Legal Comment From A Webmaster


Below are extracts from three E-mails received from the Webmaster of the independent Court Of Appeal judgments site

Among his incisive comments are the observation that in dismissing Stone’s second appeal, Lord Justice Rose misdirected himself, which should surely provide grounds for a third. My own belief is that when finally Stone is cleared of these heinous crimes, it will not be on a mere technicality, but because the Court and the world recognises that a monstrous injustice has indeed been done, most likely due to new developments in forensics, in particular DNA profiling.

Extract from E-Mail of January 21, 2009


I would be most interested to see the outcome of this important case ‐ important because as you have pointed out, a man has been tried and convicted of murder purely on the strength of a jail confession given to an admitted heroin addict, who was moreover reading a newspaper report about the murder at the very time the confession was alleged to have been made.

As I believe, one of the principle reasons why the jury believed the testimony of Damien Daley and convicted Stone was because when they paid a visit to the cells, their sole preoccupation was to determine whether it was indeed possible to hear a conversation between the gap in the pipes in the way Daley described.

Having satisfied themselves that Daley was telling the truth on this “crucial” point, they went on to believe the rest of Daley’s testimony, not being aware that all cells in the country share the same physical characteristics.

Furthermore, they could not have been informed that there were no details in the confession that were not already in the public domain, otherwise Stone may have received at least some benefit of the doubt. As it was, he received none.

It is quite clear that anybody ‐ you, me, or even my own mother ‐ could have been convicted in the same circumstances that Stone faced, ie., arrest followed by remand in a cell adjacent to Daley, and a confession recounting facts already widely known.


Extract from second E-Mail of January 21, 2009


...should Damien Daley ever recant and admit that the confession never took place [w]hat evidence would the prosecution then be left with to support their case? The answer by their own admission is none, as the confession in this case is the only ‘evidence’ in the eyes of the law which separates guilt from innocence.

The fact that the confession contained all published elements of the crime and nothing else besides is a further indication that the confession cannot be relied upon. Damien Daley, the witness to the alleged confession, was by his own admission reading newspapers of the crime on the day the confession allegedly took place, which carried the same details found in the confession!

Contrary to what Lord Justice Rose said in upholding the evidence of the confession, Damien Daley had in his hands access to printed information about the crime and would not have needed to even move from his own cell in order to concoct a confession from such material. That fact alone should have raised sufficient doubt in the minds of the prosecution, police, jury and the Appeal Court judge that such confession evidence by itself cannot sensibly be relied upon to convict any man of murder.

If such evidence can be relied upon to try and convict a man of murder then no citizen in this country is safe from being lynched by the criminal justice system, as any citizen can be merely locked up in a cell adjacent to a heroin addict in order to produce a ‘confession’.

[One spelling mistake corrected in the above].


Extract from second E-Mail of January 22, 2009


I think you are right in that advancement in forensics may produce a match, for example on the boot lace, or as I recall the stuff which was found in a hedge in the vicinity, when a man was seen putting the towels there.

Looking at the issue of the four elements of the crime contained in the confession, which Lord Justice Rose said Daley could not have concocted in the time available to him from when the confession was made to when he reported it to the police, I believe I am correct in saying that all of the four elements in one form or another were published in the newspapers on the day of the confession, when Daley was himself reading about them. This is indisputable, as you can see from the following link:

So Lord Justice Rose clearly misdirected himelf on this point, which was the basis for dimissing the appeal.

It may sound odd to state that the issue of Stone’s guilt or innocence is not what this case is about. Michael Stone doesn’t matter, because the person in the cell adjacent to Damien Daley could have been anybody ‐ me, you, my mother, or any other ordinary citizen. The fact that Stone was considered to be an undesirable character with a propensity for committing crime only made his situation more dire than it might otherwise have been, but nevertheless, any ordinary citizen finding himself in similar circumstances to what Stone experienced would of necessity have been convicted of murder.

This is because Damien Daley only needed to read the newspapers to concoct a confession, and when you realise that the confession only contained the four published elements of the case, published moreover on the day of the confession, it is not hard to believe that the confession was in fact based on the published newspaper articles. Had the confession contained anything else not publicly known, such as the colour of clothing, or any articles worn by the victims, then the confession might have carried some weight.

[One spelling mistake corrected in the above.]


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