A senior Conservative Member of Parliament (MP) has voiced his concerns about the current rules governing compensation for those who have been wrongfully convicted.
This call for change comes after Andrew Malkinson, a man who spent 17 years in prison for a crime he did not commit, expressed his fears about facing expenses for his “board and lodging” during his wrongful incarceration.
Despite his conviction being overturned by DNA evidence, Mr. Malkinson is worried that existing regulations could lead to deductions from any compensation he might receive.
The 2007 House of Lords Ruling:
The existing rules that could potentially penalize Andrew Malkinson have their origins in a 2007 ruling by the House of Lords when it served as the highest court in the country.
At that time, a tightening of the regulations surrounding criminal compensation or compensation for miscarriages of justice was introduced by the Labour government in 2006.
The rationale behind this change was to avoid the public being displeased with taxpayers’ money going to individuals cleared of charges on technicalities.
However, Mr. Malkinson’s case is far from a mere technicality, as the new DNA evidence overwhelmingly proves his innocence.
The Outrage of Current Practice:
Chairman of the Commons Justice Committee, Sir Bob Neill, has expressed his strong disapproval of the current system.
He believes that any fair-minded person would find it unjust to make those who were wrongfully deprived of their liberty pay for their wrongful incarceration.
Sir Bob Neill emphasizes that Andrew Malkinson’s case is a clear example of a miscarriage of justice and not a technicality.
Calling the situation an “insult to injury” hardly does justice to the severity of the issue.
He insists that it is crucial to protect individuals who suffered due to state and institutional failures from any further financial burden.
Appealing for Reform:
Sir Bob Neill urges the government to revise the rules and protect those who have been wrongfully convicted from having to bear these costs.The current sums involved are relatively minor compared to the overall budget, making the need for change even more evident.
He stresses that the state should not expect individuals who were wrongly incarcerated to give back money or compensate the government for their unwarranted imprisonment.
Such a practice fundamentally goes against any sense of justice and fairness.
The case of Andrew Malkinson highlights the urgent need to address the rules governing compensation for those wrongfully convicted.
Senior Tory MP Sir Bob Neill’s call for reform aims to protect innocent individuals from further injustice by ensuring they are not burdened with expenses related to their wrongful incarceration.
As the issue gains attention, it becomes essential for the government to revisit and amend these regulations promptly to uphold the principles of justice and fairness in the legal system.
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