Some of you may have read my blog post linking my connection to the ANC in South Africa to the struggle of Alan Bates at the JFSA (https://problemswithpol.wordpress.com/2015/10/27/jfsa-and-the-anc/ ). What Smuts Ngonyama said to me that day back in 1990 has shaped the way I think ever since and during my recent vacation I have had time to consider his comments in relation to the treatment handed down by POL to Seema Misra who was convicted of theft from her Post Office in West Byfleet in October 2010 details of which are revealed in past blog posts and on Nick Wallis’s blog at http://becarefulwhatyouwishfornickwallis.blogspot.co.uk/2011/02/whats-up-at-post-office.html .
I don’t know Seema. I have spoken to her once on the phone to request authorisation to obtain transaction logs relating to her trial. I don’t know how she feels about her present situation; I can only imagine what it must be like to be in her position. She lives with the day to day consequences of a past criminal conviction hanging over her and a jail sentence to boot. She knows what the inside of a prison cell looks and feels like and what it takes to be pregnant at the same time.
I don’t know if she has a job now or the difficulty she must have had in obtaining one with her criminal record. There are many countries in the world that she can’t travel to because of her conviction and no doubt her credit rating is affected by her past record. She must dwell everyday on her unfortunate circumstances in the full knowledge that she did not steal a penny from Post Office Ltd. She lives in hope no doubt that one day, whenever that may be, her conviction will be overturned. Yet even when that, now inevitably in my opinion, happens, no amount of compensation or apologies will alleviate the pain and suffering that has been caused to her by the actions of Post Office Ltd. Her life will remain ruined and doubt and shame will follow her for the rest of it.
This brings me back to what Smuts said to me. If I was in Seema’s position I would want to wake up every day thinking that today was the day I was vindicated and cleared of my conviction. Yet she can’t. Post Office Ltd have sent back her conviction to the Criminal Case Review Commission to be examined and considered for a possible return to the appeal court. The CCRC has been sitting on these cases for a year now and have not yet made any decision on them as far as I know. Even when they do eventually make a decision there is a further process to be gone through in order for the cases to be heard in the appeal court. Seema lives in the knowledge that tomorrow will not bring vindication and that is not only very sad but a further reflection on the appalling behaviour of Post Office management who have been made fully aware that Seema’s conviction is not only completely unsound but that a criminal investigation has been opened up into the behaviour of their Prosecution team during Seema’s trial.
That criminal investigation will take time to complete. I have no doubt that it will lead to at least one conviction with a mandatory prison sentence for the person involved. If I am correct in that assumption then it would be utterly unbelievable should the CCRC decide not to send back Seema’s case to the appeal court in the meantime.
This will all take time. Unnecessarily so as Paula Vennells and/or Tim Parker can end Seema’s miserable wait tomorrow. It is a simple process. Paula can call/email/write to the CCRC informing them that they believe Seems was wrongfully convicted and that they will offer no evidence should the CCRC return the case to the appeal court. If they offer no evidence then the appeal court automatically rules in Seema’s favour. That is such an important point in my opinion. As it stands the CCRC must ensure that should they return the case to the appeal court that Seema should have a realistic chance to succeed. In doing so then they must weigh up the evidence provided by POL against Seema against the evidence supplied to them by me (for the most part I assume unless somebody else is fighting Seema’s case that I don’t know about)
Are POL really going to defend their actions or inactions as the case may be in the Appeal Court? That would frankly be ridiculous given the material evidence I have been supplied with by no less than Post Office Ltd themselves as well as the remarkable transcript of the original trial which has revealed so much about the shady operations of the Post Office prosecution team. I would go so far as to suggest that if they even attempt to defend their past actions in the appeal court they will ultimately be guilty of conspiring to pervert the course of justice – a charge that may follow in any event from the current police investigation.
If you are reading this Paula then contemplate your refusal to consider the plight of Seema and others in her position and how this reflects on your Christian beliefs. Seema stole no money from POL. She may well have lost a lot of money through carelessness but that is a DEBT not a THEFT. Your team prosecuted her for theft merely to be able to use the Proceeds of Crime act to recover the losses. The transcript of the trial shows no evidence being offered that Seema actually stole cash from you. Your prosecution team deliberately hid evidence from ‘ongoing legal cases’ at the very time Seema was standing trial.
Paula – you are unnecessarily prolonging the suffering of Seema Misra in the light of overwhelming evidence that she has been wrongfully convicted and an ongoing criminal investigation into your prosecution team. Today is the day. Pick up the phone and call the CCRC and while you are at it why not have the dignity to phone Seema and apologise. Now! This minute! Why are you waiting?