How long will the Jeremy Bamber Campaign Team remain in a state of inertia and omerta?
Jeremy Bamber is seemingly fortunate to have a group of supporters who proclaim his innocence and maintain a website outlining his claims of innocence. However, it is pertinent to question whether this has done him more harm than good in recent years.
Over two years ago on 10th March 2021 the Jeremy Bamber Innocence Campaign (JBIC) made eight submissions to the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC), most of which appear to revisit issues that were rejected by the CCRC in 2012. Two additional submissions were then made. The JBIC said at the time, “We will update you further as things progress” Solicitor Mark Newby said on 10th March 2021, “As time goes on in this case, we hope to be able to share parts of the evidence”.
Not surprisingly, given their track record, there have been no substantial details of the eight submissions revealed by the JBIC and predictably, no new evidence has been revealed by JBIC or Mark Newby. This assists the CCRC greatly in their glacial approach to reviewing the submissions where months or even years can pass by without any progress in addressing the information submitted. The public, deprived of any detailed information about the submissions, is not clamouring for the CCRC to come to a swift conclusion of their deliberations whereas the CCRC really should be subjected to a bombardment of letters each week demanding that the Bamber case is referred to the Court of Appeal without further delay.
The March 2021 submissions resulted from a major strategic error in revisiting many aspects of the flawed police prosecution, resulting in the CCRC yet again exploring issues that have been subject to previous investigation. The submissions to the CCRC resulted from the first significant examination of materials first released to JBIC in 2011 by Essex Police. About ten years elapsed while 350,000 pages of documentation were examined. Working through those documents in preparation for a book on the case (see below), we kept uncovering new facts and information pointing to serious police deception and the construction of a malicious false prosecution of an innocent Jeremy Bamber. Crucially, for the first time ever, some of the crime scene photographs were available to JBIC and from these images it was possible to identify around 70 wounds to the three adult victims not reported by the pathologist, Dr. Peter Vanezis. The identification of these wounds indicated extensive savage brawling between the adults, suggesting that both parents tried desperately to disarm Sheila Caffell before she killed both of them.
Indeed, the new evidence discovered indicated that Sheila Caffell suffered an injury to her trigger finger that corresponded exactly with part of the murder-weapon rifle mechanism. This alone could have influenced a Jury to conclude that she had wielded and fired the rifle.
The discovery of the 70 wounds should have resulted in a single submission to the CCRC in 2017 presenting them with absolutely new evidence that was withheld from the Jury and, it is suggested, this alone could have seen Bamber’s conviction quashed by the Court of Appeal. In any event, consideration of the new evidence would have taken little more than a few hours. The CCRC could then have questioned the pathologist and perhaps obtained his admission that he had not mentioned the 70 wounds. The entire submission could have been completed in a month at most.
Instead, the CCRC has spent over two years perusing data that has been considered on two previous occasions and, rightly or wrongly, dismissed. No matter that the current submissions do indeed represent an entirely different interpretation of issues considered previously, they still require the CCRC to research everything that has previously been submitted to them, a very time-consuming process and, I submit, entirely unnecessary in considering whether the Bamber case should be referred to the Court of Appeal.
The two main JBIC spokespersons, Yvonne Hartley and Philip Walker have spent the past two years appearing on podcasts and YouTube video telling their audience that they know that Jeremy is innocent without ever disclosing any substantial evidence that would suggest that he actually is innocent. What game are they engaged in? What benefit is gained by not making the entire submission and all supporting evidence public knowledge? Is it a ‘secret’ requirement of the CCRC that in order to gain their cooperation none of the evidence is revealed? It appears not, as supporters in other high-profile cases such as Clive Freeman and Andy Malkinson share detailed forensic information with the public about developments in the cases. So, what benefit is derived from refusing to publish the evidence that shows Bamber to be innocent?
Anyone who has perused the CCRC Watch articles here will know that there is copious evidence of Jeremy Bamber’s innocence yet anyone visiting the JBIC website will not find it mentioned. What on earth is going on?
There has been a JBIC type of organisation for at least 15 years. The website supporting Bamber’s claim of innocence had more overt details of his case ten years ago than it has now; actual evidence of his innocence is sparse and buried in archived materials. In fact the JBIC website is seemingly more interested now in debating the general arena of miscarriages of justice than the Bamber case specifically and the JBIC now campaigns on numerous other issues.
Over the past five years we have seen the publication of a book by author Carol Ann Lee that has convinced hundreds of thousands of people that Bamber is guilty and an entirely fictitious TV series in 2020 ‘The Murders at White House Farm’ convinced a few million more. Yet, in 2017 a draft book existed that would have informed the public in great detail why Bamber was innocent and probably would have prevented the publication of Carol Ann Lee’s fictitious account of the tragedy and halted any TV dramatization that supported the contention that Bamber is guilty.
The JBIC book, running to over a thousand pages and known internally as the Bamber Bible was never published; it was shelved in favour of a purported Netflix series that has not materialised. Much of the content of the draft book is now being drip-fed on a daily basis on Twitter which is hardly an appropriate medium for conveying detailed information. The book showing Bamber to be innocent should have been published in 2017, in any event it should all be available to read on the JBIC website. It is long overdue that the public should be able to view in detail the evidence proving Bamber’s innocence rather than be expected to take assurances from his supporters at face value.
What can be concluded from these deliberations? Surely, that there is nothing to be gained from keeping information from the public in support of claims that someone is innocent. Who would be outraged about the case of Clive Freeman if it was not known that nine of the most eminent pathologists in the World have all concluded that no murder took place and Freeman is therefore innocent? Anyone can read the evidence on the CCRC Watch website.
Yet, in the case of Jeremy Bamber the opposite is true. We recently read in the Daily Mail that Essex Police illegally dismissed claims of 29 allegations of misconduct by police officers working on the case.
The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) said:
'Having considered the nature of your complaints, there are matters raised in relation to allegations that officers lied about evidence, altered witness statements, passed evidence to a third party, withheld and concealed evidence and tampered with a crime scene. These complaints could amount to allegations of serious corruption based on the wording alone, as defined by our Statutory Guidance’.
However, no details of the 29 offences are available on the IOPC website, so the public are unaware of what the 29 allegations concern. The JBIC have as usual released nothing, so nobody is any the wiser and nobody is discomforted by whatever may be revealed about the wrongdoing of Essex Police.
It took the CCRC eight years to consider Bamber’s previous submissions which were less voluminous than the current submissions. There is, indeed, an entirely different narrative to the case as suggested by solicitor Mark Newby, and very strong evidence that Sheila Caffell killed her family, but it is beyond the point where the detail should be shared with the public, this is now an urgent necessity if Bamber is to be given justice anytime soon. What are the JBIC waiting for?
By Bill Robertson
Bill Robertson has researched alleged miscarriages of justice for around 20 years and advised on several cases, including the most recent application to the CCRC by Jeremy Bamber. Please let us know if you think that there is a mistake in this article, explaining what you think is wrong and why. We will correct any errors as soon as possible.