“The most ardent defenders of justice here consider that it is better for an innocent man to be condemned than for the Inquisition to suffer disgrace.”
- Papal envoy, Spain 1565
MANY OF YOUR LETTERS TO KEV HAVE BEEN RETURNED TO YOU BY HMP WOODHILL STATING THAT HE IS NO LONGER AT THIS ESTABLISHMENT. KEV IS STILL AT HMP WOODHILL. IF YOUR MAIL IS RETURNED TO YOU IN THIS MANNER PLEASE WRITE DIRECTLY TO GOVERNOR NIGEL SMITH WITH YOUR COMPLAINT. ALSO, KEV RESPONDS TO ALL MAIL. IF YOU HAVE NOT HEARD FROM HIM FOR OVER A MONTH, PLEASE WRITE AGAIN.
A VICTIM OF multiple HEARSAY AND JOINT ENTERPRISE
On 28th August 2007 at around 9.30pm Keith Cowell, Matthew Cowell and Tony Delieu were shot dead at the Cowells’ home in Bishop’s Stortford. Two women Christine Jennings and Claire Evans, who were present at the house were stabbed and injured.Claire Evans sustaining superficial wounds.
Ian Jennings, son of Christine Jennings went on the run from Police after this incident, and later told them he was £300,000 in debt to the Dulieu family for cocaine. Police confiscated a car belonging to Ian Jennings and a large sum of money found under his bed. Police allowed Ian Jennings to plead guilty to 2 charges of conspiracy to supply one kilo of cocaine and half a kilo of cocaine with no evidence in order to create motive to be used to convict Kev. Jennings received a 7 year sentence. No drugs were ever found. It has been rumoured that Jennings made a deal with Police in order to have his car and money returned to him as well as witness protection for life with the rest of his family all receiving regular payments. Police have always refused to release the details of their man, Ian Jennings, or the deals they provided him stating “The identity of this person is being withheld to protect the integrity of this case.”
It is clear that from the moment that the police had their informant Ian Jennings on side, there was to be no investigation of the case, just an all out attempt to convict whoever the informant pointed the finger at.
Noble Cause Corruption
Paul Condon, former Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Force describes ‘noble cause corruption’ – the breaking of rules by police officers acting, not for personal gain, but out of an overdeveloped sense of loyalty to the job……’the majority of officers were prepared to bend the rules. I think they were prepared to massage the evidence, not for their own gain but elaborating on things that were said to make sure that the case had the strongest chance of going through to conviction.’
‘Noble cause corruption’ occurs when the police have in their custody a suspect who they are convinced is guilty but lack the evidence to prove it. In such circumstances officers would , in their own words, ‘bolster’ , ‘enhance’, ‘firm up’, ‘embroider’ the evidence by inventing verbal admissions (what used to be known as verballing’) or planting incriminating evidence.
Ian and Christine Jennings were, and still are, benefitting financially from the witness protection scheme.
Arrested and Charged
Kev was arrested at Heathrow Airport on 2nd September 2007 as he was about to board a flight. He had heard his brother Miran was in some trouble and fearing for his life had fled to Northern Cyprus. He wanted to find out more and help if he could. His arrest came just 6 days after the incident and police claimed he had been evading justice when in fact he had just been living his life as normal until he received a phone call from his scared brother, Miran, who stated that he had been threatened at gun point and it was not safe for him to return home. There was evidence of Kev using his credit card as normal during this time as well as cell siting showing him at home.
CCTV evidence clearly contradicted the assertion that Kev could have been present at the scene, no description given matches his appearance which was caught on camera only minutes prior to the incident.
Kev was taken to the Police Station and accused of three counts of murder, two of attempted murder and one firearms offence. He volunteered to give a blood DNA sample to the police to prove his innocence, and gave a second sample months after being charged as the police ‘lost’ the original. After being charged Kev states that police officers told him when he was taken out for exercise, “we know you didn’t do it but if you don’t help us we will make sure you serve 50 years”.
Claire Evans and Nicole Cowell both gave statements to the fact that on the night in question they had seen Miran on his own and he had no weapon. Miran had come to the house alone and was there prior to Ian Jennings, Christine Jennings and Tony Delieu arriving.
