Now & Then: Justice on Trial

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October 1989: the Court of Appeal quashed the convictions of Patrick Armstrong, Gerard Conlon, Paul Hill and Carole Richardson for the 1974 Guildford and Woolwich pub bombings after Roy Amlot QC, for the Director of Public Prosecutions, had said that new evidence 'cast such doubt upon the honesty and integrity of a number of the Surrey officers investigating this case in 1974 that the Crown now feels unable to say that the convictions of any of the four are safe or satisfactory'.

Lord Chief Justice Lane said: 'It is accepted and rightly accepted by the Crown, that the manuscripts produced at the trial were not what the Surrey police officers said on oath they were . . . In fact, they must have lied. It seems to us, and I hasten to add that it is necessarily speculation, that there are two possible explanations for the Armstrong typescripts, and the amendments made to them (that they were a fabrication or that an amendment was made later).

'It may be it was a mixture of these two possibilities. For the purposes of this appeal, it is immaterial which of the two versions is true. In any event, the police were not telling the truth about this crucial document . . . If they were prepared to tell this sort of lie, then the whole of their evidence became suspect.'

May 1993: three former Surrey police officers were cleared of fabricating evidence in the case of Patrick Armstrong, one of the Guildford Four. Kenneth Clarke, the Home Secretary, said: 'I am always glad to see innocent people acquitted. It enables everyone to get that particular incident back in proportion . . . The British system in that kind of case is impeccable. I hope we can put this whole unhappy episode behind us.'