Unsafe Convictions, Innocence and Compensation

As a society we often send people to prison for crimes that they haven't committed, not nearly as many who get away scot-free but a significant number certainly. I don't think that anybody could argue that those unfortunates should be compensated for their loss of freedom which makes the story of Sion Jenkins troubling.

Convicted of the murder of his step-daughter, on the flimsiest of evidence, after a media circus probably robbed him of any hope of a fair trial Jenkins spent six years in various prisons before having his conviction over-turned and being released. He will receive no compensation for those six lost years though, as to do so would require him to prove his innocence, something virtually impossible under English law. That's not right. An unsafe or quashed conviction means there was no legal basis for the original loss of liberty, the prisoner is presumed innocent until proven guilty in law and surely as a result has nothing to prove to gain that compensation.

More details can be found in this Guardian article http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2010/aug/19/sion-jenkins-billiejo-murder-acquitted-compensation


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