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.'

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
newsAnother week, another dress controversy on the internet
Life and Style
Scientist have developed a test which predicts whether you'll live for another ten years
health
Life and Style
Marie had fake ID, in the name of Johanna Koch, after she evaded capture by the Nazis in wartime Berlin
historyOne woman's secret life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
News
news... and what your reaction to the creatures above says about you
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Telesales & Customer Service Executive - Call Centre Jobs

£7 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Are you outgoing? Do you want to work in...

Ashdown Group: Finance Manager - Covent Garden, central London - £45k - £55k

£45000 - £55000 per annum + 30 days holiday: Ashdown Group: Finance Manager - ...

Ashdown Group: Systems Administrator - Lancashire - £30,000

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: 3rd Line Support Engineer / Network ...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Web Developer

£26000 - £33000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Web Developer is required to ...

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn