A campaign group hoping to change the controversial ‘joint enterprise’ doctrine has given its backing to the families of three men convicted of a brutal acid attack murder in Bradford.
The group Joint Enterprise: Not Guilty by Association (JENGbA), which say the law has led to defendants being jailed for crimes they had little or no involvement in, yesterday held demonstrations in Leeds, Liverpool and London.
Among those protesting in Leeds were the families of Andrew Feather, Joseph Lowther and Robert Woodhead, who last year were jailed with another man, Lee Calvert, for the murder of father-of-three Barry Selby after a ‘joint enterprise’ prosecution.
All denied murder and after having an initial appeal rejected by a judge, they are set for an oral hearing in front of three Court of Appeal judges later this year.
Joint enterprise allows the prosecution of members of a group or gang for murder when it cannot be proved which member of the group inflicted the fatal blow.
Defendants can be convicted if a jury finds they had foresight that another member of the group “might” kill or inflict serious harm.
JENGbA campaign Jan Cunliffe said the ‘Bradford Four’ case was “disturbing” because of the lack of physical evidence. She said: “In Andrew Feather’s case, he proved he was not there and had nothing to do with it but was still found guilty.”
Feather’s sister Rebecca Wright, from Bradford, and her family have been going through the CCTV evidence to prove her brother’s innocence. She said: “My brother has been convicted for murder and sentenced to 26 years, for something that isn’t even proven.”
A West Yorkshire Police spokesman said: “Four men were put before the courts for Mr Selby’s murder and following a lengthy trial, they were found guilty by a jury, convicted and sentenced.
“We understand the four men have been engaged in an ongoing appeals process.”