Speaking before travelling to the Liberal Democrat conference in Glasgow, Sinn Fein MP Conor Murphy said:
“As well as taking this opportunity to update Lib Dem MPs and members on recent developments in the north of Ireland, I will be raising with them the considerable public concern that people who have suffered a miscarriage of justice could soon be blocked from getting compensation if they cannot actually prove that they are innocent.
”I will highlight the need for Liberal Democrat MPs to support changes to a Bill currently going through Westminster inorder to address these public concerns.”
The British government is seeking to change the law significantly and clause 143 of their Bill would put the onus on the individual seeking compensation to prove themselves to be innocent. A miscarriage of justice would be categorized as such ‘if and only if the new or newly discovered fact shows beyond reasonable doubt that the person was innocent of the offence’.
Conor Murphy explained, “The British government say they are clarifying the law, because courts have interpreted the words ’miscarriage of justice’ in different ways. Liberty and other human rights NGOs, including the Committee on the Administration of Justice (CAJ), have raised concerns about this. They are saying that clause 143 will not merely clarify the law but change it significantly, and most worryingly, JUSTICE has stated that the cases of the Birmingham Six, the Guildford Four, the Maguire Seven, the Cardiff Three and Judith Ward would not satisfy the proposed innocence test.”
“This is potentially a very concerning development, and I believe Lib Dem MPs in Westminster must support amendments to avoid this clause passing in the next debate, on October 14th”.