Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/172/7912
Michael Davis, of the M25 Three, speaks to The Socialist
"The justice system is corrupt"
IN JULY, the Court of Appeal quashed the convictions of Raphael Rowe, Michael Davis and Randolph Johnson, the M25 Three. They were wrongly jailed for life in 1990 on charges of murder and armed robberies around the M25 motorway.
These three young black men always protested their innocence. The Court of Appeal quashed the conviction because the defence weren't told that a key prosecution witness had received £10,000 reward money. But the judge claimed that this decision had not proved the M25 Three innocent!
MICHAEL DAVIS spoke to Molly Cooper of The Socialist.
"THE JUDGE'S comment is illogical. Because the jury heard in the first appeal the victims say that two white men and one black were responsible, the court says you cannot use that evidence again.
But identification of the perpetrators was the most important part of our case. How can you defend yourself if you cannot use this most powerful evidence in this appeal?
It's a complete whitewash. I thought judges were there to actually correct what was said at the trial, not to say the police did a "good job" and call that justice.
The justice system's corrupt isn't it? Police 'procedure' seems to be to stitch people up, to hide evidence. Then when you get to court the prosecution can run circles round you knowing full well that the police have hidden most of the evidence to prove your innocence.
The justice system should find out who really did do these crimes instead of accusing people who they know full well didn't do it.
There are no safeguards covering police gathering evidence. The police should gather the evidence and pass it to the Director of Public Prosecutions, who makes a decision.
In our case they collected the evidence then lost some because it didn't fit into their theory of things. The police central command seemed to be hiding things; the ones underneath just do as they're told.
It's called procedure, but hiding evidence which will prove a person innocent is a stitch-up in my book. Officers in command of the Cardiff Three and Birmingham Six cases are retired, the ones underneath them are in charge. The cycle goes on, the stitch-ups go on.
The bosses show the ones underneath their procedures of hiding things, of beating people up, tampering with evidence and conspiring with witnesses and with victims and getting a conviction.
How can you fight against something like that if nobody is watching them? I think the police are out of control. Since the McPherson Inquiry, they use PR to make themselves look good. I haven't seen any real changes.
People still die in police stations, get beaten up in prisons, get stitched up. We now get police sound bites but at the sharp end it ain't pretty.
The police should be watched much more closely. Community groups should get involved because nobody knows what's really going on. A group with the power to expose people for what they're doing could bring them to book and charge them if their practices are terrible.
PRISON IS petty and stupid. How can it rehabilitate anyone? The only time you can rehabilitate is if education is available, and they are cutting back on that. You're just locked up in your cell, it's like going back to the Ice Age.
If you're going to rehabilitate somebody, you must at least give them the education or some qualification which will help them when they get out, not these cleaning jobs which they hand out to people. It's as though cleaning the prison is a big plus to your life, it's a complete waste of time. Years and years of cleaning prisons doesn't get you qualifications.
When I first got to prison there were more facilities. I started off with music and bought my own clarinet. After that cut-backs meant you got nothing. The next best option I could find was art. I passed a GNVQ.
The message in prison is "do what you're told or get your head kicked in", it's legal thuggery. It's about power and suppression, anything you want to do, they show you they can take it away from you and destroy you at the same time.
As I wouldn't be a grass or a person who is constantly kissing arse, I was set upon for not going along with the rules. I will never stop complaining against something I have never done. So my campaigning for my innocence was a hindrance to them. And what they had to offer was nothing I wanted. So I was a thorn in their side.
As a black prisoner, you face institutionalised racism every single day. I just took no notice. Knowing full well that you aren't getting things because of your colour, it does get on your nerves but you just walk away. The bigger picture was the need to prove my innocence, that's what I kept focusing on.
People I met in prison showed that it can happen to anybody not just to black people. The system doesn't care, they will roll over anybody, if they put you away and they have got the means to do it they'll do it, no matter what colour you are.
Politicians are about getting votes and looking good. They don't think through the effects of their actions. If Jack Straw expects people in prison to rehabilitate and lead a wonderful life he should dream on. There is no money in prison to rehabilitate people.
The distribution of money in society is the main problem. If people haven't got any education, they cannot get a job. So what is that person left to do? You seek an alternative way to make money.
So the cycle's starting already. Even a person with no qualifications still has skills, I had no education yet I still had skills, but they weren't recognised because I had no qualifications. If you don't give people a chance how are they supposed to live? If you're going to do that to people, you're always going to have problems, always going to have prisons.
You're going to have to change society, change the way the system thinks about people. Finding alternative work for people with no qualifications but a skill, instead of ignoring them completely. Everyone can do something, that's how communities come together. If you destroy that coming together then people just don't care.
Finally I would like to say that if it wasn't for my sister Valerie campaigning against the people who stitched me up, I would have found it hard to get through this. All I could see was a nightmare never ending. It really is down to Valerie.
In The Socialist 8 September 2000: