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  • Originally posted by NickB View Post
    Derek Bentley and Mahmood Mattan also had their convictions quashed after having been hanged for murder.

    But in the A6 case the appellant had no significant new evidence. The grounds of appeal were based on saying that certain practices, mostly concerned with police disclosure, should not have been allowed.


    Although many rules had been made more advantageous for the defendant other rules had been made less advantageous - most notably in this case the rules about an ambush alibi. So neither side can assert that the rules 40 years later should have been applied, you have to go back to what applied at the time.

    Thus the refrain: ‘Although this would be disclosable by present standards it is far from clear that it fell to be disclosed by the standards of the day’.

    Even so the matters arising out of each of the grounds of appeal were considered and all of them were rejected. Sometimes in considering a ground of appeal information was discovered that counted against Hanratty - for example, when the appellant asserted it was not disclosed that the bus for Rhyl left Liverpool at 6pm.
    Hi again Nick - yes, I appreciate that.

    The point in my earlier post was not that the various grounds of appeal weren't considered but that Hanratty and his supporters could consider themselves unlucky as to the three particular Appeal Court judges who heard this case and the conclusions they reached.

    Those grounds are pretty well known on this site having been much rehearsed over the years. I'm certainly not going to attempt to rehash them all here now but feel a couple of related points are worth flagging.

    1. The Court were keen not to impugn the integrity of Acott and Oxford as they were unable to answer questions being no longer alive and stated as much. That might seem fair enough although it should be noted it provided a ''get out'' to the Respondents when unable to address concerns and challenges raised upon behalf of Hanratty concerning police conduct and non-disclosures. The cynic in me feels that the deaths of Basil and Oxo were not only a hindrance to Hanratty's appeal but also good career moves for the police duo. The approach of the Court of Appeal here in respect of Hanratty also contrasts with that it adopted - albeit with noticeably different judges sitting - one year later when it was content to refer to ''the lies'' of the much decorated CI Bert Balmer in upholding the posthumous appeals of Kelly and Connolly; that and the more empathetic attitude of the Court towards the appellants in the Cameo case is why I specifically referred to that earlier.

    2. I feel it important to recognise that a same point could have been argued before different Appeal Court judges and a different decision reached. Sometimes it can be like VAR deciding an offside by half an inch - but without the technology to assist! In other words, you have to accept the finality of the decision but that doesn't mean the decision making was clear and obvious and couldn't have just as easily gone the other way. This is probably most relevant to the Hanratty appeal in the alleged sighting of the murder car by William Lee, the non-disclosure of that by Acott and the further non-disclosure of the odometer recordings by Acott. In their judgement (para 157), the Court stated, ''... although this represents the high watermark of non-disclosure in this case we do not consider that, on its own, this feature reveals such fatal unfairness as itself to render the conviction unsafe.'' That was a subjective view; it's not mine but that's immaterial as I accept that counts for nothing. However, different Appeal Court judges might have considered that such non-disclosure did render the conviction unsafe.

    As stated previously, I do not consider that anything from now (or actually 2002) will ever be changed. The Court of Appeal's judgement and the astute ''belt and braces'' way in which it was worded put paid to that. However, the fine margins of some of the decisions and the subjective nature of them should not be overlooked.

    Best regards,
    OneRound

    Comment


    • Appeal courts. Yes ,30 years before Hanratty was hanged ,we had William Wallace escaping the noose, because the appeal judge countermanded the decision of the jury,( I do believe this set a precedence) on the grounds that the evidence was all circumstantial. They had zero hard evidence on James Hanratty , in ‘61. The only true witness had lost all memory of what her assailant looked like ,and basically asked that they hang Hanratty on the strength of her remembering what his voice sounded like! It worked, and they did. Judge Gorman will have known all about the ground breaking Wallace case , and knew it was at his discretion that calling a halt to proceedings when the trial became nothing more than a farce, was well within his legal limitations.
      But the good Judge was fair minded enough to edge the jury toward a not guilty plea, though too Lilly livered to press his authority any further . Sherrard discussed in an interview going to the home office for a reprieve ,and after a lengthy meeting expected there would be a reprieve. ‘In the event, there was no reprieve,I,I was very upset’ .WHAT A WHITE WASH!

