Justice to go on trial at old courts

The Old Courts
The Old Courts

JUSTICE will go on trial at Wigan’s historic former courts as a leading local campaigner brings a major conference to the borough.

Joint Enterprise: Not Guilty by Association (Jengba), headed by Pemberton-born Janet Cunliffe, is organising an innovative day of activities at The Old Courts examining the nature of the legal system and the sentences it gives out.

Janet Cunliffe

Janet Cunliffe

Mrs Cunliffe founded Jengba after her son Jordan was imprisoned for his role in the murder of Warrington dad Garry Newlove despite allegations he attacked the victim himself being unproven.

The group campaigns for reform of the joint enterprise laws, which means all members of a group involved in a crime can be prosecuted and put in jail if they did nothing to prevent it.

Jengba has amassed an impressive array of campaign groups to discuss the nature of injustice in a lively mixture of performance, theatre and debate at the former seat of justice on Crawford Street next month.

As well as joint enterprise the conference will cover topics including deaths in police custody, zero-hours contracts and health and safety in the workplace.

There’s an awful lot of injustice about and not enough people know what’s going on. It’s also a good way to bring separate campaigning groups together to show everyone in Wigan what we’re doing

Janet Cunliffe

Mrs Cunliffe said: “We’re trying to do something different and engaging which people will really remember, and the old courtroom is the perfect location as we will set it up like a trial.

“There’s an awful lot of injustice about and not enough people know what’s going on. It’s also a good way to bring separate campaigning groups together to show everyone in Wigan what we’re doing.”

The Wigan conference will be attended by Black Lives Matter, the bakers’ union BFAWU, the Hillsborough Campaign and the Social Work Action Network.

Martin Foran, who has had two convictions overturned, will speak about his battles with the law and the event will be summed up by Dr David Scott, a senior lecturer in criminology at Liverpool John Moores University.

Wiganers attending will take on the role of the jury and be asked to return a verdict on whether the law is fair and equal or not at the end.

The Jengba Injustice Conference takes place at The Old Courts on Crawford Street on Saturday June 20 from 11am until 4pm. Entry is free.

Meanwhile, campaign group Jengba has responded angrily to a judge’s decision to reject Jordan Cunliffe’s application to reduce his tariff.

Jengba head and Jordan’s mum Janet was particularly angry a victim impact statement made by Baroness Newlove, the widow of Warrington dad Garry Newlove whose murder Jordan was imprisoned for playing a role in, was not made public or shared with the appeal team.

Mrs Cunliffe said: “My son has been imprisoned for something he didn’t do and Baroness Newlove has not got the decency to allow him to see her reasons for why he should remain incarcerated.

“This surely is his basic human right.”

Mr Justice Mittings turned down the bid to lower the sentence Jordan must serve after being convicted under joint enterprise.

Jengba says it intends to raise its concerns with Prime Minister David Cameron and justice secretary Michael Gove.