An alibi witness who was with Kev at the time of the incident in Enfield, Middlesex was threatened by Police that he would serve 10 years imprisonment if he told the truth about Kev’s location. He was charged with assisting an offender and made to appear before Stevenage Magistates Court on July 9, where he was remanded in custody. This was during Kev’s trial and a press release was used to discredit his alibi to the jury.
In at least one notorious miscarriage of justice case, the Guildford Four, a witness who approached the police to confirm he had been with one of the accused at the time of the murders found himself charged with complicity (and only released when he withdrew his alibi statement).
Hertfordshire Police Authority member, Councilor Bernard Engel said on 08/011/2007 he was “perfectly confident with the way it’s going”. He said,” I’m perfectly happy with the investigation. I don’t think there are any concerns. It seems to be more or less an open and shut case from the beginning. I don’t know of any surprises and I don’t expect any.”
Under intense pressure to get results, police focused their attentions on Miran and Kev and set about constructing a case against them. The case against them was at best, circumstantial.
During trial preparation it became apparent that confidential information was making it’s way from the defence to prosecution and to the Police. The Judge wrote to the then Governor of HMP Woodhill where all the defendants were remanded to ask how this was happening and what levels of surveillance were being used. Luke Sergent, the Governor, wrote back stating that he “could neither confirm nor deny whether covert surveillance was or ever had been used in this case.” This illegal intrusion clearly disadvantaged all defendants.
In March 2008 Kev attempted to have the case against him dismissed due to the fact that there was no case to answer to. Stuart Trimmer QC told a scandalous amount of lies which the Judge used to make his decision to have Kev face trial. After the prosecution case during the trial, the Judge should have discharged Kev, as the only ‘evidence’ was the I.D. which was proven to be inaccurate. Again the Judge was not willing to do this and wanted a Jury to decide on guilt based on no real evidence.
It took only nine months for the case to come to trial. Howell and Co. Solicitors were employed in April 2008, 2 months before the trial date. The Judge refused to defer the trial to allow time for complete preparation of defence. One of the main reasons for not being prepared was the CPS failing to meet disclosure deadlines. Another was Kev’s corrupt solicitor Richard Evans who was working freelance for Howell and Co solicitors while simultaneously working for Frisby Solicitors of Stafford, unknown to Howell and Co. Not only was Evans not doing the work he claimed to be doing, he attempted to be paid for it as well.
Both Article 6 and the common law rules of natural justice require a defendant in a criminal trial to have a reasonable opportunity to present their defence. In Kev’s case this was not possible due to a lack of time to prepare brought upon by failure to disclose vital material by the CPS, and a corrupt solicitor all effecting his defence presentation. Had the Judge considered Kev’s position as he ought to have done, he could only have rightly concluded that reasonable time and opportunity had not been given for the preparation of the case rather than force the trial to proceed. Such potential prejudice was obvious, and, in the interest of justice, the court was bound to consider, of their own motion, Kev’s position, to ensure the trial process remained fair. This was serious procedural error which undermined the trial process, sufficient in itself to render the trial unfair in Article 6 terms.
During the nine months awaiting trial the story was sensationalised by newspapers printing misinformation fed to them by Police in an attempt to influence the outcome. Any member of the jury would have been aware of the case from these stories which would have influenced their decision.
Key evidence such as evidence of visitors to the victims in hospital and recordings of their conversations by the investigating team mysteriously disappeared. Including one from Ian Jennings visiting Christine Jennings before going on the run immediately after, and disposing of his mobile phones.
Two of Kev’s defendants, Jay and Yilay, had both been charged with assisting an offender and accused of helping Kev after the incident which he had no involvement in. Both were kept on remand for 1 year before being found not guilty but this did not stop the CPS using them to make damaging speculative comments in his speech which helped to wrongly convict Kev.
The Judge was aware that this was going on and should not have allowed their charges to stand but the entirety of his action was to write “where is the evidence for this?” in his summing up notes which were never seen by the Jury.
Kevan was attacked by prison officers at HMP Woodhill two weeks before the trial was due to take place.
