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Not Fit For Purpose

 

Mr. Olagunju


This article embodies extracts from my recently published book: Justice? No Chance! A True Story Of  Perjury And Injustice. The extracts are in italics.

 

In the simplest possible, minimalist, plain language, impossible to misunderstand terms: in the jury trial described in this book there was an issue of fact - whether an event crucial to the case occurred or not - which was decided by the judge.   This crucial event, which was alleged by the prosecution and denied by the defence, should have been left to the jury.   It is plainly wrong in English law that a judge should usurp the function of the jury and decide an issue of fact.  The duty of a judge is to leave material factual disputes to the jury, not to resolve them himself.  If appeal court judges cannot see that this is wrong then there is something wrong with the judges.

 

Ever since its foundation, many people have been saying that the CCRC is not fit for purpose. I am now one of those people.

 

The CCRC is most reluctant to admit to making mistakes. Even when a lay person has rejected a presentation on applicable law the CCRC will not countenance any complaint.  The Administrative Court is the only venue in which to challenge a decision of the CCRC. However, that court will not intervene if the CCRC has acted within its remit.  Further, the Administrative Court cannot rule on “any criminal cause or matter”. The CCRC effectively operates without scrutiny from any higher authority.  Who watches these watchers?  Nobody.

 

The CCRC like any human system is a “them v us” body which closes ranks when challenged. It is too timid to send cases to the appeal court unless it is odds-on to win. It does not want to be censured by the appeal court.  In effect its number one priority is to safeguard and promote its own existence. It does not seek to safeguard and promote the cause of victims of injustice.

 

To jump the gun somewhat: this was a cross-allegation of assault as between the defendant and the police. On the defence case the police had assaulted the defendant who had at no time assaulted the police. After 4 days of evidence the prosecution, defence and judge conferred in the absence of the jury.  The prosecution stated that the police were entitled to self -defence against assault and that the defendant was entitled to resist arrest if the arrest was unlawful.  On the defence case this particular arrest was a fiction invented to support the police claim of self-defence.)

 

Mr. Ume, for the defence, tried to explain the absolute right of self-defence against assault but was interrupted by the judge.

 

Mr. Ume: Your Honour it would be reasonable to use force because if you did not use force you would probably sustain more injuries than you would otherwise do.

 

Judge Martineau: “But I do not think that is what happened here. … ”

 

It is clear from the transcript that the judge at this point left no doubt about the judicial bias which had permeated the trial and which was continued in the summing up.

 

 

The Defence Case In Brief

 

Mr. Olagunju was stopped for alleged speeding in December 1993. It is clear from the trial evidence, and from fresh evidence of the length of the roads over which he was driving that he was doing at most 20mph in a 30mph zone. The speeding allegation is clearly false.

 

After the stop the tax disc was found to be out of date. Mr. Olagunju was asked for his address for service of summons. The police claimed that the address could not be verified, so Mr. Olagunju gave the previous address from which he had recently moved. The police took the giving of two addresses as a matter of suspicion and made an arrest allegedly for failure to provide address for service of summons.

 

No contemporaneous complaint was made about the arrest other than telling the police that they had his true address.  (Formal complaint of false arrest was made only during the trial, by Mr. Ume.)

 

Mr. Olagunju was taken to the police station where he was formally detained and held in a cell.  He was held incommunicado. A fax was sent to the Nigerian Embassy, a fact which shows that the police knew Mr. Olagunju's real name full well at that point.  They also knew his current address at this time, as stated during the trial.

 

P.C. Collyer: “I ascertained what address he lived at because I asked him the question and he told me it was [redacted] back at the police station your Honour.”

 

It is clear that the police had no justifiable reason to go to his home. But they went anyway.

 

Mr. Olagunju was taken, handcuffed behind his back, to his home. He and Mrs. Olagunju were questioned there and proof of address was provided. Mr. Olagunju was asked for his passport which could not at that time be found. The police gave no explanation as to why Mr. Olagunju was taken, still in handcuffs and not released on the spot.

 

Mr. Olagunju: No they just said to my wife "O.K. we're taking him back", that's all.

