Oliver Campbell: Calls to review 30-year-old murder conviction – BBC Newsnight

this interview is being tape recorded we're in an interview room one at hackney police station it's the first of december 1990 time by my watch now this is the actual police recording of oliver campbell's confession 19 minutes that changed everything long before the actual shooting had you hired the gun a couple of weeks a couple of weeks whole couple of months oliver campbell is a 19 year old with a learning disability he's accused of shooting a london shopkeeper dead in a robbery gone wrong he seems confused can you describe the gun to me his lawyers say this confession was crucial at his trial convicted of murder he spent 11 years in prison for a crime he says he didn't commit i was put under pressure to say things i didn't want to say it was unfair totally unpleasant abuse of the police i can't prove this but it's a strong suspicion that the police deliberately arranged matters so that they could conduct an interview in the absence of a solicitor it was then they grabbed the shopkeeper and shot him in the head he died on his way to hospital one of the gunmen dropped a distinction on the 22nd of july 1990 two men entered a shop in east london intent on robbery the owner baldev hundle pressed a panic alarm one of the men pulled a gun and shot him at close range in the head local man oliver campbell was a suspect his distinctive cap was found near the crime scene the man who shot the unfortunate mr hundle dead was wearing a hat which oliver had bought only a week before the police when they realized that jumped to the conclusion that he must have been the shooter it's a simple conclusion oliver campbell later said the cap had been stolen and hairs recovered inside were shown not to be his i know i didn't commit the crime and all that they're trying to put other charges against me and i said no if i was guilty i'm not guilty of nothing i didn't time the prosecution relied on three main strands of evidence apart from the confession an eyewitness picked him out at an id parade at the second attempt he was friends with the man accused of the robbery and his hat was found near the crime scene campbell was convicted of the murder in 1991 losing an appeal three years later in 2002 he completed his sentence he's always maintained his innocence 18 years ago the bbc's roth justice program raised serious questions about the conviction they demonstrated there was no forensic evidence linking oliver campbell to the crime scene they discovered one of the robbers had told the police campbell was not involved oliver wasn't here a fact never revealed the jury it had been ruled inadmissible and they focused on campbell's confession obtained without a solicitor present his lawyers applied to the criminal cases review commission to try to get the case referred back to the court of appeal the ccrc refused arguing all the issues had been examined by a jury and the court of appeal i think they saw a lot of the individual trees they saw the oak and the elm and the ash and the pine but they failed to see the wood they failed to see that all of that added up to a powerful case that there had been a miscarriage of justice why did you say those things some of the police interview tactics were later described by an independent psychologist as highly manipulative and relentless this line of questioning lasted almost three minutes there are fingerprints on the can in the shop there are hairs in the hat that was found nearby people did see you there we traced the senior officer who led the interviews at hackney police station he told us the interviews with oliver campbell were tape recorded and conducted in accordance with the codes of practice issued under the police and criminal evidence act which applied at that time today his interviews would never be heard by a jury because of the unfairness of the police questioning and because i don't think that the prosecution could prove that he understood the implications of being interviewed without a solicitor it's the current law unfair treatment that counts for any appeal but even in 1990 vulnerable suspects had to be interviewed with what's known as an appropriate adult to protect their interests there was no appropriate adult at his first interview at plasto police station in which he said he was at the shop on the night of the robbery and he waved his right to a solicitor but in the interviews that followed a hackney police station conducted by two other detectives an appropriate adult and a solicitor were there the key confession came on the evening of the 1st of december 1990 that changed everything an appropriate adult from social services had been attending police interviews earlier that day alongside an experienced and tough defence solicitor called arthur mullinger this is the first time he's spoken about what happened that night the police did not have anything like sufficient evidence probably even to think they'd get a prosecution off the ground another conviction without something more um and the more was going to be a confession oliver campbell sustained a brain injury as a baby mr mullinger says it was clear that his client would struggle to cope with complex questions he was inconsistent with what he told me and i was his lawyer such that i i felt i didn't think i could rely upon what he was telling me let him just discuss it with the police in that way arthur mullinger left hackney police station at about 6 30 pm he says the police told him they had no plan for further interviews that night and had agreed to call him back if that changed the police say campbell suddenly decided to continue because he wanted to tell the truth the officer should have terrified me and said i think oliver wants