Ruling gives new hope for mum of young ‘murderer’

Janet Cunliffe mother of Jordan Cunliffe at her home in Warrington
Janet Cunliffe mother of Jordan Cunliffe at her home in Warrington

A CAMPAIGNING Wigan mum has hailed a landmark court ruling that gives fresh hope that her son could soon be cleared of murder.

Jordan Cunliffe has been in prison for more than eight years now after he was convicted for the killing of Warrington dad Garry Newlove even though the then 15-year-old did not land the fatal blows.

Jordan Cunliffe - could be behind bars for life

Jordan Cunliffe - could be behind bars for life

He was jailed for life and was told he must serve a minimum of 12 years under the law of “joint enterprise” because he did not intervene as his friends killed the 47-year-old salesman.

But judges overseeing a Supreme Court test case yesterday ruled that joint enterprise had been misinterpreted for three decades, casting fresh doubt on Cunliffe’s conviction.

His mum Janet, who hails from Pemberton, is a founder member of the pressure group Jengba which has crusaded for the modification or scrapping of joint enterprise and gained significant support over the years from politicians and the award-winning screenwriter Jimmy McGovern who penned a TV drama on the subject.

Mrs Cunliffe said: “I am very happy. After what happened today the law of joint enterprise as we know it is dead.

“We have already got a strong case for Jordan currently with the Criminal Cases Review Board in the hope of appealing against his conviction and this will only strengthen it.

“The premise under which Jordan was convicted has today been totally discredited in the Supreme Court.”

The justices yesterday said prosecutors, judges and jurors must take a different approach when dealing with defendants accused of joint enterprise.

They said it was not right that someone should be guilty merely because they foresaw that a co-accused might commit a crime.

Jurors should view “foresight” only as evidence to be taken into account, not as proof.

A panel of five Supreme Court justices analysed the issue of joint enterprise at a hearing in London in October when considering an appeal by a man who was convicted of murder after egging on a friend to stab a former policeman.

Ameen Jogee and Mohammed Hirsi, both in their 20s, were given life sentences at Nottingham Crown Court in March 2012 after being convicted of Paul Fyfe’s murder.

Jurors heard that Hirsi stabbed Mr Fyfe at a house in Leicester in June 2011 while being egged on by Jogee. A judge imposed a minimum 22-year term on Hirsi and a minimum of 20 years on Jogee, who was of no fixed address. Jogee’s minimum term was cut to 18 years by the Court of Appeal. The Supreme Court has now allowed Jogee’s appeal against conviction but he will stay in prison while lawyers decide whether he should be retried.

It has been argued by Jengba that Jordan Cunliffe did not play a key role in the incident because he is partially-sighted. If the CCRB does feel he has a case it could be year before it gets into the Appeal Court.