagne chilling in buckets. Viewers will be
invited to make their own minds up using background material, witness
interviews and documentary evidence available on the BBC2 website.
programme also features a number of celebrity lawyers, including retired
judge Lord Dennison. Prosecuting counsel is Joanna Greenberg QC, while
the two fictional footballers are represented by real-life QCs Jane
Humphreys and George Carter-Stephenson.
Carter-Stephenson, whose notable cases have included the first Damilola
Taylor murder trial and the Millennium Dome diamond robbery, said he had
been wary at first but was reassured by the lengths to which the
programme makers went to make the programme realistic. "I was
surprised by just how good the actors were. It was just like being in
court, except the lights were a bit brighter," he said. "It
gives the public a chance to see how barristers work and to show that we
are not so removed from reality as they sometimes believe."
other members of the jury are Jennifer Ellison, a dancer, singer and
former Brookside actor; Michael Portillo, the former Tory leadership
contender turned media commentator; Alex James, the bassist in Blur;
Dominic McVeigh, a teenage millionaire who made his money from importing
scooters from China, the actor Honor Blackman and TV presenter Chris
Tarrant's estranged wife, Ingrid.
is their role to cross-examine a group of actors who improvise their
responses as the alleged rape victim, the two footballers, the alleged
victim's girlfriend who sold the story to the tabloids, and others.
thought first of all about a sexual harassment case, and then a murder
case, but then went with rape because it's so clearly two
interpretations of reality. It's a hotly debated crime in the legal
world," said Mr Lambert.
case dramatises issues of notoriety, alcohol, race, money and the ethics
of selling possibly concocted stories of sexual dalliances with
celebrities to the tabloids. The case involves a young woman called Anna
Crane from Epsom, who goes to see the musical Chicago with her best
friend in London.
the show they wind up in a hotel cocktail bar where the friend spots
celebrity footballer Damien Scott and his friend, a less successful
player called James Greer. They retire to Scott's suite where one of two
things happens to Anna Crane: either she has consensual sex with Scott
or she is gang-raped. Both defendants plead not guilty.
decides not to go to the police. Instead, her best friend sells the
story of her alleged rape to a Sunday newspaper for £30,000 and
covertly tapes Anna describing the assaults. This tape was played in
court to the celebrity jury who have to make up their minds as to
whether it is a harrowing confession or a fake tape concocted by two
appearance is likely to be the first of several in reality TV shows as
he seeks to work his way back into the public eye following his
four-year jail sentence in 2001 for perjury and perverting the course of
justice. He has already agreed to take part in new ITV1 show Fortune, in
which he will be filmed giving away his own money to members of the
public, and is rumoured to be part of the cast list for the next series
of Channel 4's Celebrity Big Brother in January.
Two Winter/Spring 2007
Collymore, Ingrid Tarrant, So Solid Crew's Megaman, Michael Portillo and
Sara Payne join the jury for BBC Two's The Verdict
former England football player, one of Britain's most successful
businesswomen, a mother who campaigned for the law to be changed following
the murder of her daughter and a rapper who spent time in prison on a
murder charge are amongst the line-up of high profile jurors taking part
in BBC Two's ambitious television event, The Verdict.
full line up, announced today, is:
Jeffrey Archer – former Tory MP and author;
Honor Blackman – actress;
Stan Collymore – footballer;
Jennifer Ellison – actress;
Jacqueline Gold – head of the Ann Summers empire;
Alex James – Blur band member;
MegaMan – So Solid Crew member;
Dominic McVey – millionaire teen entrepreneur;
Patsy Palmer - actress;
Sara Payne – mother who campaigned for Sarah's law;
Michael Portillo – former Conservative MP and
Ingrid Tarrant – separated from TV presenter Chris
12 jurors are sitting in judgement on a four day trial in a real
courtroom, presided over by a real judge, with real barristers prosecuting
jury will then retire to the jury room to begin their deliberations.
the cameras will be there, observing for the first time the dynamics of a
how a jury reaches it verdict.
Verdict, which is being produced by RDF Television, part
of the RDF Media Group, will be stripped across four nights on BBC Two, to
be shown early next year.
