LETTER:Uneven playing field of justice

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The Independent Online
From Mr Paul Donovan

Sir: Paul Vallely ("Private Clegg's friends in high places", 6 June) is right to contrast the speed of government reaction to the media campaign to free Lee Clegg with the sloth displayed in other miscarriage of justice cases. On 8 June 1993, lawyers representing Jimmy Robinson, Pat Molloy, and Michael and Vincent Hickey submitted new evidence to the Home Secretary regarding the innocence of those convicted of the murder of Carl Bridgewater. Two years and one judicial review later, the men still await a decision.

On 29 November 1994, Lord Justice Simon Brown, giving judgment in the judicial review of Kenneth Clarke's 1993 decision - when he was Home Secretary - ruled that "the manner in which the Petitioner's expert evidence was dealt with was plainly most unsatisfactory". More than 100 items of new evidence have been lodged with the Home Office since Kenneth Clarke rejected the 1993 petition. Lawyers representing the four men are now launching further judicial review proceedings regarding his failure to take a decision under Section 17 of the Criminal Appeals Act.

The contrasting reactions of the Government to the Clegg and Bridgewater cases merely underlines again the inability of ministers to apply the law in an even-handed manner. Were the Bridgewater Four members of the Parachute regiment rather than former petty criminals, no doubt, their case would have been referred to the Court of Appeal long ago.

Yours faithfully,

PAUL DONOVAN

Chairman

Working Group on Human Rights

Brentwood Diocesan Commission for Justice & Peace

Brentwood, Essex

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