CPS prosecuted using joint enterprise and secured murder convictions when there was no joint enterprise and the crime was manslaughter
Gerard Childs and Stephen Price cleared of murder of Jonathan Fitchett on appeal
Email received 9 February 2012:
As the founding members of Joint Enterprise: Not Guilty by Association, we have decided, in the light of recent personal conflicts within the committee, that we must take the step of disbanding JENGbA in its current form.
However, JENGBA continues to send out newsletters and occasionally updates its website www.jointenterprise.co
Many people have reported difficulty in accessing JENGBA's Newsletter no.17 for July 2012, so we have put a link to it here - JENGBA says: "Please share with anyone you feel should know about our campaign."
Following the publication of the Report into Joint Enterprise Law by the House of Commons Justice Committee late on 17 January 2012, the following day was filled by intense media interest in the subject in general and JENGbA in particular.
JENGbA's campaign co-ordinator Gloria Morrison (right) was interviewed on BBC National TV News.
Interview with Gloria in article on Justice Gap website
Article 'Tenuous Evidence, Unjustified Inferences' by Andrew Green on Justice Gap website
JOINT ENTERPRISE: "NOT GUILTY BY ASSOCIATION is a campaigning organisation that will highlight such cases where joint enterprise law has been applied and those convicted are stating they are not guilty of the index offence. We have been contacted by many families and hundreds of prisoners alerting that they are serving lengthy sentences (life for knife crime is minimum 25 year tariff and prisoners will always serve longer than the minimum tariff) for something they did not do, could not have foreseen, did not have the intention to do, and indeed in many cases tried to prevent from happening. JOINT ENTERPRISE: NOT GUILTY BY ASSOCIATION will campaign on behalf of, and with those wrongfully convicted."
JENGBA, 2 Acklam Road, London W10 5QZ
mobile 07709 115793
The lazy law that sends innocent people to prison for 20-30 years - article by Andrew Green in December 2010 - click here for PDF version
Launch of JENGbA
20 September 2010
balloon launch 3 pm outside Liver Building, Liverpool L31HT
Meeting at Friends Meeting House, 22 School Lane, Liverpool L1 3BT from 6pm to 9pm
(to coincide with LibDem party conference)
Murder Convictions without Evidence - text of a speech by Dr Andrew Green given at a meeting at the House of Commons on 23 March 2010 - click here for PDF version
Andrew Green is solely responsible for the content of the article, and JENGbA is responsible for none of its content or the opinions expressed in it.
Joint Enterprise's purposes are
JOINT ENTERPRISE: NOT GUILTY BY ASSOCIATON
REDRESSING THE INJUSTICE OF JOINT ENTERPRISE CONVICTIONS
The joint enterprise law is over 300 years old and has been little used in modern times, until the last ten years when it has been applied with increasing enthusiasm by the police, the Crown Prosecution Service, and judges to convict all of those present at the scene of a serious crime, usually murder, regardless of whether they were aware of any plans or intention for a crime to be committed.
Once used to discourage the illegal practice of duelling, so that not only the combatants but also the seconds, medics and witnesses who attended duels could be held responsible, the law is now applied very differently. People can be held responsible for the most serious crimes if courts can be convinced only that they knew that the crime might happen, and that they somehow encouraged the person who actually perpetrated the crime. Derek Bentley, a vulnerable teenager, was hanged despite public outrage in 1953 after being convicted of murder under joint enterprise law. His conviction was overturned almost fifty years later exclusively due to the efforts of his sister Iris.
All those convicted under joint enterprise law are held to be guilty of the main offence. Someone who stands at the back of a crowd while another person on the other side murders someone else, is given a life sentence just like the killer, if a jury can be persuaded that by being with the crowd, that person gave encouragement to the killer's actions. And it is all too easy to persuade jury members that they can know what a defendant intends, and even know what the defendant knows about what the killer intends.
Defendants in joint enterprise cases are often said to know the intentions of someone they have only recently met or who they may not know at all. They are said to be members of gangs when there is no evidence that the gang in question actually exists.
The evidence used in support of such allegations can be just that a mobile phone they may have used at some time was used at the time of, or near the scene where a serious crime was committed. Presence at or near the scene of a crime - even if proof of this depends on something as slight as mobile phone use - is interpreted as encouraging another person to commit the crime.
People may be convicted even when they are innocent, uninvolved bystanders or when they do not know that a crime is being committed or might be committed. Others are convicted who were nowhere near the crime scene, because they have been in touch with whoever committed the crime.
Using mobile phone use data and other leads such as sharing of cars or allegations by hidden informers, the police take the easy route to 'solving' serious crimes by rounding up all those they believe to be members of supposed gangs and threatening all of them with murder charges. Some of those rounded up escape this threatening situation by agreeing to give evidence against others that the police want to hear. Charges against them are dropped. But their evidence is still presented to courts as reliable.
The police back up allegations about gang membership by feeding courts with their opinions about gangs. This information comes from unnamed informers who may well not be reliable, and who can never be examined in court.
The joint enterprise law itself is common law, which has been developed by judges, who are the people permitting and encouraging its use and further development now. But this law has never been debated in public and has never been considered by parliament. Judges alone are responsible for deciding the types and standards of evidence they admit under this law. They are advised and informed by prosecuting lawyers and police reports, but none of the information comes from proper research or scientific data.
Instead they are swayed by sensationalist media reporting of cases and the rhetoric of politicians. They think they are helping the police to make us safer. But we don't understand how putting innocent people in prison makes us safer.
JOINT ENTERPRISE: NOT GUILTY BY ASSOCIATION (JENGBA) is a campaigning organisation whose aims are:
JOINT ENTERPRISE: NOT GUILTY BY ASSOCIATION will
As the courts in recent years have taken a much more restrictive view on joint enterprise, it will fall upon Parliament to enact legislation. Along with the modification of the law, we will demand that cases are reviewed retrospectively so that those convicted in the past will justifiably benefit from the proposed changes in the law.