      Comment


      • (Don’t get me started on ‘VAR’)

        Comment


        • I think what Sherrard was discussing with the Home Office was a reprieve from hanging, as in the case of Steinie Morrison. He would still have been deemed guilty and sent to prison.

          The mechanism the defence used to free Wallace was to argue that he should not have been tried. You could not have argued that there was insufficient evidence to bring Hanratty to trial, as Sherrard realised.

          Comment


          • Originally posted by NickB View Post
            I think what Sherrard was discussing with the Home Office was a reprieve from hanging, as in the case of Steinie Morrison. He would still have been deemed guilty and sent to prison.

            The mechanism the defence used to free Wallace was to argue that he should not have been tried. You could not have argued that there was insufficient evidence to bring Hanratty to trial, as Sherrard realised.
            Strongly disagree. Even back in the magistrates court (Pretrial) they should have nipped the whole thing in the bud.When the prosecution gave all the details that they had on Hanratty, The police should have been sent out to find a strong candidate for Gregstens murder. Starting with Ewer! the clairvoyant from the high street.....’ Helicopters’ ! for the love of Pete ! Can’t you see what a crummy case for the prosecution Swanwick had to work with ? If Sherrard hadn’t had to step in as a substitute and a decent replacement had been found, I feel the prosecution would have been torn to shreds. Swanwick’s ‘In’ , was the sympathy of the Bedford jury for Storie. Sherrard was too scared to tamper with these feelings. Any top experienced defence Q.C would have (I don’t want to say harangued) ,heavily questioned Storie until the truth came out.

            Comment


            • I have just seen a BBC documentary on Youtube concerning capital punishment in the UK. It has been uploaded in three parts and I give the links below. It features Michael Sherrard as the "defence barrister" and although Hanratty's name is not mentioned, it is pretty that Sherrard is referring to him when relating his experiences of dealing with prisoner sentenced to death. The documentary also features David Lines who was the under-sheriff of Bedfordshire who was witness to Hanratty's execution.


              https://youtu.be/3BeJrT9qqII

              ​​​​​​https://youtu.be/5tFsQHHjsx8

              ​​​​​​https://youtu.be/K2wXMmwHWzc

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              • On the other hand from the Daily Express of 11 July 1983

                Click image for larger version  Name:	jhanratty.jpg Views:	0 Size:	242.9 KB ID:	753157

                Comment


                • Originally posted by Spitfire View Post
                  I have just seen a BBC documentary on Youtube concerning capital punishment in the UK. It has been uploaded in three parts and I give the links below. It features Michael Sherrard as the "defence barrister" and although Hanratty's name is not mentioned, it is pretty that Sherrard is referring to him when relating his experiences of dealing with prisoner sentenced to death. The documentary also features David Lines who was the under-sheriff of Bedfordshire who was witness to Hanratty's execution.


                  https://youtu.be/3BeJrT9qqII

                  ​​​​​​https://youtu.be/5tFsQHHjsx8

                  ​​​​​​https://youtu.be/K2wXMmwHWzc
                  Hi Spitfire - thanks for the links to the documentary. Better than I expected - feared it would be all stuff too regularly seen but some of the clips were new to me.

                  Whilst Sherrard always comes over in these sort of programmes as decent and honourable, I do get moste's recent point that he needed more devil in him to get Hanratty off.

                  Best regards,
                  OneRound

                  Comment


                  • Sherrard must have done a reasonably good job. The jury were out for ten hours and on one occasion asked the judge for advice. They also requested a transcript of the trial, which shows they were aware that the evidence had to be reviewed carefully, but this was denied. I think in vernacular Scots, the jury were ‘swithering.’ Hanratty, who’d spent a fair time of his short life in various docks, was of the opinion that Sherrard had served him well.

                    However, given the difficulty the jury had in reaching a verdict, it’s hard to deny that a more experienced barrister might have tilted the case Hanratty’s way. Hanratty presented himself as a self-confessed thief so it was inevitable the jury would have reservations over his ability to tell the truth. Changing his alibi could only have confirmed their suspicions. Yet had Sherrard made known the true relationship between Gregsten and Valerie Storie then her evidence may have been seen in a less favourable light. This relationship also opened up the possibility of motive and may well have given a jury pause for thought.

