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Posted by justiceforwulliebeck on August 24, 2011 at 12:10 PM

30 years on convicted thief is desperate to clear name

Published Date: 19 August 2011

By Christine Lavelle

A MAN jailed for the armed robbery of a postal van is still fighting to clear his name almost 30 years after he was convicted. William Beck, 50, from Glasgow, spent four years in prison after a jury found him guilty of the robbery involving a hammer in Livingston in December 1981, when around £21,000 in cash was stolen from two postal workers. But the father-of-two has always maintained that he was 40 miles away in Glasgow when the incident took place. He claims his conviction in March 1982, when he was 21, was based almost entirely on "unreliable" eyewitness identification, and says he is the victim of a miscarriage of justice. Mr Beck claims only two of the five witnesses identified him in an identity parade. The other three are said to have picked out a volunteer. Leave to appeal the conviction was refused in 1982 after his defence lawyer is alleged to have said he had no grounds for appeal. Mr Beck claims his defence team called none of his witnesses during the trial at the High Court in Edinburgh, giving him "no chance". He said: "I had a number of people who had seen me in Glasgow that day. My wife, who was my girlfriend at the time, was called and she gave evidence that I had been with her all day." Mr Beck, who lives with his wife Louise in the Dennistoun area of the city, added: "All I want is to be allowed an appeal, I just want to clear my name. "I did not commit that robbery, and it is something that has now taken over my whole adult life." The University of Bristol Innocence Project (UoBIP) has taken on Mr Beck's case and today submitted a response on his behalf following two rejections by the Scottish Criminal Case Review Commission to review his case. UoBIP said eyewitness misidentification has been accepted worldwide as a leading cause of wrongful convictions. It says around 75 per cent of post-conviction DNA exonerations in the US are attributed to eyewitness misidentification.

http://www.scotsman.com/news/30-years-on-convicted-thief.6821296.jp


Man seeks justice over 1981 robbery

(UKPA) – 16 minutes ago A man locked up for the armed robbery of a postal van is still fighting to clear his name almost 30 years after he was convicted. William Beck, 50, from Glasgow, spent four years in prison after a jury found him guilty of the robbery involving a hammer in Livingston, West Lothian, in December 1981, when around £21,000 in cash was stolen from two postal workers. But the father of two has always maintained that he was 40 miles away in Glasgow when the incident took place. He claims his conviction in March 1982, when he was 21, was based almost entirely on "unreliable" eyewitness identification, and says he is the victim of a miscarriage of justice. Mr Beck claims only two of the five witnesses identified him in an identity parade. The other three are said to have picked out a volunteer. Leave to appeal the conviction was refused in 1982 after his defence lawyer is alleged to have said he had no grounds for appeal. Mr Beck claims his defence team called none of his witnesses during the trial at the High Court in Edinburgh, giving him "no chance". He said: "I had a number of people who had seen me in Glasgow that day. My wife, who was my girlfriend at the time, was called and she gave evidence that I had been with her all day. But when it came down to it the jury had to decide whether or not to believe us, even though I know there were more people who could have been called on my behalf. "I sacked the defence team immediately after the trial. They didn't try to prepare anything on my behalf, they gave me no chance." Mr Beck, who lives with his wife Louise in the Dennistoun area of the city, added: "All I want is to be allowed an appeal, I just want to clear my name. I did not commit that robbery, and it is something that has now taken over my whole adult life. I just want a chance to prove my innocence." The University of Bristol Innocence Project has taken on Mr Beck's case and has submitted a response on his behalf following two rejections by the Scottish Criminal Case Review Commission (SCCRC) to review his case. The SCCRS is an independent public body set up to review alleged miscarriages of justice.


Review call on William Beck robbery conviction


The Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission has turned down the case twice before A new assessment has been made of the evidence which convicted a man of an armed robbery carried out 30 years ago. Researchers at the University of Bristol Innocence Project (UoBIP) concluded that evidence against William Beck had "low probative value". Mr Beck was convicted of robbing a post office van in Livingston, and sentenced to a jail term of six years. The UoBIP has prepared a submission which will be made to the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission. William Beck was 20 when he was arrested in 1981. Of five eyewitnesses to the robbery, only two picked out Mr Beck at an identity parade. The team at Bristol concluded that it was not possible to conclude beyond reasonable doubt that a miscarriage of justice did not occur. Mark Allum, one of the Bristol researchers, said: "Mr Beck's conviction was based primarily upon identification evidence part of which the trial judge referred to as unreliable and part of which he suggested the jury should treat with great care. "Recently the courts have become increasingly reluctant to base convictions solely upon eyewitness testimony especially since studies have exposed the fallibility of such testimony. "Were this case to come before the courts today it is highly likely that the trial judge would dismiss it." The Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission has twice before refused to send Mr Beck's case back to the Appeal Court. Mr Beck, who lives in Glasgow, said the fight to prove his innocence meant he had spent a lot of time learning the law. "My two daughters have had to grow up with virtually no father for 20 to 30 years because of this case," he said. "It is something that never leaves me. "Even when I'm having a conversation with family or friends, it always comes round to my case."

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-14582866


9am Briefing: Armed robber to fight conviction 30 years on

Published Date: 18 August 2011 A MAN locked up for the armed robbery of a postal van is still fighting to clear his name almost 30 years after he was convicted. William Beck spent four years in prison after a jury found him guilty of the robbery involving a hammer in Livingston, West Lothian, in December 1981, when around £21,000 in cash was stolen from two postal workers. The father of two has always maintained that he was 40 miles away in Glasgow when the incident took place. The University of Bristol Innocence Project has now taken on Mr Beck's case.

http://edinburghnews.scotsman.com...iefing-Armed-robber-to.6821419.jp


Rough justice plea on robber jailed for four years who still protests his innocence

Aug 21 2011 Marion Scott, Sunday Mail

A legal expert has slammed Scotland's court watchdogs for refusing to back a highprofile miscarriage of justice claim. Dr Michael Naughton, of Bristol University's Innocence Network UK, believes the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission have got it wrong over the Willie Beck case. Dad-of-two Beck, 50, from Dennistoun, Glasgow, has spent more than 30 years protesting his innocence over a 1981 post office robbery in Livingston, West Lothian. Dr Naughton says there is an overwhelming need to "right mistakes that were made". Beck was convicted mainly on identification evidence which the Bristol researchers say was flawed. Dr Naughton said: "The SCCRC contend that ... it is not possible to conclude beyond reasonable doubt that a miscarriage of justice has occurred. Eyewitness misidentification has been accepted worldwide as a leading cause of wrongful convictions." The SCCRC have twice rejected Beck's plea to refer his case to the Appeal Court. Beck, who was jailed for four years, said: "I'd like to think Dr Naughton's findings will change the SCCRC's mind but I'm not holding my breath. "I've been let down by the criminal justice system and blighted by this conviction for the whole of my adult life." The SCCRC said: "We do not comment on individual cases."

Sunday Email [email protected]

http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/2011/08/21/rough-justice-plea-on-robber-jailed-for-four-years-who-still-protests-his-innocence-86908-23361555/

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Quote from the William Mills case: "This was a prosecution that stood or fell by eye-witness identification alone. That is a form of proof that has been shown to be, in some cases, a dangerous basis for a prosecution, as history shows," said Lord Gill.

"It is a matter of concern that an important part of the case for the prosecution was the evidence of two police officers, neither eye-witnesses, who made positive statements that Mills was the robber on the basis of looking at CCTV stills. The new evidence confirms all our reservations about this conviction."