Trial unfair after it continued after def collapsed giving evidence

This was a married couple who were both side by side in the dock.

I knew Mr P back in 1984. I sung professionally with him playing the keyboards. We parted company acrimoniously in 1986.

In April 2011 I had an awful feeling that I should be searching his (unusual name) on Google. Up came a new article that showed he was remanded into custody on historic child abuse allegations. The mother of the main complainant had been accused of trying to pervert the course of justice by trying to “buy her off” with an inducement of £20K.

I contacted the younger of his sons (not the elder son). Good job I did as the elder one was supporting the complainant at the time. He put me in touch with his father and stepmother and I became involved shortly afterwards.

The trial started.

While still being cross-examined Mr P collapsed in the witness box and was carted off to hospital, with a suspected stroke.

His wife was still locked in the dock at that point – frantic.

Business closed that day after discussion as to whether they should continue, despite Mr P now being in hospital and being therefore unable to finished his evidence.

Unbelievably, the trial continued the next day with Mrs P being forced to give evidence, not knowing whether Mr P was alive or dead. She actually made a big mistake during cross-examination, which I picked up on at appeal. I also picked up on other mistakes she made, due to the stress of being in the witness box, not knowing whether Mr P was still alive.

Prior to the trial was I was really worried about the defence team as they refused point blank to use Facebook / Twitter and YouTube evidence I had gathered. I frantically tried to persuade them to change solicitors or at least the barrister, but they thought it was too late, and anyway the jury would “see it was all false”. They were both convicted mainly due I think to counsel using none of the evidence we had gathered – in his absence – but they were both bailed pending sentence.

When Mr P was well enough (although he still couldn’t walk without a stick and could barely talk) they came to see me with all of the paperwork. I did my usual job of going through it with a fine tooth comb, snooping on Facebook etc, and provided arguments mainly related to the social media evidence and the fact that the trial continued despite him not have given his full evidence. The evidence I gathered from social media would have helped with the appeal as it was available prior to the trial, but I wanted them to be prepared for any potential retrial and I wanted to get that sorted out asap.

I contacted Chris Saltrese who took the case on, with barrister Andrew instructed. The only ground of appeal was that the trial was unfair to to the circumstances of Mr P collapsing and it continuing. I knew I had to get stuck in asap due to the time limits – with sentence pending.

Mr P had to undergo a number of psychiatric evaluations and was deemed unfit to stand re-trial. Mr and Mrs P attended the directions hearing at the appeal courts in the April of 2012. Mr P could barely stand let alone walk. He couldn’t speak apart from one word at a time and even then he couldn’t make much sense. Bail pending sentence was extended due to the circumstances of being in the midst of an appeal. Those members who attended that hearing will remember him stumbling in the courtroom and nearly going over.

Our second appearance at the court of appeal a few months later in October 2012 resulted in the appeal being allowed but they were leaving it for a month or two to decide whether to retry them both. I attended on the 13th December 2012 to hear the public pronouncement that there would be no retrial.

The complainant, privately told her grandmother that she was “shi**ing herself if there was to be a retrial. She would have heard via the police via prosecution that at the appeal, during discussion about a retrial, barrister Andrew held up a huge bundle of evidence that her mother and I had collected via her social media. I was able to get quite a bit more as she accepted my friend request on my “other”profile. Obviously I never spoke with her on her profile, never “liked” or shared any posts, so I could not be accused of PCJ or anything else.

Looking at her Facebook profile she is seen to be complaining bitterly about “not getting justice” and accusing her father of “writing a letter to the trial judge who let him off” and she seemed desperate to want to go back to retrial. This was rather different from her behaviour when she lived with her grandmother, who said that she was “shi**ing” herself, knowing he now had proper representation.

She also claimed that he “got off with it” because he is a Freemason and “his mates helped him to pay for the best”. Given that the trial was legally aided, as was the appeal – then that cannot have been correct. Until the appeal was allowed and his name was off the SOR – the Freemasons could not be seen to be supporting him, so he could not attend any meetings.

After the appeal Mr and Mrs P came down to see me while they were attending their first Freemasonry function since the allegations were made. After the meeting we met up and they were both close to tears, as when they met up with the others, they, every single one of them – came up and hugged them, and told them that they had never believed the allegations but had to stay away to maintain the integrity of the group.

Anybody who believes that Freemasons are full of paedophiles and protect their own, can be assured that that is not true.

Mrs P now calls me “the other woman” but apparently I am now a member of their family! How nice!

 

Public Pronouncement of No Retrial

Neutral Citation Number: [2012] EWCA Crim 3070
No: 201200326 C4; 201200328 C4
IN THE COURT OF APPEAL
CRIMINAL DIVISION
Royal Courts of Justice
Strand
London, WC2A 2LL

Thursday, 13th December 2012

B e f o r e:

LADY JUSTICE RAFFERTY DBE

MR JUSTICE SINGH

RECORDER OF MANCHESTER
HIS HONOUR JUDGE GILBART QC
(Sitting as a judge of the Court of Appeal Criminal Division)
R E G I N A

v

“FP” & “JP”

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PRONOUNCEMENT REGARDING RE TRIAL
(As Approved by the Court)

Crown copyright©

1. LADY JUSTICE RAFFERTY: In this case the question remaining is whether a re trial should be ordered. The court has already informally indicated its conclusion that a re trial should not. We now add the very briefest of reasons, all relevant parties having had supporting documentation.

2. Dr Dewsbery, familiar with, as a patient, FP, has, at the court’s request, seen him once again. Dr Dewsbery’s report, dated 2nd November 2012, records his observation that Mr P’s presentation has deteriorated and excludes any possibility that he is malingering. Dr Dewsbery considers that Mr P would not fulfil the Pritchard criteria for fitness to plead and stand trial. He has concerns about Mr P’s ability to instruct a solicitor, to follow evidence and, during a trial, to express himself. There are no safeguards the court could put in place which would enable Mr P effectively to participate in the trial process.

3. Consequently, it being a matter for the court under section 7 of the Criminal Appeal Act 1968 to decide whether or not an appellant should be re tried, we have without hesitation concluded that in this case, for the reasons briefly given, there should be no re trial.