From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
The Birmingham Six were Hugh
Callaghan, Patrick Hill, Gerard Hunter, Richard McIlkenny,
William Power and John Walker. In a famous miscarriage of justice they were
sentenced to life imprisonment in 1975 for two pub bombings in
Arrests and questioning
Five of the six men arrested
were Belfast-born. John Walker was born in
On the morning of November 22, after the forensic tests and routine questioning, the men were transferred to the custody of West Midlands Serious Crimes Squad police unit. All men were interrogated by Birmingham CID and insist that they were beaten, threatened and forced to sign statements written by the police over three days of questioning. Callaghan was taken into custody on the evening of November 22.
Charges against police and prison officers
The men first appeared in
court on the following Monday, November 25, and were remanded in custody and
taken to HMP Birmingham, Winson Green. At the prison
the six men claimed they were subject to further ill-treatment. When they
reappeared in court on November 28 all the men showed visible bruising and
other signs of torture. In June 1975 fourteen prison officers were charged with
varying degrees of assault but were found not guilty. In 1977 the six men
pressed charges against the
On May 12, 1975 the six men were charged with murder and conspiracy to cause explosions. Three other men, James Kelly, Michael Murray and Michael Sheehan, were charged with conspiracy and Kelly and Sheehan also faced charges of unlawful possession of explosives.
The trial began on June 9,
In March 1976 their first appeal was dismissed.
Journalist (and later Labour MP and government minister) Chris Mullin investigated the case for Granada TV's 'World in Action' series. In 1985, the first of several World in Action programmes casting serious doubt on the men's convictions was broadcast. In 1986, Mullin's book "Error of Judgment - The Truth About the Birmingham Pub Bombings" set out a detailed case supporting the men's innocence including his claim to have met with some of those actually responsible for the bombings. Home Secretary Douglas Hurd MP referred the case back to the Court of Appeal.
In January 1988, after a six
week hearing (at that time the longest criminal appeal hearing ever held), the
men's convictions were upheld. The appeal judges, under the
Their third appeal, in 1991, was successful. New evidence of police fabrication and suppression of evidence, the discrediting of both the confessions and the 1975 forensic evidence led to the Crown withdrawing most of its case against the men. In 2001, a decade after their release, the six men were awarded compensation ranging from £840,000 to £1.2 million.
The collapse of the case and other miscarriages of justice caused the Home Secretary to set up a Royal Commission on Criminal Justice in 1991. The commission reported in 1993 and led to the Criminal Appeal Act of 1995 and the establishment of the Criminal Cases Review Commission in 1997. None of the policemen involved were ever prosecuted.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
The Guildford Four were Paul
Hill, Gerry Conlon, Patrick (Paddy) Armstrong and Carole Richardson, who were
wrongly convicted in the
There was never any evidence that the Four had been involved with the IRA—and they did not "fit the bill" in terms of lifestyle. Patrick Armstrong and Carole Richardson lived in a squat and had involvement with drugs and petty crime.
At their trial the Guildford Four claimed they had been tortured by police until they signed a confession. After they were convicted of murder and received the mandatory sentence of life imprisonment, the judge expressed regret that the Four had not been charged with treason, which then still had a mandatory death penalty.
During the trial of the
The Four tried to make an appeal under Section 17 of Criminal Appeal Act 1968 (later repealed) but were unsuccessful and, in 1987, the Home Office issued a memorandum recognizing that it was unlikely that the Four were terrorists but that this would not be sufficient evidence for appeal.
Further evidence and a final appeal
In 1989, a detective looking at the case found typed notes from Patrick Armstrong's police interviews which had been heavily edited. Deletions and additions had been made and the notes had been rearranged. These notes and their amendments were consistent with hand-written and typed notes presented at the trial, which suggested that the hand-written notes were made after the interviews had been conducted. The implication of this was that the police had manipulated the notes to fit with the case they wanted to present.
An appeal was granted on the
basis of this new evidence. The Lord Chief Justice,
completely fabricated the typed notes, amending them to make them look more effective and then creating hand-written notes to give the appearance of contemporaneous notes; or
had started off with contemporaneous notes, typed them up to make them more legible, amended them to make them read better and then converted them back to hand-written notes.
Either way, the police had lied, and the conclusion was if they had lied about this, the entire evidence was misleading and the Four were released.
Paul Hill, however, stayed
in prison until 1994, when another conviction of his (for murdering a British
Several family members of Gerry Conlon, including his father Giuseppe, his aunt and his 14- and 16-year-old cousins (the Maguire Seven), were also imprisoned in the same case (mainly for explosives offences). Giuseppe Conlon died in prison.
After the appeals
Gerry Conlon's autobiography Proved Innocent was adapted into the Oscar- and Bafta-award nominated 1993 film In the Name of the Father, starring Daniel Day-Lewis, Emma Thompson and Pete Postlethwaite. Gerard Conlon, one of the Guildford Four, is reported to have settled with the government for a final payment of compensation in the region of £400,000 to £500,000.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
The Maguire Seven case was
an infamous incident of wrongful conviction in the
The seven, members of the
same family, were falsely accused of running a bomb-making factory for the
Provisional IRA in the early 1970s. One of them, Giuseppe Conlon, father of
Gerard Conlon (one of four young people wrongly found guilty of the
Sister Sarah Clarke, who died on 4 February 2002 at the
age of 82, was described by Paddy Hill, one of the
Tuesday, 6 June, 2000, 11:03 GMT 12:03
Blair apologises to Guildford Four
An extract from the letter sent to Paul Hill's wife
Tony Blair has apologized to the Guildford Four who were wrongfully convicted
of IRA bomb attacks in
In a letter, Mr Blair acknowledged the "miscarriage of justice" which they suffered as a result of their wrongful convictions.
Details of the apology are revealed for
the first time in a special two-part edition of BBC Northern Ireland's
Spotlight programme, on the changing fortunes of
Paul Hill, Gerry Conlon, Patrick
Armstrong and Carole Richardson, were given life sentences for bombing public
houses in Guildford,
Each of them spent 15 years in prison before the convictions were overturned by the Court of Appeal in 1989.
Mr Hill and Mr
Armstrong were also wrongfully sentenced for a bomb attack in Woolwich. A total
of seven people died in the
The apology, personally signed by the Prime Minster, was sent by Mr Blair to Paul Hill's wife, Courtney Kennedy Hill, the daughter of the assassinated American Attorney-General Robert Kennedy, and niece of the late John F Kennedy.
The prime minister wrote: "I believe that it is an indictment of our system of justice and a matter for the greatest regret when anyone suffers punishment as a result of a miscarriage of justice.
"There were miscarriages of justice in your husband's case, and the cases of those convicted with him. I am very sorry indeed that this should have happened."