By now the gross miscarriage of justice visited upon two men, John-Paul Wooton (who when arrested was merely 17 years of age) and Brendan McConville should be reverberating around the world.
Both were hastily arrested following the shooting of a member of the local paramilitary police force, the PSNI/RUC. Both were held illegally over the maximum limit of time of detention for questioning that the British government supposedly legislates for. Both men, during detention following arrest, at their trial and post-conviction, that saw them both imprisoned for life, have consistently denied any involvement in the ‘crime’ they have been accused of. Add into the mix the significant involvement of the shady operatives of the British intelligence agencies, flawed electronic surveillance and highly dubious witnesses and we have all the ingredients of yet another ‘fitting up’ of Irish people by the British establishment seeking a hasty arrest and conviction for their satisfaction.
As we have seen in the not too distant past, the British judiciary who along with the Legislature and Executive constitute ‘Government’ in the so-called Liberal Democratic model, although supposedly independent of each other, are very far from it, not least their use of Diplock political trials. A casual glance at Hansard, where one can read Lord Denning’s legal opinion regarding overturning clear miscarriages of justices, in the following quote he is referring to the Birmingham Six:
“Just consider the course of events if this action is allowed to proceed to trial. If the six men fail it will mean much time and money will have been expended to no good purpose. If the six men win, it will mean that the police are guilty of perjury, that they are guilty of violence and threats, that the confessions were invented and improperly admitted in evidence and the convictions were erroneous.
“This is such an appalling vista that every sensible person in the land would say that it cannot be right that these actions should go any further.”
This attitude is still clearly prevalent within the British judiciary and structurally the British government, which in short means that it is better to have innocent people imprisoned than for the public to become aware of miscarriages of justice. So much for Liberal-Democracy’s supposed inbuilt ‘checks and balances!’
Justice For The Craigavon Two Website!
Perhaps the best resource for learning more about the gross miscarriage of justice against young John-Paul Wooton and Brendan Mcconville is the excellent campaigning website Justice for the Craigavon Two which has excellent details regarding the entire case, the PSNI/RUC abuses, the deviant involvement of British intelligence agencies, the farce of a trial and the latest in the campaign to free these two innocent men. I have included an article from the website in the form of a letter from The Craigavon Two, which everyone should read closely and please share this appeal from two innocent men.
If you care about this blatant miscarriage of justice in Ireland, please appraise yourself of the facts concerning this case. As mentioned earlier, The Justice For The Craigavon Two is easily readable allowing even layperson's such as I with no legal qualifications to readily understand this abomination of this miscarriage of justice against two innocent men.
A Statement From The Craigavon Two Following Their Conviction
In a statement following the clearly unsafe convictions of Mr Wooton and Mr Conville before a Diplock Court (a court governed by special emergency legislation that allows no jury and places the onus of 'innocent' of proving innocent in the hands of the defendant's legal team counsel. There is no right to silence in these political courts which is anathema to international jurisprudence:
"On the 30th of March 2012 we, Brendan Mc Conville and John Paul Wootton were convicted and sentenced to spend the rest of our lives in prison, for the fatal shooting of Constable Steven Carroll in Craigavon on the 9th of March 2010.
While We fully understanding and empathise with the grief of the Carroll family and with no desire to exacerbate that grief, we wish to take this opportunity to state publicly that we have been convicted of something that we had nothing to do with, we are innocent and we do not believe that we received a fair hearing at our trial under a Diplock court.'
The late Gerry Conlon of the Guildford Four, immortalized in the award-winning movie 'The Name of The Father' starring Daniel Day-Lewis gave the Craigavon Two his unqualified support and saw clear parallels between the miscarriage of justice visited upon him and his innocent co-defendants.
Mr Wooton and Mr McConville elaborate further on the unsoundness of their conviction
'Further to this we also believe that Justice Girvan erred in his judgement of the information presented and convicted us more on the emotional and political furore created by the case than on the evidence presented. For this reason, we have instructed our legal teams to appeal our convictions".
Mr Wooton and Mr McConville continue in more detail regarding the alleged use of allegedly paid perjurers, secret witnesses and glaring discrepancies in these highly unreliable witnesses which the Crown shamelessly built their case around. They also cite the dearth of DNA which not only fell short of evidential sufficiency, it simply did not exist! A GPS tracker placed on one of the defendant's car mysteriously disappeared during the supposed time of the attack on Carrol, the significance of this 'anomaly' can not be stressed strongly enough, for quite obvious reasons! As to the equipment used to kill Carroll, not a single item of DNA could be found linking it to either Mr Wooten or Mr McConville. This was clearly a case where arrests were made with undue haste. To paraphrase 'Casablanca' it was clearly a case of 'round up the usual suspects' irrespective of their alibis or innocence.
The Craigavon Two continue in their statement following their unsafe conviction at the dubious hands of a special Diplock Court, they cite the shadowy involvement of the British Intelligence agencies and a plethora of thoroughly unsound evidence presented without an iota of it's clear evidential sufficiency:
- The prosecutions’ key witness, witness M, despite having a prescribed impairment of his sight, claimed that he seen Brendan Mc Conville at a distance that would be medically impossible,
- It took witness M almost a year to come forward with this information and since that date he has been given anonymity and provided for in protective custody.
- Witness M’s eye-witness account described Brendan as wearing a coat of a different style and colour from that presented by the prosecution,
- This coat, recovered within hours of the shooting, was dry yet the weather conditions at the time were rainy,
- The forensic examination of this coat and the firearm recovered after the shooting did not match,
- Although multiple sources of DNA were found on the coat only Brendans’ were followed up on,
- A tracking device that had allegedly been planted on John Paul’s car by MI5 and was used as evidence to place us at the scene of the shooting, went ‘missing’ for a period of time, only to be returned in an altered state and “with data missing”,
- Although the assault rifle and several rounds of ammunition used in the shooting were recovered no forensic link was made with either of us.
Mr Wooton and Mr McConville in the final part of their post-conviction statement, implore the general public for their support in this clear miscarriage of justice. How many times have we seen these public appeals against what passes for 'British Justice' in Ireland or in courts over in the UK, only to find out, long after the fact that the defendants were convicted on tainted evidence, contrived emotions and thoroughly dubious evidence:
I'n short, a case that placed us at the scene and attributed any role to us was never made, let alone proven. Rather, because the PSNI/MI5 were under so much pressure to obtain a conviction, evidence was constructed and altered to ‘fit the case’ and not examined as pieces of information that could prove or disprove our innocence.
Hopefully, this miscarriage of justice can be overturned at our appeal and this nightmare of suffering for us and our families ended. However, after the experience we have already had we do not have a great deal of confidence in the criminal justice system, hence, we are asking you, the public, to follow the course of our appeal and to see for yourself the manner in which information is dealt with and how ‘justice’ is being administered in your name. Let’s not wait 15 – 20 years to deal with a miscarriage of justice, let us do so now"
Brendan Mc Conville and John Paul Wootton.
Maghaberry Jail Co. Antrim
Ciaran Mulholland Writes in Socialist Lawyer Paper
- Ciaran Mulholland writes in Socialist Lawyer paper | Justice for the Craigavon Two
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