Today the court of appeal in Belfast granted leave for the Brendan McConville and John Paul Wootton to challenge the dismissal of their appeals in the UK supreme court.
The defence question that the appeal court forwarded to the supreme court is –
“Whether, in a case which the prosecution is insufficient to establish any specified role in a crime by the appellant and there is no direct evidence of any agreement with those involved in the murder, it is proper to permit the drawing of adverse inferences against the appellant by reason of his failure to give evidence, such an inference contributing to the conclusion on the totality of the evidence that the appellant was beyond reasonable doubt involved in the crime in some undefined way?”
The case against Brendan and John Paul has never been proven and indeed it relies on a dubious untrustworthy witness, discredited and contradictory forensics and an alleged military tracking device that was deliberately tampered with prior to its submission as evidence.
Adverse inference was drawn many times when during questioning Brendan and John Paul where unable to answer questions about the shooting, it was again drawn when they decided as was there right not to take the stand. Justice Girvan drew a negative inference in many instances from this to paper over the lack of credible evidence.
Joint enterprise legislation which was used to secure a conviction in this case, is the centre of a high profile campaign in England seeking it be abolished, campaigners, academics, MPs, journalists and celebrities have all claimed the law inherently unjust as it is a process which ensnares innocents in miscarriages of justice. 22 percent of all appeals in the UK are against joint enterprise convictions.
JENGBA the organisation spearheading the campaign recognises Brendan and John Paul’s case as one of over 500 joint enterprise injustices it supports.
The JFTC2 Group welcome the decision today to grant leave to the supreme court, but are highly cautious of the system following the travesty’s that was the trial and appeal, we will continue with the campaign until justice is done and seen to be done!