The trial was sent from the Old Bailey, to Luton Crown Court, before finally being heard at St. Albans Crown Court. The impact of this was that the defence suffered from a lack of space in the small court room, resulting in the solicitors having to sit in the public gallery rather than along side the barristers and only a minimal amount of papers could be brought into court. As the trial received daily local media coverage, this would also have undoubtedly reached all members of the jury and influenced their deliberation which would have been much less likely if not held in a small local court.
The trial was abandoned three times
In June 2008 Kev and his co-defendants were tried at St Albans Crown Court. The trial was restarted three times for the following reasons:
At the first trial it was discovered that a jury member was known to the prosecution Stuart Trimmer QC and they attended the same church. Trimmer ran a Christian children’s summer camp which the juror’s children attend every year and Trimmer had even visited the jurors house for dinner on occasion; although neither the juror or trimmer divulged this to the court or defence.
At the second trial it was discovered that a jury member worked for the police advising on I.D. parade procedures but had failed to disclose this information prior to participation in the trial.
At the third trial it was discovered that a jury member was friends with prosecuting officer, D.C. Hall of Hertfordshire Serious and Organised Crime Agency (SOCA). They played for the same rugby team and had done so for some time. This was stated by the juror prior to being selected but he was somehow still allowed to join the jury.The Judge decided that they did not know each other directly and allowed the trial to continue. D.C. Hall gave some very suspicious evidence which appeared to suggest he had coached a witness into signing an inaccurate statement which was used to convict.
The failure to discharge the Jury was such a grave failure as to render the trial unfair. It is incumbent upon the prosecution and indeed the court to ensure that justice is seen to be done. The notion of a ‘fair trial’ includes concepts such as impartiality and independence (something which is clear from European Court of Human Rights jurisprudence) and the relationship of the juror to such a police officer cannot be seen to be in accordance with these concepts. This is made more secure by the fact that 3 juries were clearly not impartial.
As has been stated in the recent case of R v Pouladia -Kari, The Judge was wrong not to discharge the jury where there was a juror who had specialist knowledge of the matters relevant to the trial, such as the personal relationship between the juror and D.C. Hall. There was a real possibility of at least unconscious jury bias such that a fair trial was not possible.
Whenever the ‘necessity’ arises, the jury or any member of the jury may be discharged and the responsibility is that of the Judge whether one of the parties makes the application or not (see Azam  EWCA Crim.161 at papagraphs 48 to 50).
In the UK lawyers are not permitted to question the jurors prior to trial (in the voir dire process), making it intuitively more likely that biased or inappropriate people will make it onto the jury. Once jurors have served in England, the lawyers are barred from talking to them. Unless a jury member comes forward themselves, even the most bizarre happening from within the jury room will forever be unknown, possibly resulting in an innocent man never being released from prison until death.
Also during this trial several Jury members complained of suspect phone calls they were receiving. Although the Judge ordered an investigation into this nothing was actually done.
No less than 7 dock officers sat behind the defendants during the entire trial, causing an appearance of dangerousness from the wrongly accused.
For the duration of all 3 trials, Kev was fed only rations of salad sandwiches containing nothing more than a single slice of lettuce and cucumber and if he was lucky, tomato. His defence had to complain to the Judge about this on several occasions as Kev was becoming so weak and disoriented that he could not follow proceedings. By the end of the third trial he had lost over 3 stone in weight.
Christine Jennings had asked to give evidence via video link for fear of the Delieu family.Tony Delieu had a history for serious criminal offences including the attempted murder of a man, with a hammer, in a pub in Dagenham. The man had refused to pay money owed to Delieu’s family, major drug importers. Jennings gave evidence from behind a screen which gave the jury the perception that she was afraid of the innocent defendants, which was not the case.
Matthew Evans was a known cannabis dealer with a history of violence.
During the trial evidence showed Ian and Christine Jennings to be lifetime criminals, with Christine Jennings having numerous prior convictions which included possession of a firearm. They both admitted telling lies in their statements to Police and while giving evidence at trial yet no charges were brought against them. At one point Ian Jennings stated that he was making up different answers to the same questions as he kept being asked the same ones and he would continue to make up answers like this.
