MPs join campaign to win appeal for jailed police officers: Supporters claim verdict was 'perverse' and believe constables' convictions may be unsafe

IN THE first miscarriage of justice campaign involving convicted police officers, MPs and supporters of three constables jailed for conspiracy to pervert the course of justice and affray, are claiming wrongful conviction.

The three officers, John Walsh, Jonathan Lehrle and Nicholas Jones, all based at Chelsea in west London, were sentenced to two years' imprisonment earlier this month after what they claimed was a jury's 'perverse verdict'. This Thursday, their lawyers will seek leave to appeal to have the verdicts overturned; they will also apply for bail.

The campaign has won the backing of the Labour MP for Thurrock, Andrew MacKinlay, who is Walsh's constituency MP. Mr MacKinlay said: 'I have examined this case closely and I believe the convictions may be unsafe. I am concerned that because of recent miscarriages of justice, which have caused justified disquiet about the conduct of the police, the balance may have swung too far in the opposite direction.'

John Bowis, the junior health minister, who is Jones's MP, is also backing the campaign.

The officers are being supported by colleagues, their former senior officer at Chelsea police station and the Metropolitan Police Federation, whose chairman, Mike Bennett, originally issued a statement saying he had 'no sympathy whatsoever' with them.

Mr Bennett now says he has changed his mind after looking at the details of the case. 'It may be a miscarriage of justice. It raises very serious questions as to whether police officers can get a fair trial.'

At their Old Bailey trial, the Crown claimed the three were noisy after leaving a public house in Chelsea and stormed into the home of Francis Milburn, who had asked them to keep quiet, attacking him and his parents.

The court was told that Mr Milburn was a Sandhurst cadet studying for his final exams. Dressed in his boxer shorts and waving a long United States police truncheon, he leant out of an upstairs window and asked the officers to be quiet.

Mr Milburn claimed they made indecent gestures, told him to come down and then barged into the house and assaulted his parents. During the struggle, Mr Milburn admitted hitting Jones, who was off work for six weeks, but said he believed them to be hostile intruders.

Mr Milburn was cleared by magistrates of common assault. The officers all gave evidence, saying he had hit Jones outside the house and the fracas occurred because they were trying to arrest him.

At their trial, the officers repeated their story; Walsh was cleared of assaulting Mr Milburn's parents.

Mike Walsh, brother of John Walsh, who is organising the campaign, said the policemen and their lawyers were 'amazed' at the verdict, because the prosecution had no evidence to suggest conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

It was a fact, he said, that the officers had given their accounts of the incident separately afterwards.

'This implies that any officers whose accounts are disbelieved by a court could face prosecution for conspiring to pervert the course of justice, even if there is no direct evidence that they did.'

VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Arts & Entertainment
Ricky Gervais at a screening of 'Muppets Most Wanted' in London last month
tvRicky Gervais on the return of 'Derek' – and why he still ignores his critics
Sport
Luis Suarez of Liverpool celebrates his goal
sport
Arts & Entertainment
Homer meets Lego Marge in the 25th anniversary episode of The Simpsons, set to air on 4 May
tv
Arts & Entertainment
James Franco and Chris O'Dowd in Of Mice and Men on Broadway
theatreReview: Of Mice and Men, Longacre Theatre
Life & Style
Infant child breast-feeding with eyes closed
healthTo stop mummy having any more babies, according to scientists
News
news
Life & Style
Going down: Google's ambition to build an elevator into space isn't likely to be fulfilled any time soon
techTechnology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit
Arts & Entertainment
film
News
David Cameron sings a hymn during the enthronement service of The Most Rev Justin Welby as Archbishop of Canterbury, at Canterbury Cathedral last year
news
Life & Style
From long to Jong: Guy Pewsey gets the North Korean leader's look
fashionThe Independent heads to an Ealing hairdressers to try out the North Korean dictator's trademark do
Extras
indybest10 best smartphones
Arts & Entertainment
tvCreator Vince Gilligan sheds light on alternate endings
Life & Style
Google Doodle celebrates the 63rd anniversary of the Peak District National Park
tech
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Apprentice IT Technician

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is a company that specializ...

1st Line Technical Service Desk Analyst IT Apprentice

£153.75 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is an innovative outsourcin...

1st Line Helpdesk Engineer Apprentice

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company has been providing on site ...

Sales Associate Apprentice

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: We've been supplying best of breed peopl...

Day In a Page

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit
Westminster is awash with tales of young men being sexually harassed - but it's far from being just a problem in politics

Is sexual harassment a fact of gay life?

Westminster is awash with tales of young men being sexually harassed - but it's far from being just a problem in politics
Moshi Monster creator Michael Acton Smith: The man behind a British success story

Moshi Monster creator Michael Acton Smith

Acton Smith launched a world of virtual creatures who took the real world by storm
Kim Jong-un's haircut: The Independent heads to Ealing to try out the dictator's do

Our journalist tries out Kim Jong-un's haircut

The North Korean embassy in London complained when M&M Hair Academy used Kim Jong-un's image in the window. Curious, Guy Pewsey heads to the hair salon and surrenders to the clippers
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A forgotten naval victory in which even Nature played a part

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A forgotten naval victory in which even Nature played a part
Vespa rides on with launch of Primavera: Iconic Italian scooter still revving up millions of sales

Vespa rides on with launch of the Primavera

The Vespa has been a style icon since the 1950s and the release this month of its latest model confirms it has lost little of its lustre
Record Store Day: Independent music shops can offer a tempting alternative to downloads

Record Store Day celebrates independent music shops

This Saturday sees a host of events around the country to champion the sellers of well-grooved wax
Taunton's policy of putting philosophy at heart of its curriculum is one of secrets of its success

Education: Secret of Taunton's success

Taunton School, in Somerset, is one of the country's leading independent schools, says Richard Garner
10 best smartphones

10 best smartphones

With a number of new smartphones on the market, we round up the best around, including some more established models
Mickey Arthur: Aussie tells ECB to stick with Ashley Giles

Mickey Arthur: Aussie tells ECB to stick with Ashley Giles

The former Australia coach on why England must keep to Plan A, about his shock at their collapse Down Under, why he sent players home from India and the agonies of losing his job
Homelessness: Why is the supported lodgings lifeline under threat?

Why is the supported lodgings lifeline under threat?

Zubairi Sentongo swapped poverty in Uganda for homelessness in Britain. But a YMCA scheme connected him with a couple offering warmth and shelter
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: When the world’s biggest shed took over Regent’s Park

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

When the world’s biggest shed took over Regent’s Park
The pain of IVF

The pain of IVF

As an Italian woman vows to keep the babies from someone else’s eggs, Julian Baggini ponders how the reality of childbirth is often messier than the natural ideal