Justice For Wullie Beck

The Fight for Justice Continues!!!


Willie denied vital documents in bid to clear name



Fury at "missing" ID parade reports

 Wullie Beck, Iain McKie and John McManus

 

 


by Craig Robertson
Sunday Post April 5th 2009

A man who is still fighting a robbery conviction 21 years after he was released from prison says the Crown Office is denying him vital evidence to fight his case.

Willie Beck from Glasgow was jailed for six years in 1982 for a violent, armed robbery he is adamant he did not commit.
Despite being a free man since his release he continues to try to clear his name.

Now he and his MSP are angry the Crown Office is refusing them access to the documents in relation to his case.

Beck was just 20 when he was arrested days after a robbery on a post van in Livingston in December 1981. In an identity parade he was picked out by two witnesses, one an off duty police officer-- the only evidence against him.
However, his attempts to get a report of a second police ID parade, which Beck did not attend and at which he claims the witness against him identified another man as the culprit- have failed.

The Crown Office has told him they didn't keep copies of reports sent to the Scottish Criminal Case Review Commission relating to the ID parades. For their part, The SCCRC are claiming they only received the report for the identity parade Beck attended.
This is despite a letter from the Crown Office in 2002 to the SCCRC enclosing "copies of all reports of identification parades held in connection with the incident".

Beck is also being denied access to witness statements made in his case and has been told that they are Crown precognitions and will never be disclosed.
However, the law now allows the disclosure of precognitions.
"I'm entitled to see these witness statements and I believe they can prove the weakness of the case against me", said Willie Beck. "I believe they will show there was a second ID parade and the report on that is capable of showing that the policeman who identified me also identified someone else in the second ID parade.
"This would have destroyed his evidence and completely discredited him as a witness."

Lord Advocate Eilish Angionlini has consistently said the Scottish Government is committed to full disclosure and that it is Crown Office practice to reveal all material evidence.

Disclosure

The practice of disclosure was tightened in Scotland following the case of Holland and Sinclair in 2005m In which failure to disclose documents were found to have breached the accuseds' rights to a fair trial.

"The Crown is still saying witness statements are never disclosable and that they wouldn't have been available to my solicitor at the time of trial. Yet I already have some of them, having received them from my solicitor. I'm entitled to these statements, yet they say they are withholding them in the public interest", Beck added.

Beck's MSP Bill Kidd says the Crown should make full disclosure to allow Beck to prove his innocence.
He said, "Willie and his family have suffered a lot over the years as a result of what I believe is a miscarriage of justice.
"The reports in question might offer the final evidence that proves he did not commit this crime. I've been given no decent reason why these documents can't be disclosed. This is not just about rules, it is about justice."

Beck and his MSP are also angry the identities of two witnesses, who gave statements to police and the procurator fiscal prior to his trial, have never been revealed to him or his defence team.

Despite repeated requests for the individuals to be named, the Crown Office has refused saying that it would identify living people.
A spokesperson said, "The Crown has rigorous procedures in place for complying with all its obligations in relation to the disclosure of evidence."
The SCCRC declined to comment on individual cases.

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."