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Unused evidence raises doubt over Morecambe man's conviction
Stephen Kay Morecambe, conviction unsafe
last updated 05/05/16
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 Nathan Wilkinson 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 domestic abuse began rambling on about a man that was questioned along with a number of other people about an incident on crime watch in 1999, he claims he knew who was responsible. 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 Mr 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 and asked him to make a fresh statement and to become a prosecution witness. A second witness would also be needed, Robert Mayor, a neighbour of Mr Kay's, 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 Mr Mayor who has previously had a sexual relationship with a 15 year old schoolgirl and was now the partner of a serving police officer was proved to be an unreliable witness, despite this, Mayor was allowed to give evidence at a retrial giving him the opportunity to fine tune his 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 said: “We are really happy with the sentence given today and hope it shows that, despite the incident taking place 14 years ago 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 defence.
Speaking about the conviction Mr Kay says "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, this conviction is about justifying that, to do so they lied about danger to the public. Sergeant Clive O'Beirne and other police officers behaved like gamblers chasing their losses after 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. 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”.
The problem I have now is that the way the law is, it doesn't allow appeals on unused evidence regardless of the importance of that evidence. If your solicitors missed it there's nothing you can do about it. LHD solicitors should be embarrassed with the way they handled this case. The volume of important evidence they missed was unbelievable, not a single defense witness was called. If they couldn't do the job they should have said so at the beginning. It's certainly been an eye opener to how one sided the system really is. People really do not have a chance into days court system unless they have Cliff Richard`s money. My advice to anyone in this situation is to insist on having a copy of all the unused evidence and if your legal aid solicitor tells you they have looked at the unused evidence and there is nothing in there of any relevance then they are lying. Legal aid solicitors do not look at unused evidence. when solicitors let you down
It says something when Joanna White, Senior Crown Prosecutor, says “ 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 me and has never even spoke to me, A clinical psychologist producing a report based solely on what a policeman has told them. The compelling evidence she talks about is the statements given by Robert Mayor who invited me out for a drink with himself and his girlfriend just three days prior to him making his statement, proven to be an unreliable witness in court, and the partner of a police officer, looking back this was clearly entrapment. and then Nathan Wilkinson who made a number of drunken phone calls to the police telling them that he is a “substance user” and a heavy drinker, It is clear that when psychology is used in crime, it means there is no evidence so psychology is a way of manufacturing some. People that have never had any involvement with the system would never be leave what goes on.
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