 

Mr Chaize: You see I put it to you that you were told why.

 

Mr. Olagunju: No she wasn't told and neither was I.

 

On the stairs Mr. Olagunju, being handcuffed behind his back and being hurried along by P.C. Collyer who had hold of him, was struggling to keep his balance. He asked P.C. Collyer to let him walk properly but was told not to tell the officer what to do.  P.C. Collyer then elbowed Mr. Olagunju in the face, causing a cut.

 

Outside the flats Mr. Olagunju was being placed in the police car when a number of police officers who had just arrived ran over, pulled him from the car, threw him to the ground and began assaulting him.  One officer had his hand over Mr. Olagunju's mouth impairing his breathing to the point that Mr. Olagunju was losing awareness of what was happening. The assault on the stairs and the assault outside were both witnessed by Mrs. Olagunju, who was also assaulted.

 

Mr. Olagunju was thrown onto the floor of a van where he was further assaulted by being kicked throughout the journey to the police station. The journey from station to flat had taken 3 minutes.  The van journey took 10 minutes judging by the evidence produced in court.

 

Formal complaints of assault were lodged two days later. These complaints have never been investigated to this day. With Mr. Olagunju convicted and in prison he received a letter worthy of Kafka stating that now the trial is over they can commence their investigation, and “... every effort is made to conduct a prompt enquiry into any complaint received ...”.

 

 

The Prosecution Case In Brief

 

Mr. Olagunju was arrested for failure to furnish adequate address for service of summons in the matter of the expired tax disc. He was taken to his flat to verify that he actually lived there. He was asked to produce his passport.  When he failed to do so, suspicions having arisen due to the giving of a false address, he was re-arrested as a suspected illegal immigrant. This caused him to become angry. He used force to attempt to escape from arrest, giving rise to the need for police officers to use reasonable force in self-defence.

 

 

Evidence Of Judicial Bias

 

On the defence case the “illegal immigrant” re-arrest was fabricated as part of a cover-up story to protect police officers from being charged with assault. The matter of whether it happened or not was a key issue for the jury to decide. But the judge decided this issue of fact for them.

 

… being an illegal immigrant is a serious matter and presumably if somebody knows that the police know that or suspect that you are an illegal immigrant but have chosen for some reason not to arrest you, you may use the time available to you to make yourself scarce from that address. One does not know but it is a fairly serious matter and that is why the officer no doubt thought it necessary to effect an arrest.

 

During the course of the four days of trial the judge intervened no less than 317 times in a manner helpful to the prosecution. When Mr. Olagunju stated that he had never been convicted of any crime the judge cross-examined him on this matter. When Mr. Olagunju was describing how he had gone to the assistance of an off-duty W.P.C. who was being mugged the judge changed the topic.

 

During cross-examinations of P.C. Collyer and P.C. Clarke, each quite forgot to mention the injuries which formed the foundation of the prosecution case. The defence could have made much of this major lapse in the final speech to the jury, but the judge intervened in each instance with a stream of questions clearly designed to remind the witnesses to speak of their injuries.

 

The injury claimed by each of the two officers was a bite to the finger.  During the evidence of Dr. Jason Payne James he was being asked what the injury to P.C. Clarke was consistent with. The judge interrupted with a leading question.

  

A: There are a large number of things. A crushing injury.  Something that involved a mixture of ----

 

Judge Martineau: Well, consistent with a large number of things. Would that include a bite?

 

Mr. Ume: Your Honour the doctor was trying to demonstrate how ----

 

Judge Martineau: We do not want a list of fifty things it is consistent with.

 

Mr. Ume: Your Honour no, no.

 

Judge Martineau: It does not point any more to one than another does it?

 

Mr. Ume: Your Honour I do not want fifty things but I want, the doctor says "This could be consistent with ----”

 

Judge Martineau: I do not want a list of fifty things.   I am sorry Mr. Ume.

 

If the judge genuinely believed that there was a 49 to one chance that the injury was not a bite then he would have stopped the trial at that point. Quite obviously he did not hold such a genuine belief else he would not have addressed the jury on the issue in the terms which he used.

