'Too little, too late': Andrew Malkinson rejects Criminal Cases Review Commission's apology after being wrongly jailed

19 April 2024, 00:35 | Updated: 19 April 2024, 01:56

Andrew Malkinson
Andrew Malkinson. Picture: Alamy

By Emma Soteriou

Andrew Malkinson has rejected an apology from the Criminal Cases Review Commission after he was wrongly jailed for 17 years.

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Mr Malkinson, 57, was jailed in 2003 when he was wrongfully charged with the rape of a woman in Greater Manchester, sentenced to life in jail with a minimum term of seven years.

His conviction was overturned last July by the Court of Appeal after another man was linked to the crime by DNA.

The Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) admitted failing Mr Malkinson and offered an "unreserved apology" on Thursday.

The body's chairwoman, Helen Pitcher, said an independent review of the case carried out by Chris Henley KC made it clear the "commission failed" him, adding: "For this, I am deeply sorry."

But Mr Malkinson branded the apology "too little, too late" as he questioned her sincerity and called on Justice Secretary Alex Chalk to bring in "new leadership" at the CCRC.

Read more: Andrew Malkinson who spent 17 years in jail for rape he didn't commit now 'broke' and living in a tent

Read more: Investigation launched into handling of Andrew Malkinson case after wrongful rape conviction

Andrew Malkinson
Andrew Malkinson. Picture: Alamy

In a statement, Ms Pitcher said: "Mr Henley's report makes sobering reading, and it is clear from his findings that the commission failed Andrew Malkinson. For this, I am deeply sorry.

"I have written to Mr Malkinson to offer him my sincere regret and an unreserved apology on behalf of the commission.

"There may have been a belief that I have been unwilling ever to apologise to Mr Malkinson, and I want to clarify that this is not the case.

"For me, offering a genuine apology required a clear understanding of the circumstances in which the commission failed Mr Malkinson. We now have that.

"Nobody can ever begin to imagine the devastating impact that Mr Malkinson's wrongful conviction has had on his life, and I can only apologise for the additional harm caused to him by our handling of his case."

Tom Swarbrick speaks to Andrew Malkinson after his rape conviction was quashed after 20-year fight

Mr Malkinson, who previously called for Ms Pitcher to be sacked and stripped of her OBE, said he felt "vindicated" by the apology.

But he said the CCRC's failings caused him a "world of pain" and accused her of apologising now because "the CCRC has been found out, and the last escape hatch has now closed on them".

In a statement issued on his behalf by legal charity Appeal, Mr Malkinson said: "The time for Helen Pitcher to apologise was last summer when I was exonerated.

"It was already crystal clear that the CCRC had completely failed me. Yet she's held off on apologising until a report spelled this out for her in black and white. It is hard for me to see sincerity in an apology after all this time.

"The CCRC's delay in apologising to me added significantly to the mental turmoil I am experiencing as I continue to fight for accountability for what was done to me."

He claimed Ms Pitcher disputed criticisms of the CCRC's handling of his case when they were put to her by his lawyer in September last year and refused a direct request for an apology at the time.

"That smacks to me of someone who is in denial and not fit to lead a body which is meant to be dedicated to rooting out failings in our justice system", he said, adding: "I hope the Justice Secretary Alex Chalk will bring in new leadership at the CCRC.

"I am innocent and I am not the only one. Others must not be let down as I was. The CCRC should be led by people with empathy, humility and a track record of fighting injustice."

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