to speak to me uh will you come over to be part of the interview and i would have said yes of course i'd have asked him he's got an appropriate adult from social services there or if not what we can do about that and we would have had the interview i don't know how the interview would have panned out but it would have been undoubtedly a fair interview oliver campbell told the police he was happy to go ahead without a solicitor back in 1990 at hackney police station oliver campbell's solicitor and the appropriate adult from social services had left for the evening the police decided to get his foster mother in my understanding of why i was there was just to be a support for him and you know just to support him in any way that i could she agreed to become the appropriate adult and they rolled the tape again time by my watch now is 8 38 p.m this is interview 11 his confession to the police oh i've not pulled by accident sorry could you say that again i said i pulled it um right i was the one like pulling that guy on there shot him i was i was put under pressure to say things i didn't want to say it and and then i said that's how i felt i felt um like in his sardine can it's like you you've got sardine can you try and get out of them thinking i don't why am i being put under pressure to mix the same what i don't do and i felt scared at the time when his foster mother heard him confess to murder she was physically sick are you happy to carry on you don't think you can carry on we'll stop the interview the confession statement was already on tape it felt as as though i was in a trance shock i'd never been in any situation that made me feel so utterly devastated oliver campbell's foster mother was a magistrate but this was a very personal story and she says she didn't understand the significance of being his appropriate adult and it was not adequately explained she said at the time she felt manipulated by the police i have a very strong suspicion that they deliberately arranged the interview in the absence of a sort of stuff because during the interview oliver's solicitor mr mallinger who was very able and very experienced was protesting about the unfairness of some of the questioning and i think they realized this is i can't prove this but it's a strong suspicion i think they realized that they were never going to get an admission from him if a solicitor was present they will deny that and i suppose it's impossible to prove they were denied and it's fair to say that the judge who heard a he who conducted a hearing the trial judge conducted the hearing about whether to admit that statement declared it admissible and said that there'd be no impropriety by the police but i don't believe that defense counsel brought up any of the to my mind very obvious points that could be made about the unfairness of the police conduct do you think you were misled i was missing oh yeah of course and of course i was misled even if we take the what the officer said that he never probably ring me i'm mistaken well but the question arises why didn't he ring me why didn't he ring her due to his sister the senior police officer who conducted the key confession interview told us he suspects mr campbell is in denial of murder adding when he was interviewed by me he had the assistance of a siddista or an appropriate adult to look after him it is correct he did not have a solicitor present when he confessed however his appropriate adult was present throughout and he had waived his right to have his solicitor his interview tape recordings were played at his trial and the jury had ample opportunity to consider whether or not his confession was genuine and this was not the only evidence which incriminated him the ccrc is reviewing the case for the second time now oliver campbell's lawyers say there are many points of unfairness but perhaps the most powerful argument concerns his confession oliver is mentally very challenged and during those interviews the police behaved i think very unfairly the law and practice in regard to the way that mentally challenged suspects and defendants are treated has changed very considerably in their favor oliver campbell who's out on licence living in sheltered accommodation has plans if his conviction is quashed once my name is cleared i'm not trying to say so do you like i'm gone and that's getting out of the country because what's happened to me it's bugging up my life a former commissioner who spent five years at the ccrc told us his case should be referred back to the appeal court when you break it down and this i think is my fundamental uh concern about the case each of the elements that led to the conviction have a weakness about them so if this case had come across your desk when you were in the criminal cases review commission do you think you would have been minded to refer this i would have been arguing strongly for referral i think that modern standards of fairness need to be considered in the context of the confession evidence in particular so the ccrc will shortly decide whether to refer this case back to the court of appeal and how modern standards of confession evidence apply to what many believe is a troubling case from the past richard watson with our exclusive report while newsnite contacted the family of the murder victim baldev hundle but they didn't wish to take part in this film or to comment we also asked the metropolitan police about this case a spokeswoman said the case was fully investigated at the time with a range of evidence brought before a jury who convicted the defendant in 1991 we are aware this matters with the criminal cases review commission and therefore it would not be appropriate to comment further at this stage

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