There are approximately over 4,000 individuals incarcerated in the United Kingdom who have been convicted of murder by ‘joint enterprise’; an outdated law which allows someone to be convicted even when they did not cause the final ‘blow’ that led to the death of another person. We don’t know the exact figure as the Ministry of Justice and the Crown Prosecution Service do not keep any statistics regarding ‘joint enterprise’ convictions, meaning that the actual figure is likely much higher.
I attended a talk at Edge Hill University today where I heard Jan Cunliffe talk of the horrors that she and her family experienced when her son (Jordan Cunliffe) was sentenced to life in prison for the murder of Garry Newlove in 2007. At this time, Jordan was only fifteen-years-old and registered blind (with the need for transplant surgery in both eyes) when the judge handed out a life sentence with a minimum of twelve years, Jan described this as a grave injustice within the courts.
Jan proceeded to discuss Jordan’s case in detail and honestly answered several questions from students who could not quite grasp how wrong the criminal justice system got it. One student asked how Jordan feels about his sentence of which he has now served over ten years. She responded that Jordan is still confused and despite everything she is still the proudest mum in the world and that nothing could ever break their friendship.
To this day, Jan is adamant that her son is innocent, he was wrongly accused and sentenced under a law that allows someone in the wrong place at the wrong time to have their liberties completely revoked and their life ruined.
Jan is part of the JENGbA (Joint Enterprise: Not Guilty by Association) Campaign, which comprises of volunteers and relatives who aim to inform the public of the dangers of ‘joint enterprise’ and offer a valuable insight into how this outdated and prehistoric law is being used to generalise and take away innocent individual’s lives. JENGbA also offers support for victims of joint enterprise and urge anyone to get in touch via their website or social media’s to receive a support pack which outlines their campaign.
I want to thank Jan Cunliffe for attending Edge Hill and inspiring many students in the faculty, including myself, to support those who need support.
Original article by Kyle Clark