Royal Commission on Criminal Justice: Inconsistencies not investigated

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The Independent Online
LAWYERS and politicians who have studied the case of Paul Cleeland, one of Britain's longest- serving prisoners, have few doubts that had there been an independent body to investigate the possibility of a miscarriage of justice, he would not still be in jail, writes Heather Mills.

He was jailed 21 years ago for the shotgun murder of Terry Clarke, a friend and business partner. There were anomalies and inconsistencies in the case: the killing was witnessed by Mrs Clarke who gave a description which bore no resemblance to Cleeland; three experts have said that the ancient weapon supposed to have been used could not have caused the injuries; his prison records were altered in a way which affected his 1977 appeal; the 'expert' who gave forensic evidence against Cleeland had no formal qualifications; and a police inquiry into the case remains secret.

Because the Home Office division which examines miscarriages of justice, C3, can only look at 'new' evidence, no one has considered its inconsistencies. Cleeland, now 50, who has always protested his innocence, has resorted to ingenious magistrates' court and judicial review hearings to highlight his case.

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