Claire Evans had a previous conviction for wasting Police time.
It has long been known within the legal profession that 5 points can effectively determine whether a witness is lying or not.
1. The consistency of the witness’s evidence with what is agreed, or clearly shown by other evidence to have occurred.
2. The internal consistency of the witness’s evidence.
3. Consistency with what the witness has said or deposed on other occasions.
4. The credit of the witness in relation to matters not germane to the litigation.
5. The demeanor of the witness.
Ian Jennings’ evidence fails the test of truth on all 5 points, whereas Kev’s evidence has remained consistent throughout his ordeal.
Both Ian and Christine Jennings were seen to be evasive and confused about numerous aspects of their testimony, as well as being blatantly deceitful throughout large parts of their evidence.
The proceedings in this case appear entirely prejudiced against the defendants.
The final trial lasted three and half weeks including 15 days of Jury deliberation.
The 12th Juror, who was discharged after 5 days deliberation, had been the foreman. He asked to be discharged as he claimed his wife had been ill in hospital for months and he needed to be with her. He wrote a letter to the other Jurors to persuade them to convict all defendants and wanted to leave it with them having given it to the Judge first. Legal argument took place regarding the lawfulness of this. During argument, the Judge, who was adamant the Jury should see the letter stated, “I could just return the letter to the Juror and take half an hour to make my decision while the Juror reads it to the Jury.” After the argument the Judge did exactly that. Adjourning the court for 45 minutes before discharging the Juror. Miran was convicted soon after.
Kevan was convicted of joint enterprise by a jury which took over 60 hours of deliberation, spread over 15 days. He was convicted by a 10 to one majority, although the Jury were not aware that they could return a verdict of undecided as the Judge refused to inform them, hence such a long deliberation. At least 3 of the jurors were crying upon hearing the verdict. His case did not have any clear cut evidence. There was no DNA, forensics, ballistics, or cell siting placing Kevan at or anywhere near the scene. False multiple hearsay and two questionable identifications were enough to wrongly convict and sentence to life with a 35 year tariff.
‘Crown Court Bench Book: Directing the Jury’, at 289-92 (March 2010).http:/www.judiciary.gov.uk//nr/rdonlyres/be25ebb6aad2-4acd-8115-28d3bf613164/0/benchbook_criminal_2010.pdf (‘The first requirement of the direction to the jury is that they understand there is no burden on the defendant to prove that he was elsewhere. The prosecution must prove its case and that includes the need to prove that the defendant committed the offence’). Alibi is described as being a “defence”, though it is not really: it is merely putting the government to its full burden of proof. As with so many matters, the instruction that a jury must be given may seem clear to a judicial mind parsing the words, but it is actually fairly opaque to a juror who is listening to some interminable jury instructions. The Judge is advised to tell the jury as follows:
’If you conclude that the defendant’s alibi is true or may be true, then he cannot have participated in the attack on V and you must find him not guilty. If, on the other hand, you are sure, having considered the evidence carefully, that the defendant’s alibi is false, that is a finding of fact which you are entitled to take into account when judging whether he is guilty. But do not jump to the conclusion that because the alibi put forward is false the defendant must be guilty. You should bear in mind that sometimes an alibi is invented because the defendant thinks it is easier than telling the truth. The main question for you to answer is: are we sure that A and B have correctly identified the defendant as the man who wounded V?’
The jury are never told that they must disbelieve the alibi beyond a reasonable doubt and, if they have any reasonable doubt about its truth, they must acquit. When they hear that they can hold it against the accused if they disbelieve the alibi, they are likely to hear this to the exclusion of other instructions.
Joint enterprise is a charge used when prosecuting an individual proves difficult or impossible.
Speaking of Joint Enterprise, the Director of Public Prosecutions Keir Starmer QC stated: “This is a controversial and complicated area of the criminal law”
A description given at the time of the incident was of ‘a black, paki, Asian shorter than 5 foot six with a balding shaved head, clean shaven, wearing a long sleeve white shirt with a collar and unhealthily skinny.’ Kev has olive skin, is almost 6 foot tall and at that time was around 12 stone and wore his hair in a French crop . His clothing on the day as seen on CCTV was a blue hooded top. He always wore a distinctive diamond earring (as can be seen on ear on photo skin) but was told to remove this by police prior to taking part in the viper I.D. parade. Not one witness mentioned seeing anyone with an ear piercing.