 

…you remember Dr. Payne James, and perhaps this is of some importance, said that although, and he has got great experience as a police doctor of injuries caused in assaults, he sees lots of people who have been victims of assaults, and his view was that although the injuries that he saw to P.C. Clarke's left index finger, the one that you have seen photographed, was consistent with quite a number of different things, it was much more consistent with a bite than it was with anything else.

 

The alleged bite to P.C. Collyer's finger was trivial, a small laceration. It was not sufficient by itself to support a charge of assault occasioning bodily harm.  In support of his case P.C. Collyer claimed to have been headbutted and claimed an injury to his wrist from his watch strap. Neither injury was supported by medical evidence. D.C. Butterworth in his evidence stated that the injury might not have been a bite. The judge himself spoke during trial of “the one who had been bitten”, indicating the judge's doubt about the injury.

 

As to the van journey: the judge again preferred his own evidence to that given in his court. Dr. Jason Payne James had stated that blows do not always leave bruises, but the judge was having none of it.

 

A very large number of kicks can be delivered in two or three minutes and if so, even on a person who is fully clothed, they are going to leave their mark or some of them are going to leave their mark, and again there is no complaint by the defendant to any of the doctors that he had pain to the body, the chest, the back, the upper arms, the upper legs, and indeed there is no evidence of injuries to those parts of the body. 

 

In fact, the formal complaint made 2 days after the assaults complained inter alia of bruises from being kicked. Further, Mr. Olagunju complained at the same time about a cover-up. The jury were not told of these previous consistent statements. Quite the opposite in fact, as shown above, the judge told the jury: “... there is no evidence of injuries to those parts of the body.”

 

The next doctor he sees in time is at the hospital - Accident and Emergency Department at the Royal hospital Trust at Whitechapel, and he was seen there at just after 9.00 so it is about half an hour after Dr. Payne James saw him. He was suffering from facial injuries, he was under arrest having allegedly bitten a police officer. So the allegation of a bite is clearly a consistent allegation that was made at a very early stage by the police officers. He was handcuffed.

 

The police allegation here is compound hearsay, having been included in a report by one doctor about a report by another doctor which recorded the allegation made by an officer. Note also the singular: an officer, rather than the plural.

 

Going back to the alleged “illegal immigrant” re-arrest, P.C. Collyer stated on oath that this was the sole reason for Mr. Olagunju being taken back to the police station. As a matter of clear law P.C. Collyer was required to return the detainee to the station in any event.

 

Police And Criminal Evidence Act 1984

34 Limitations on Police Detention

(3) No person in police detention shall be released except on the authority of a custody officer at the police station where his detention was authorised or, if it as authorised at more than one station, a custody officer at the station where it was last authorised.

 

There is a wealth of support for the defence case of a fabricated re-arrest as against the unsupported evidence of P.C. Collyer, but the judge told the jury “the officer no doubt thought it necessary to effect an arrest.”.

 

 

Exceptional Circumstances

  

Criminal Appeal Act 1995

s13 (2) Nothing in subsection (1)(b)(i) or (c) shall prevent the making of a reference if it appears to the Commission that there are exceptional circumstances which justify making it.

 

As a matter of plain language and common sense it would seem that a case in which a jury has reached a verdict without having been informed of essential evidence and law and whose fact-finding function had been usurped by the judge would fall under the  exceptional circumstances rule. 

 

To put matters another way: it would be of great concern to members of the public if any professional working in the sphere of criminal law should assert that such an unjust trial was not exceptional, thus implying that it is a common occurrence.

 

The vast number of defects in procedure in Mr. Olagunju's case were discounted by the CCRC in both applications. It would be of great concern to members of the public if any professional working in the sphere of criminal law should assert that such a vast number of trial defects was not exceptional, thus implying that it is a matter of common occurrence.

  

By Patrick Lockerby

 

Patrick is the author of Justice? No Chance!  A True Story Of  Perjury And Injustice. Published January 2024 on Amazon.co.uk and other Amazon sites.

 

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.

 

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