DECEMBER 29th 2011 - STOP PRESS - FRANK TRANSFERRED TO OPEN PRISON AS CATEGORY D PRISONER - see Newsletter Number 10 for details.
We want to get justice for Frank. We started out with three goals, outlined below. The first was achieved in July 2009 when Frank was downgraded to Category B. The second was achieved in December 2011 when Frank was transferred to open conditions. The third, given the current structure of the appeal system and the nature of the case itself, may never be achieved but remains an active goal.
Frank should have his Category A status immediately reviewed and amended on the grounds that:
(Although Frank was downgraded to Category B in July 2009, it was not apparently the result of a genuine re-assessment - either of Frank or of the system - but in response to the falure of the Secretary of State's appeal against Frank's Judicial Review. Rather than be forced to amend the procedures for Category A Reviews, it was found more convenient simply to move Frank out of the Category A estate. Welcome news for Frank - but it does little for other prisoners in a similar position. Frank was further downgraded to Category D in July 2011 after the Secretary of State accepted a Parole Board recommendation - see below.)
- he clearly presents no risk to society
- the methods being used to assess risk (largely through offending behaviour courses) are inflexible and unfair when it comes to prisoners, like Frank, who maintain their innocence
- He should be actively prepared for release, on the grounds that:
(Although the Parole Board Mandatory Lifer Panel review process which began in December 2009 culminated in July 2011 with the Secretary of State agreeing with the Parole Board's recommendation that Frank should be transferred to open conditions, this was not before the Offender Management Unit at Long Lartin tried to prevent such a transfer by lodging a challenge. On December 29th 2011, two years after the review process began, Frank was at last transferred to open conditions as a Category D prisoner and is now actively preparing for release.)
- even were he guilty, he has more than served his time
- a prisoner should not be prevented from making progress because he maintains his innocence
- An appeal against his conviction should be presented to the Court of Appeal forthwith by the Criminal Cases Review Commission on the grounds that:
(In July 2010, the CCRC, having reviewed Frank's second application to have his case referred to the Court of Appeal, announced that they would not be referring his case. This did not really come as much of a surprise, given the very narrow terms of reference that the CCRC work with - for instance, an appeal cannot be based on the fact that there was simply not the evidence for a conviction in the first place.)
- the original investigation and trial should be regarded as unsafe
- when a prisoner goes over tariff maintaining innocence, this should automatically trigger a re-assessment of the original conviction