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Justice system

A case so egregious it “shakes all faith in the system”

Malkinson after his rape conviction was quashed

Locking up innocent people was an “inevitable part” of Keir Starmer’s old job as Director of Public Prosecutions, says Fraser Nelson in The Daily Telegraph. If you’re putting thousands behind bars, “statistically, some convictions will have been wrongful”. So you might have thought that if new DNA technology could help rectify miscarriages of justice, prosecutors would use it. On the contrary. Our justice system appears happy to bury new evidence and “institutionally opposed to reopening cases”. Take Andrew Malkinson, whose rape conviction was recently quashed after another man’s saliva was found on the victim’s vest. It now transpires that the CPS, then run by Starmer, first received this evidence back in December 2009 – but chose not to investigate any further.

For 13 years, the British state had evidence that could have freed an innocent man. Notes from the time are a “case study in denial”: the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) decided there was “no certainty that the vest-top DNA sample is crime-specific”, even though it had been found next to where the victim suffered a bite wound. There are several reasons why CPS officials may have been reluctant to reopen the file – pressure to close the “justice gap” between rape reports and convictions, for example. But this is a case “so egregious that it shakes all faith in the system around us”. At the very least, the Prime Minister should announce a “full KC-led investigation”. And if Starmer really is in politics to “expose injustice”, as he claims, then he should be “leading the charge”.