Mum campaigning for son to be cleared of murder gets double boost

A Wigan mum who is campaigning for her son to be cleared of murder has been given a double boost by the performing arts.

Friday, 3rd March 2017, 7:45 am
Updated Thursday, 23rd March 2017, 4:43 pm
Jordan Cunliffe
Jordan Cunliffe

Documentary-maker Anton Califano has been filming Janet Cunliffe’s quest and the related Joint Enterprise Not Guilty By Association (JENGbA) campaign she fronts for over five years now.

And he brought his camera to Wigan this week to film the first performance of a song by musician Joe Astley which has been written in support of the crusade.

Jordan Cunliffe was one of the teenagers jailed for the notorious killing of Warrington dad Garry Newlove in 2007.

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Joe Astley and Janet Cunliffe

He was successfully prosecuted under “joint enterprise” law which means that he was guilty even if he didn’t land a fatal blow because he was part of the gang and didn’t act to save the victim.

The Jengba campaign wants to scrap this “guilt by association” law and it has received high-profile support not least from the award-winning writer Jimmy McGovern who wrote a television drama on the subject.

So far legal attempts to have Jordan Cunliffe freed from prison have failed.

Mr Califano said; “Killing The Law is a feature documentary filmed over a five-year period about a flaw in the British justice system which campaigners argue has resulted in hundreds of families having their loved-ones wrongly convicted and given life-sentences. Critics of Joint Enterprise argue that the threshold for evidence is extremely low, especially for such serious crimes such as murder, and as a result Joint Enterprise is a ‘lazy law’.

Joe Astley and Janet Cunliffe

“We are now at a critical stage, as our filming comes to an end, we really want to start editing the film as soon as we can, so it gives us a chance to launch the film as soon as we can.”

This week’s filming involved shooting Mrs Cunliffe at home throughout the day and following her train journey to Wigan to hear Mr Astley sing his song for the first time at the Raven pub in Wallgate.

Mrs Cunliffe said: “I have spent a lot of time with Joe discussing Jordan’s case and he has become quite knowledgable with the JENGbA Campaign as well as my own personal fight for justice.

“He has taken the time to listen and learn more about what is really going on and that’s why I’m confident he is able to write about it in a way that will catch people’s attention.

“We are delighted to have his support and that of Anton who has followed our quest for justice for so long.”

It is planned that the film will be launched at a major film festival later this year, and then shown at cinemas and local community venues, before receiving its television premiere.