Unused evidence raises doubt over Morecambe man's conviction
Stephen Kay Morecambe, conviction unsafe
A Morecambe man who was given a 7 year jail sentence after he was convicted of placing an explosive device on a doorstep is causing concern after unused evidence was examined.
In 2012 Stephen Kay of Morecambe was convicted at retrial by a majority verdict of placing an explosive device on a work colleagues doorstep 18 years earlier.
He was also found guilty of possession of a firearm, this been an air rifle that Mr Kay had kept in his wardrobe for ten years, an independent test later carried out failed to prove that the air rifle was over the 12 ftp legal limit.
The charges relate to an incident dating back to March 1999 when a firework type device was left outside the home of one of Mr Kay’s work colleagues at Crofters Fold in Heysham. It is believed that Mr Kay had been a victim of a prolonged campaign of workplace bullying. Mr Kay along with two other colleagues made complaints about workplace bullying and Royal Mail claimed to have investigated the allegations. The cross examination of the witnesses at the first trial found that thier never was an investigation. The trial transcripts were never made available until after the second trial was over. An Examination of both trial transcripts proves that the witnesses changed their version of events to suit.
Mr Winters and his wife discovered the device but luckily were not injured as it was not set to explode.
Stephen Kay was originally arrested in what turned out to be a botched high-profile raid on Lune Street back in September 2010 after a number of drunken phone calls made to police by an ex-friend of Kays, Nathan Wilkinson, Wilkinson phoned police saying he wishes to provide intelligence on people he had fallen out with that are dealing drugs in the area, Wilkinson him self a heavy drink and drug user with a history of drink driving and abuse towards ex-partners was rambling on in a drunken state about a man that was questioned along with a number of other people about an incident on crime watch in 1999, he claims he "knows things", and he also knew who was responsible for that incident. Both Wilkinson and Kay were arrested but Wilkinson later admitted he made the calls to get at Mr Kay for sleeping with his ex-girlfriend. The original arrest led to the evacuation of around 80 people and major disruption to the Lune Street area of Lancaster as suspicious devices were thought to be found. The devices turned out to be harmless film and military memorabilia that Mr Kay kept in a hallway display cabinet. Both Mr Kay and Wilkinson was then released without charge. Sergeant Clive O'Beirne, desperate to get him self selected to work on the then upcoming Hillsborough inquiry and end his career working on a high profile case, adopted a “Dirty Harry” style of policing. A conviction was needed at any cost.
Mr Kay contacted a journalist asking for the facts to be made correct after it was wrongly published that the police had found an “arsenal of weapons”
Mr Kay was arrested again in August 2012 and charged after the police approached Wilkinson asking him to make a fresh statement and to become a prosecution witness. A second witness would also be needed, another man, Robert Mayor, a neighbour of Mr Kay's, and the boyfriend of a serving police officer manufactured a statement claiming Mr Kay admitted the offence to him. At the first trial Mr Kay was found not guilty of sending an explosive device, the trial then collapsed when Robert Mayor, now of Heysham, who had previously had a sexual relationship with a 15 year old schoolgirl was proved to be an unreliable witness, despite this, he was still allowed to give evidence at a retrial giving him and other witnesses the opportunity to fine tune there cross-examination. A second trial was then called. Mr Kay was found guilty with circumstantial evidence alone by a majority verdict at retrial after LHD solicitors of Lancaster failed to obtain court transcripts from the first trial allowing witnesses to change their version of events. Despite this failure in the court process Mr Kay was found guilty and sentenced at Liverpool Crown Court.
Speaking after the sentencing Sergeant Clive O'Beirne displayed a classic sign of "Hero syndrome" by saying We are really happy with the sentence given today and hope it shows that, despite the incident taking place in 1999 The people of Heysham can now sleep in piece and Lancashire Constabulary will never forget about a case and all major crime will continue to be reviewed and re-investigated until we find out the "truth".
I would like to apologise and thank everybody for their patience and co-operation during this investigation, particularly during the disruption caused by the first raid on Lune street.
A number of witness statements that were never shown to the jury have now come to light and this has cast serious doubt on the conviction, these statements were never used in court and were not made available to the defendant, the statements show other motives previously denied in court. it allows the incident to be timelined and shows how little work went into the preparation of the defense.
This case has never been about public safety, innocence or guilt or who has done what, the raid in 2010 disrupted a lot of people and cost a lot of money and that needed to be justified, to do so the police lied about the danger to the public. In desperation, Sergeant Clive O'Beirne and other police officers involved in this case behaved like gamblers chasing their losses following the raid and were willing to do anything to get a conviction. There is always a danger of allowing convictions on circumstantial evidence alone. The evidence is often cherry-picked and so much evidence is never shown to the jury. It is important that when giving a statement to the police that people check that what is in the statement is what they have actually said before they sign it.
A big problem with UK law is, it does not allow appeals on unused evidence regardless of the importance of that evidence. If a defendant's solicitor was grossly incompetent and missed vital evidence, there is nothing that can be done about it. As seen with this case, LHD solicitors missed a large volume of important evidence and failed to call a single defense witness, clearly, they were out of their depth. In circumstances like this, a trial can be very one-sided and a defendant has no realistic hope of a fair trial. It is important that any person who finds them self's in this situation should insist on having a copy of all the unused evidence, if a defendants legal aid solicitor claims to have looked at the unused evidence and says there is nothing in there of any relevance, this is probably not the case. Legal aid solicitors do not look at the unused evidence. when solicitors let you down
In this case, Joanna White, Senior Crown Prosecutor, admits "there was no direct evidence of Kay committing the offences" so she commissioned a report from a clinical psychologist. This is a clinical psychologist paid by the police/CPS that has never met the defendant and has never even spoke to the defendant, A clinical psychologist producing a report based solely on what the police have told them. The compelling evidence she talks about is the statements given by the police officers boyfriend who invited the defendant out for drinks with himself and his girlfriend just three days prior to him making his statement. This witness was proven to be unreliable in court, clearly entrapment. Then the man that made a number of drunken phone calls to the police admitting he is a “substance user” and a heavy drinker, In this case psychology was used to manufacture evidence, And raises the question of abuse of the mental health laws, as the report would unlikely not have been produced of factual evidence.