Letter: Forgotten victims of legal bias

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Sir: Andreas Whittam Smith's article ("Many hands have been tilting the balance of justice", 25 February) gets it right. This is particularly so in relation to the excessive enthusiasm of some prosecutors and members of the judiciary to obtain and uphold convictions because it seems to them right to do so for reasons unconnected with the precise justice of the case before them. Prejudice in the court below with pre-judgement in the Court of Appeal are well-known phenomena. What is often not realised is that this is the tip of the iceberg.

The famous cases where justice has been achieved only through obdurate pressure are cases where there are political overtones, or massive public enthusiasm or doughty believers. The mere ordinary person who does not create an image for a pressure group or has not the unforgiving hardworking support of enthusiasts remains incarcerated.

It is hoped that the new commission will reverse the trend, but some remain cynical. Unfortunate that it starts business on 1 April.

MICHAEL BECKMAN QC

Lincoln's Inn

London WC2

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