BBC Three switch-over
programme will follow the jury back to their hotel to find out how they
have reacted to each day's proceedings.
case features the rape trial of an internationally famous footballer,
Damien Scott, and his friend, James Greer.
and Greer are fictitious characters, but in the weeks leading up to the
case the actors playing them have experienced what is like to be arrested,
interviewed under caution by real policemen and examined by real forensic
trial is totally unscripted so that when the witnesses appear in the
witness box, they give evidence about experiences that to them, to the
jury, and to viewers will seem all too real.
judge is the highly respected and recently retired His Honour Neil
Denison QC .
Humphryes QC and George Carter-Stevenson QC are
acting for the Defence and Joanna Greenberg QC is the
Crown Prosecution Service barrister.
barristers are free to prosecute and defend the case in exactly the same
way as they would a real trial.
Keating, Controller of BBC Two, says: "This is a hugely
ambitious project which brings the law to life in a completely new way.
will be fascinating to follow the twists and turns of the case, see the
dynamics and power struggles within the jury, learn about the jury system
with its inherent flaws and strengths - and engage with the whole
experience even more deeply on broadband."
Lambert, RDF Media Group's Chief Creative Officer, said: "We
are delighted that such a wide range of high profile individuals have
agreed to serve on our jury.
is fascinating to see how they interact and how their different
backgrounds and assumptions influence their views on the case.
huge effort was taken by everyone involved in the production to ensure
that the jury experience was as authentic as possible.
were amazed by how seriously our jury treated their task and how
emotionally involving it became for all of them."
series will be accompanied by an extensive broadband service that will
offer audiences high volumes of extended material, background videos,
witness interviews and documentary evidence to allow viewers to form their
own judgement as the case progresses.
biographical details for the jurors
politician and best selling author – served two years in prison for
best known for her role in The Avengers and as Pussy Galore in Goldfinger.
and performer who starred in Brookside and is currently appearing in
Chicago in the West End.
Executive of Ann Summers and Knickerbox – regularly voted one of
Britain's most powerful and inspirational women.
band member and Independent columnist, now lives on an organic farm with
his wife and three young sons.
member of chart-topping rap collective So Solid Crew – recently
acquitted of murder after three trials and spending 18 months on remand in
entrepreneur - imported micro-scooters to the UK and became the country's
youngest self-made millionaire at the age of 14.
best known for her role as Bianca in EastEnders.
who campaigned for Sarah's law following the murder of her daughter by a
journalist and broadcaster.
and tv presenter, separated from husband Chris Tarrant.
details for the legal team
Judge – His Honour Neil Denison QC
Honour Neil Denison QC was considered one of Britain's most prominent
judges. He was the Common Sergeant of London from 1993 until 2001 when he
retired and was replaced by Judge Brian Barber QC. He was called to the
bar at Lincoln's Inn in 1952 and became a bencher in 1993. He was a
Recorder of the Crown Court from 1979 to 1985. Notable cases include the
Salon killing, where a wife killed her husband's girlfriend in a beauty
salon, a Muslim father who murdered his daughter in an honour killing and
a man who smashed his wife's skull with an axe.
Humphryes QC (1st Defence)
Humphryes is a specialist in serious crime of all kinds. She is
experienced in prosecuting and defending a wide range of criminal cases,
although more recently nearly exclusively defending, including murder and
attempted murder, money laundering, fraud, rape and indecent assault and
police disciplinary proceedings.
Carter-Stephenson QC (2nd Defence)
Carter-Stephenson is a specialist defence advocate with a varied and
wide-ranging practice extending over all types of criminal cases and
disciplinary proceedings. He is extremely experienced in dealing with
highly involved and complex cases, including serious fraud. Notable cases
have included the Damilola Taylor first murder trial, the Millennium Dome
Robbery, the Sumurai Sword murder and representing the husband of Joyti de
Laurey, the Goldman Sachs secretary found guilty of stealing £4.5m from
Greenberg QC (CPS Prosecutor)
Greenberg QC specialises in criminal law. She is now best known as a
defender, although she continues to do some prosecuting. She has been head
of chambers since 2003. Her defence practice has covered all types of
crime, including murder, high value fraud cases, very substantial drugs
cases and all sorts of sex cases involving serial offenders, witchcraft,
child abuse. Listed as one of the "Leaders at the Bar" in
Chambers UK client's guide to the UK legal profession, she is described as
"an evasive witness's bad dream".
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