Crimes protest held over ‘archaic laws’

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JENGbA protestors on the Steps of Lime Street station © Melissa McFarlane Jmu-Journalism

JENGbA protestors on the Steps of Lime Street station © Melissa McFarlane Jmu-Journalism

Human rights campaigners have been protesting outside Lime Street station against a controversial law, which they say has imprisoned thousands in the UK.

Joint Enterprise Not Guilty by Association (JENGbA), held simultaneous rallies in London, Leeds and Liverpool last weekend against the controversial joint enterprise laws.

Joint enterprise allows defendants to be found guilty of offences committed by another person if they have agreed to act together for a common purpose.

Janet Cunliffe, co-founder of JENGbA and organiser of the Liverpool rally, told JMU Journalism: “Liverpool’s march was an amazing success. It was great to see people standing and waiting as if they had been expecting us and many signed the petition, which calls on government to make amendments to this 300 year-old law.”

In 2008, Cunliffe’s son Jordan was found guilty of murder by association, despite being blind. She told of her seven-and-a-half year battle for a change in the law.

She said: “JENGbA has moved mountains over the last few years, giving support for families, who like mine have been torn apart. We can’t help them but we can help them help themselves.”

The protest began on the steps at Lime Street station, just before midday where campaigners stood united holding red balloons and placards with the faces of their imprisoned loved ones and distributing petitions for the public to sign. The march ended at city’s Crown Court at around 2pm.

Karyn Brady, 35 and a mother of three boys, signed the JENGbA petition because she feels the justice system does not work.  She said: “I am a parent and I am a believer of justice – it is wrong to imprison children for the crimes they did not commit. What kind of world do we live in where that is justice?”

Over the weekend more than 10,000 people signed the petition to evoke a law change. JENGbA plans to march on Downing Street next month to call on David Cameron to outline his policy on the issue before the general election.

During the march a banner was raised for 14 year-old, Liverpool boy Joseph McGill, who was jailed for nine years in 2014 for his association to the killer of Sean McHugh, a teenager who was chased by five youths and stabbed in Liverpool laundrette in September 2013. Janet Cunliffe, supports the boy’s case, saying it is very similar to her own story.

“I am just an ordinary mum in an extraordinary circumstance – who will fight for everyone and anyone affected by this archaic law,” she added.

About Melissa McFarlane, JMU Journalism