Thursday, August 05, 2010

Could Bamber be innocent after all?

As something of a student of these things, I have to say that, irresepective of my now oft-repeated support for the presumption of innocence, I had always thought that the jury in the Jeremy Bamber trial got the verdict right, even if it was by the tightest possible margin of 10 - 2.

However, this article in today's Daily Telegraph gives me cause to reconsider that position.

If, as it would appear, Bamber's father telephoned the police on the night of the murders, suggesting that his daughter had gone 'berserk' and stolen one of his guns, it throws a second call, made to the police ten minutes later by Jeremy Bamber himself, into even sharper focus than before.

Because in that call, Jeremy Bamber told police that he had just spoken to his father, and went on to recount an almost identical account to that allegedly contained in the newly-uncovered call made by his father.

As the article goes on to say, the legitimacy or otherwise of that call was to play a vital role in the jury's deliberations, as the judge himself described the matter as pivotal to the case.

Unfortunately, the jury were not made aware of either the existence, or the content of the earlier alleged call from Bamber's father, a call which on any reading of the facts of this troubling case, would have strengthened his son's defence immeasurably if its contents are as they have been reported.

All that said, there is still an amount of evidence which points to Jeremy Bamber's guilt: his mention of the potential inheritance of £426,000 were all his relatives to perish, the existence of certain forensic evidence linking him to the murder weapon and the alleged discussion with a former girlfriend of the possibilty of hiring a hit-man to kill them, to name but three of the most compelling.

But that is to avoid a fundamental issue.

The jury responsible for convicting him - by the thinnest of margins, remember - were never told of the existence of the newly reported phone call from Bamber's father; a call which if it, at the risk of sounding repetetive, actually happened and was as has been reported, undoubtedly lends credibility to Bamber's account that his father had in fact phoned him; an issue described, remember, as one about which the entire case turned.

I see that the case is back with the Criminal Cases Review Commission.


If this evidence actually exists, it has the capacity to cast doubt on the safety of Bamber's conviction and the matter ought to be brought back before the Court of Appeal as quickly as it can be.

Bamber might just be innocent, and if this new evidence is credible, a new jury in possession of all the facts, must be allowed to consider that possibility.


Anonymous said...

I think we also need an investigation into why Bamber Senior's call to the police about his daughter, was not entered into evidence at the original trial.
Someone surely has some explaining to do.


This Royal Throne of Kings said...

You've read between my lines, Monty.

I know the legal requirement for the disclosure of unused material which could undermine the prosecution case, or assist that put forward by the defence was not in being in 1986; but the fact remains that where such potentially exculpatory material existed, even then, it should have been revealed to the defence.

I would consider a deliberate failure to do so a crime ofthe utmost seriousness, particularly if a man spent twenty-four years in jail on the strength of it.

I'm sure we will await the, hopefully speedy, developments in this case with interest.