Carnage of misjustice

Fitted In: The Cardiff Three and the Lynette White Inquiry by Satish Sekar (The Fitted-in Project, £10.99)

THE ENGLISH criminal justice system regularly churns out serious miscarriages. If you want to know why and how this happens, you could turn to this shocking and detailed account of the case of the Cardiff Three.

The three, Yusef Abdelahi, Tony Paris and Steven Miller, were convicted after one of the longest-ever trials of the brutal murder of a prostitute in Cardiff's Butetown. The real killer is still at large. Policemen under pressure to resolve a horrific crime refused to accept the repeated and emphatic denials of a man who was psychologically vulnerable. They intimidated and threatened him until he confessed. Other promising lines of inquiry were abandoned once the police were convinced they had got their men.

Though the crime was committed in Cardiff, the trial was held in Swansea, where black defendants were unlikely to find jurors whose life experience matched their own. Satish Sekar details how forensic evidence was misinterpreted, and draws pertinent general conclusions about the defects of the adversarial system of trial. Satish campaigned for and got a full investigation of the way the case had been handled. He shows that despite (or perhaps because) of the blizzard of legislation in this field over the last 20 years, the system is on course for more miscarriages in the future. This is a very important book for anyone concerned with the future of civil liberties in Britain.

Jan/Feb 1999
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