JENGbA - JOINT ENTERPRISE: NOT GUILTY by ASSOCIATION
WHO WE ARE:
We are a grassroots campaign, run by volunteers. As with all grassroots campaigns the work behind opposing the might of the legal establishment has been an uphill battle. It was a role taken on mainly by women (mothers, sisters, aunties and cousins but also heartbroken dads and uncles) who will not rest while their loved ones are serving mandatory life sentences for crimes committed by others. JENGbA was by the legal establishment, it was not a campaign that came out of nowhere; it was precisely because the use of joint enterprise was unjust, unfair and discriminatory towards working class and BAME communities that we were forced to form JENGbA From our kitchens and meeting rooms we have focused tirelessly on this campaign.
WHAT WE HAVE ACHIEVED
Since JENGbA’s official launch in 2010 to address the wrongful convictions of hundreds of innocent people we have campaigned tirelessly to have our voices and the voices of prisoners heard. We have lobbied and cajoled MP’s, policy makers, media commentators, the Justice Select Committee, academics and ultimately the Supreme Court. In 2016 in the case of R v Jogee (in which JENGbA intervened on the question ‘Does joint enterprise over-criminalise secondary parties?') the Supreme Court and Privy Council (Ruddock v Queen) the Judges decided the law had taken a "wrong turn" in the Hong Kong case of Chan Wing-Siu in 1984. At last the JENGbA Inside (prisoners) and outside (families) campaigners felt vindicated. The law was wrong, the judges had been getting it wrong (homicide is common law) the juries were being misdirected, the use of foresight to infer what a defendants intention had been was wrong. All these wrongs led us to believe we were right! Finally we would get justice for our loved ones!
THE REALITY – AND WHY WE HAVE TO RELAUNCH OUR CAMPAIGN
After Jogee the reality of the power of the legal establishment and its long arm to support injustice showed us how we were. As Professor Ormerod comments in the Criminal Law Review just after Jogee “What is doubtful, however, is the extent to which the Supreme Court has conclusively resolved the problems that bedevilled this area of the law.” Concluding “Therefore despite the fact the Supreme Court has corrected the “wrong turn” taken by the Privy Council in Chan Wing-Siu, as a matter of substance, not much may have changed.”It could be said that it is precisely because of a grassroots campaign like JENGbA’s that nothing will change; we are the problem – not the law. JENGbA are highlighting over 800 potentially (and very many ) wrongfully convicted prisoners convicted under the wrong law. However, the Supreme Court covered this problem by stating that in previous cases (those out of time who may think that the change in law would mean they would not be convicted) will have to prove that “substantial injustice” [para 100] has occurred before their case can appeal. The Court of Appeal has applied the “substantial injustice” test to all of those convicted under joint enterprise and appealing out of time. The appeals R v Johnson et al were all rejected in 2016 making the test for out of time appeals near insurmountable. Then in June 2017 appeals were heard on behalf of Joseph McGill (13 year old) Corey Hewitt (14) and AJ (14) all with ADHD and Alex Henry & Janel Grant-Murray. All were refused even though it was argued they did not have the right to a fair trial, Alex having been diagnosed with Autism since going to prison and the learning ages of the children were just 6 and 7. The Court of Appeal’s refusal to accept that any joint enterprise conviction was a miscarriage of justice is an abhorrent decision based on financial consideration – not justice. Lord Thomas actually said in the appeals “who is going to pay for it?” meaning further appeals, so they have firmly closed the door on anyone going back to the court of appeal. The CCRC, the institution established to prevent miscarriages of justice happening after the Birmingham Six and Guildford 4, were looking into over 70 cases pre Jogee and received many, many more desperate applications from prisoners who hoped Jogee would give them the justice they deserve. They are now getting rejection letters.
WHY WE WILL NEVER GIVE UP
JENGbA would not exist if the law had been fair, just and transparent. It is because of bad law and accepted wrong law that we have grown into the campaign we are today. Does the legal establishment and the Court of Appeal really believe we are going to give up on our loved ones just because they can give substantial their interpretation and refuse to set precedent? It is not just the disgrace of mandatory sentences that means we will never give up – but JENGbA has always maintained our campaign is based on love and justice for those most vulnerable in society. That is why this relaunch is imperative and why a full Inquiry into Joint Enterprise convictions since Chan Wing Siu is a complete necessity if we are to restore any faith back in to the Criminal Justice System.
If you've been affected by this issue, please contact us with your loved ones prison address and number and we will send a support pack notifying them of the campaign. JENGbA is a not-for-profit campaign run by volunteers and supporters. We need funds to keep our campaign on track, especially for printing and sending regular newsletters to prisoners who have contacted us. Please organise a fundraising / awareness event in your area or simply give what you can afford ; - even postage stamps are a help! Please make Cheques or Postal Orders payable to JENGbA. Thank you..
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