                    Badgering a woman in a wheelchair sounds like a poor tactic to me, but Sherrard could have introduced the nature of the relationship with the timeworn qualification, ‘This is not a court of morals.’

                    Comment


                    • Originally posted by cobalt View Post
                      Badgering a woman in a wheelchair sounds like a poor tactic to me, but Sherrard could have introduced the nature of the relationship with the timeworn qualification, ‘This is not a court of morals.’
                      But of course, Valerie Storie was not the one on trial, so I'm not sure why the nature of her relationship with Gregsten should have been considered relevant.

                      It's my belief that the culprit was trying something new and never actually intended to murder anyone. When he shot Gregsten dead, there was no going back and if he was going to save his own neck he had to summon up the power and the will to kill the only witness. That power went to his head and he raped Valerie before shooting her, fully intending her to die and take his guilty secret with her.

                      I don't personally agree with the death penalty, and I do think there are grounds for concern over the original trial. Hanratty wasn't obliged to prove he was in Liverpool, or Rhyl, or anywhere else, when this horrific crime was committed, but the jury - understandably, I feel - simply couldn't imagine why a man fighting for his life on a murder charge would have chosen to lie about where he was, who he was with and what he was doing, if he wasn't murdering or raping anyone.

                      For my money, the DNA evidence confirmed the guilty verdict was right beyond reasonable doubt, even if the way it was reached was wrong.

                      Love,

                      Caz
                      X
                      "Comedy is simply a funny way of being serious." Peter Ustinov


                      Comment


                      • From a defence lawyer’s perspective any prosecution witness is very much on trial. It is his duty to question everything about that witness to the advantage of his client. Truth trumps morality or politeness when a man’s life is on the line.

                        The relationship between Gregsten and Valerie Storie was very much part of the case otherwise they would not have been in a cornfield together. The jury had the right to know that they were doing a little more than planning a car rally. They also had the right to draw inferences regarding Valerie Storie’s overall character given that an affair with a married man must contain some element of deception or breach of trust.
                        Sherrard was complicit in concealing the full story from the jury and in that regard I think he made a misjudgement. In doing so he also closed off an avenue of possible motive, the lack of which in this case has demanded armchair psychology of a rather desperate kind.


                        It’s a truism to say every case is unique but given the amount of wannabee stick up men, thieves, robbers, opportunists and car thieves it does odd that nothing like the A6 Case has ever been repeated in the last sixty years. A sadly limited and predictable burglar called James Hanratty has, according to the official version, committed a singular crime that seems to have no parallel. As Moste often remarks, there is something at the centre of this case that has been concealed hence our confused efforts to make sense of it.

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by cobalt View Post
                          From a defence lawyer’s perspective any prosecution witness is very much on trial. It is his duty to question everything about that witness to the advantage of his client. Truth trumps morality or politeness when a man’s life is on the line.

                          The relationship between Gregsten and Valerie Storie was very much part of the case otherwise they would not have been in a cornfield together. The jury had the right to know that they were doing a little more than planning a car rally. They also had the right to draw inferences regarding Valerie Storie’s overall character given that an affair with a married man must contain some element of deception or breach of trust.
                          Sherrard was complicit in concealing the full story from the jury and in that regard I think he made a misjudgement. In doing so he also closed off an avenue of possible motive, the lack of which in this case has demanded armchair psychology of a rather desperate kind.


