Leading article: Justice at last for Sam Hallam


Related Topics

In retrospect, it is always easy to see the faultlines when a miscarriage of justice has occurred. In the case of Sam Hallam, who was wrongly convicted of murder, they were particularly clear. The evidence that he was part of the murdering gang was manifestly unreliable; one witness changed her story several times, both to police and in court, and another admitted his testimony was hearsay. Meanwhile, the police failed to pursue all reasonable lines of inquiry, Mr Hallam's alibi was not properly checked out, and his mobile phone data was not used to establish his whereabouts. Furthermore, there was material not disclosed to the defence which could have helped prove his innocence.

It is some grudging testament to the British judicial system that it did eventually arrive at the truth. But questions must be asked about what took so long, when alarm bells were ringing so loudly – not least to Paul May, the man who fought to free the Birmingham Six and the Bridgewater Four, and who ran the campaign for Sam Hallam which was also backed by this newspaper. This was no hunch. As long ago as June 2009, eight new witnesses came forward stating that Mr Hallam was not involved in the crime. Their statements were submitted to the Criminal Case Review Commission four years ago. For a young man unfairly deprived of his liberty, the wheels of justice cannot acceptably grind so slowly, however fine the result.

There are questions, too, about the quality of Scotland Yard's investigation. Not only was the senior investigating officer expected to handle 14 other major inquiries at the same time. Poor management and staff shortages were also factors in so flawed an investigation.

The injustice was not to Mr Hallam alone. With one innocent man freed, and only one still in jail for a crime committed by a group, the family of the victim, Essayas Kassahun, are nowhere nearer finding the truth or seeing his killers brought to justice. And Mr Hallam's father, unable to cope with his son's incarceration, committed suicide 15 months ago. It is not enough that an innocent man is now free after seven years in jail. The only hope of amendment is to ensure no other victim of a miscarriage of justice suffers for so long.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: UI / UX Designer

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This firm are focussed on assis...

Recruitment Genius: General Processor

£7 per hour: Recruitment Genius: A vacancy has arisen for a General Processor ...

Recruitment Genius: Outbound Sales Executive - B2B

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A great opportunity has arisen ...

Recruitment Genius: Online Sales and Customer Services Associate

£14000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Full time and Part time positio...

Day In a Page

Read Next

i Editor's Letter: Our representatives must represent us

Oliver Duff Oliver Duff
MP David Lammy would become the capital’s first black mayor if he won the 2016 Mayoral election  

Crime, punishment and morals: we’re entering a maze with no clear exit

Simon Kelner
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
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