Guildford Four and Maguire Seven – Coercion By The Police
Later he alleged to be the result of coercion by the police, ranging from intimidation to torture—including threats against family members.
#Police may engage in deceptive and coercive interrogations to obtain confessions. When a confession is later retracted, judges and juries must assess the totality of the circumstances surrounding the confession, including the interrogation techniques used and the effects of these tactics on the particular defendant. A suspect who is vulnerable and confused or who is given false evidence by a coercive interrogator may produce a false confession.
Expert testimony may be necessary to help jurors understand the circumstances that lead to nonvoluntary confessions.
© 1998 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
#Police interviews, which had been heavily edited. Deletions and additions had been made, and the notes had been rearranged.
The Children In The Guildford Four & Maguire Seven – #wrongfulconvictions
1. Patrick Maguire 14 yrs of age
2. Vincent Maguire 17 yrs
3. Carole Richardson 17 yrs
Convictions incorrect & unsatisfactory. Reversed 1989 & 1991 respectively after they had served up to 15–16 years in prison.
GUILDFORD FOUR PARDON: From a middle-aged mother to a 14-year old-boy, they were all victims of the IRA, police and courts
David McKittrick @IndyVoices Thursday 10 February 2005
THE SAGA of the Guildford Four and Maguire Seven had its origins in a fierce IRA campaign which claimed more than 50 lives in Britain in 1974 and 1975, two of the worst years of the Irish Troubles.
These two cases arose from two attacks in late 1974, in which seven people died. In the first, in October, a bomb left under a bench in a Guildford pub killed a civilian and four soldiers, two of them women.
A month later a soldier and a barman died in a bar in Woolwich when a bomb, made of 6lb of gelignite packed with bolts, was thrown through a window.
The authorities responded by heightening security, bringing in tough new laws, and prosecuting several dozen people. While some of those imprisoned were members of the IRA, others are now seen as victims of miscarriages of justice. The general verdict on the official response to the mid- 1970s IRA threat was that the correct balance between security and civil liberties was not struck and that injustices resulted.
These consigned uninvolved people to prison for lengthy periods, and eventually dealt a traumatic blow to the credibility of the criminal justice system.
In Ireland there was much debate on whether those in authority knew the wrong people were being convicted, cynically going along with it in order to protect the system and deny the IRA a propaganda victory. The most serious allegations were encapsulated by a campaigning Irish nun, Sister Sara Clarke. She wrote that those convicted were “victims of anti-Irish racism, public and press hysteria, police brutality, frame-ups and biased courts.”
An alternative explanation is that police in Britain, unlike those in Northern Ireland, were unused to coping with the IRA. It has also been argued that juries in Britain proved much more ready to convict in terrorist trials.
Of the 127 people killed in Britain over the course of the Troubles, 56 – almost half – died in 1974 and 1975 as the IRA went on a sustained offensive in London and the Midlands.
Pub bombings in Birmingham claimed 21 lives in December 1975, while the IRA’s notorious “Balcombe Street gang” killed at least 16 people and carried out up to 50 bombings and shootings in the London area.
The net effect was a build-up of public and political pressure to catch the bombers. For the authorities the breakthrough came in December 1975 when four gang members were cornered after shooting at a Mayfair restaurant.
In 1977 they were sentenced to 47 terms of life imprisonment, but caused a stir when one of them said from the dock that they had also carried out the Guildford bombing. They had not been charged with this, and others had already been jailed for it.
Some accuse the authorities of concealing the fact, which emerged later, that forensic evidence in the Guildford bombing was similar to that in other attacks known to have been carried out by the Balcombe Street gang.
The Guildford and Maguire cases gave rise to unease in some circles as early as the 1970s, not least because those convicted made such unlikely terrorists. For example, three weeks after the Guildford bombing one of the four, Carole Richardson, was assaulted in the street in Folkestone.
Her reaction – incredibly for an alleged member of the IRA – was to call the police and drive round the streets in a squad car, looking for the man who had attacked her.
One of the Maguire Seven belonged to a Conservative club and had a bust of Winston Churchill in his house. Another was applying to join the Metropolitan Police when he was arrested.
I believe that keeping silent when an injustice is taking place is condoning it.