While being held at the Police Station Kev was taken for I.D parades even though witnesses had already positively identified two other suspects and he did not fit the description of the suspects the police were looking for.
Ian Jennings, whose questionable evidence provided background and motive for the case picked numbers 5 and 6 from the line-up. He claimed Number 6 was the gunman. Number 5 being a volunteer and number 6, Kev. After the parade there was a conversation between Jennings, his solicitor and an officer. In evidence Jennings could not remember the conversation but thought that both suspects were on the same parade. Ian Jennings claimed that he had never met Kev when in fact there was satellite navigation history and cell cite analysis to show that he had been at Jennings address on 26th August 2007 with Miran, Ian and Christine Jennings. When questioned during the trial Ian Jennings said of the I.D parade “my head was up my arse. I just picked any two numbers.” Jennings viewed a second I.D. parade and identified another as the gunman which meant that Kev could not be responsible. However, due to crown prosecution failures and a corrupt defence solicitor this information was not obtained in time to be used.
Christine Jennings viewed four I.D. parades. On the first, she said she was “positive” of her choice of number 5 which was a volunteer. On the second she was again “positive” and picked another man who had been arrested before Kev and was being questioned over the murders as the second man without a gun. On the third parade she said she couldn’t be sure and on the fourth she picked Kev as being the other man without a gun. During trial when she was told the first positive I.D was a volunteer and the second was not charged with this offence she said she could not be sure that the I.D of Kev was correct.
Claire Evans viewed an I.D parade in which Kev was present and claimed that no-one in the parade was present at the house at the time of the incident. She had given a statement describing the man who first entered her bedroom as “shorter than 5′ 6″, “smaller than Mike.” (Mikey is Miran’s nick name). Kev stands taller than Miran at 5’10”.
The Judge directed the Jury in his summing up that Ian Jennings was telling the truth when he identified Kev. He also allowed vital disclosure to be received after the closing of the defence case meaning it was useless when in fact it proved that Kev had met Ian and Christine Jennings days before the incident so was wrongly identified by them because of this.
Under the Turnbull guidelines, identification evidence may be so poor and unsupported by other evidence that the trial Judge should withdraw the case from the jury. This ‘protects a jury from acting upon the type of evidence which even if believed, experience has shown to be a possible source of injustice.’
It has long been recognised that uncorroborated identification evidence is inherently unreliable. A notorious example was media interviews given by eye witnesses immediately after the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes at Stockwell station in July 2005. Although witnesses gave what they sincerely believed were honest and factually accurate accounts, CCTV footage showed that their recollections were wrong in almost every detail
A series of catastrophic misidentifications required the introduction of sound new practices for evidence based on that most fragile of human attributes, visual memory. Witnesses must not be prompted; a witnesses memory, as far as possible, must be as safely protected from contamination as a crime scene. The first description is vital. If a witness makes a positive identification of one individual, no subsequent identification of a second is permissible. Equivocation and uncertainty are not enough. The wrongful identification of Kev Thakrar by Ian and Christine Jennings which was the pillar of the prosecution case, was spectacular in its non compliance with any safeguard.
Eyewitness misidentification has been accepted worldwide as a leading cause of wrongful convictions. Around 75 per cent of post conviction DNA exonerations in the United States are attributed to eyewitness misidentification.
Recently the courts have become increasingly reluctant to base convictions solely upon eyewitness testimony, especially since studies have exposed the fallibility of such testimony. Had the false multiple hearsay statements not been allowed as evidence, the CPS would have had no case with dodgy, partial ID evidence.
However one examines this identification evidence, the prejudice is overwhelming with no compelling evidence of recognition or identification. In any view this identification evidence is flawed.
Without the I.D. evidence there would have been no case for Kev to answer.
The Judge refused severance for Kev to be given a separate trial from Miran.This allowed multiple hearsay evidence to be used in the trial against Kev as well as Miran. The ‘Hearsay’ evidence introduced by Stuart Trimmer QC, prosecuting, and allowed by Lord Justice Jeremy Cooke was unchallengeable. The evidence allegedly came from three witnesses, all living in Northern Cyprus, who did not come to the United Kingdom to give their accounts in person. Kev had never met nor spoken to any of these witnesses. The fourth witness that the prosecution did not use, gave a truthful statement shortly before the trial contradicting his first which he said had been created by Cypriot Police who forced him to sign it. Unfortunately the other three witnesses could not be located before the rushed trial began. As the statement makers were not present and Miran stated that these were false accounts, it was impossible to defend against them.
Statements had told how Miran Thakrar, brother of Kev had confessed to killing three people. The alleged detailed confessions were made to people who could not speak English – and it was claimed that the story was told in hand signals as Miran can only speak English. These statements were withdrawn by the witnesses and true statements made after the trial. It was said that two of the witnesses claimed family problems would prevent them coming to the UK, while another was said to be busy planning his wedding. The three witnesses have since stated that the reasons given during trial for non-attendance were untrue and their initial so called witness statements were falsified.
These false multiple hearsay statements would have gone through the lengthy and unreliable form of Chinese Whispers before reaching the Jury. Miran Thakrar would somehow have had to explain using English and hand signals to Turkish speaking Cypriots, who would then, allegedly, months later relay this to a Cypriot Policeman, who would then send his written account to a translator who would translate it to English, which was then read by the Prosecutor at the trial as accurate. This absurd process which was allowed to pass in court as evidence, is an extreme form of what is commonly known as ‘back translation’, and widely accepted as being flawed by linguist experts all over the world. Had the same been before the court in 2008, it is understood that the original statements would not have been relied upon, thus making conviction to be ‘unsafe’.
The Hearsay evidence has been so undermined by the new facts within the further statements that no conviction could be based upon that evidence.
Kev could not confront the Cypriot witnesses who were used to incriminate him.
The decision to allow the Hearsay statements to be read caused irredeemable prejudice to the defendants.
Without hearsay Kev would not have been put on trial.
There has been a lot of recent publicity about interpreters in the national, local and mainstream press. The problems which have emerged revolve around the accuracy of interpreting and whether the interpreter is sufficiently qualified to interpret from English to a foreign language and vice versa what may be highly technical words and phrases which lawyers habitually use in court.
Interpreting is not just saying what one person says to another, but may involve using specialist knowledge of the subject matter to explain the words used or the concept behind them.
The concept of metaphrase, of word- for- word translation, is an imperfect concept because a given word in a given language often carries more than one meaning; and because a similar given meaning may often be represented in a given language by more than one word.
The Northern Cyprus authorities, keen to improve relations with European Union countries in the hope of pushing through the reunification of the island, were bending over backwards to help the British police.
A Turkish Cypriot diplomat based in London, Serap Destegur, said: “We don’t want the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus to have an image as a haven for criminals. Although there is no formal extradition treaty we will co-operate with the British authorities and did so in this case.” They also provided British Police, at their request, with forced false statements from the three witnesses in the absence of their legal team, without which no prosecution would have occurred.
The British Police never saw these ‘witnesses’ or interviewed these ‘witnesses’. In fact they never made any attempt to do so. Nor did the ‘witnesses’ appear in court to give evidence.
The Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PACE) exists to ensure the treatment of witnesses and suspects and is crucial to the validity of their evidence. PACE not only was not followed in regards to the Cypriot hearsay evidence, the British Police deliberately failed to even meet with these witnesses, thus allowing the Cypriot Police to use their wholly questionable methods in an attempt to secure false statements and conviction against the innocent.
The only evidence requested by the Jury during deliberation were copies of the hearsay evidence which the judge wanted to give until legal argument forced him not to. However, he did read them out loud again to the Jury. This was after 5 days of deliberation and shows how much weight the jury placed on these false statements.
Miscarriage of Justice
The term miscarriage of justice carries with it the inference of accident but also of death. There is a pressing need to investigate in detail how it has come about that there has been a form of death in this case – the death of justice – and who shall be found responsible.