                          It’s a truism to say every case is unique but given the amount of wannabee stick up men, thieves, robbers, opportunists and car thieves it does odd that nothing like the A6 Case has ever been repeated in the last sixty years. A sadly limited and predictable burglar called James Hanratty has, according to the official version, committed a singular crime that seems to have no parallel. As Moste often remarks, there is something at the centre of this case that has been concealed hence our confused efforts to make sense of it.
                          Thanks for that eloquent rebuttal Cobalt. I would only add that, Hanratty had 3 reasonably sound witnesses in Liverpool, Dinwoodie, who ‘may ‘ have got the days wrong when the stranger came in asking directions. Billiards manager who didn’t want to buy a stolen watch and was off on his hols at the weekend. And Withered hand, who (very fortunately for the prosecution ) couldn’t remember anyone of Hanrattys description, simply because he was the wrong withered hand! Incidentally just a reminder ,prosecution produced Mr.Hirons the wrong garage attendant from the much quieter Shell station ,because the very busy Regent station at London airport ,could not be expected to remember much of any particular car out of dozens in the late evening of that autumn day.Regent garage, the one emphatic memory Storie had, and Acott ignored her, this is the one witness he placed so much store by.
                          Motive in this crime was the stumbling block. The statement by prosecution that Hanratty wanted sexually to possess Storie for himself. ,(which the jury clearly bought into ) given what we have learned from various people who knew him very well, clearly is ludicrous. For a motive, in my opinion, it would have paid dividends to find out more of Janet Gregsten and Mr. Ewer’s relationship, but not after the murder , way before.
                          Last edited by moste; 03-17-2021, 02:44 AM.

                          Comment


                          • Sticking to the topic of how a defence barrister should conduct a case, we are often informed here that Sherrard quite understandably insisted Hanratty sign a disclaimer in respect of his change of alibi. This speaks well to Sherrard’s judgment and respect for his client as well. Fine.

                            However, I assume Sherrard was fully aware of the true relationship between Gregsten and Valerie Storie before trial. Did he share this knowledge with his client Hanratty? And did Hanratty agree that any line of questioning in regard to this should not be used?

                            Comment


                            • Originally posted by cobalt View Post
                              From a defence lawyer’s perspective any prosecution witness is very much on trial. It is his duty to question everything about that witness to the advantage of his client. Truth trumps morality or politeness when a man’s life is on the line.

                              The relationship between Gregsten and Valerie Storie was very much part of the case otherwise they would not have been in a cornfield together. The jury had the right to know that they were doing a little more than planning a car rally. They also had the right to draw inferences regarding Valerie Storie’s overall character given that an affair with a married man must contain some element of deception or breach of trust.
                              Sherrard was complicit in concealing the full story from the jury and in that regard I think he made a misjudgement. In doing so he also closed off an avenue of possible motive, the lack of which in this case has demanded armchair psychology of a rather desperate kind.


                              It’s a truism to say every case is unique but given the amount of wannabee stick up men, thieves, robbers, opportunists and car thieves it does odd that nothing like the A6 Case has ever been repeated in the last sixty years. A sadly limited and predictable burglar called James Hanratty has, according to the official version, committed a singular crime that seems to have no parallel. As Moste often remarks, there is something at the centre of this case that has been concealed hence our confused efforts to make sense of it.
                              Well if Hanratty was guilty, cobalt, that would explain why it was a one-off! If he was innocent, then yes, it's a mystery why the man who got clean away with rape and murder didn't go on to commit any other crimes of a similar nature. Perhaps he just learned to control himself?

                              The problem with exploring avenues of possible motive is that there was only ever one man in the dock, and those avenues you are thinking of could arguably not have been applied to Hanratty if he had no known links to the victims. Generally speaking, motive can be very hard to establish until the guilty person has been identified, and even then it's not always obvious why a crime of such an unusual nature was committed. If it was a crime of opportunity, for example, by a stranger with a gun who came across the couple and wondered what it would be like to give them a scare, then the motive would have been purely psychological, and totally on the gunman's shoulders, regardless of the couple's private lives and unconnected to them.

                              Avenues of 'possible' motive, then, are not particularly useful. They'd have needed something far stronger, which could then have been connected directly with a specific individual, with known connections to the victims and their circumstances, who would have become a person of interest to be eliminated before Hanratty even made it to the dock.

                              Love,

                              Caz
                              X
                              Last edited by caz; 03-17-2021, 12:11 PM.
                              "Comedy is simply a funny way of being serious." Peter Ustinov


                              Comment


                              • Originally posted by cobalt View Post
                                Sticking to the topic of how a defence barrister should conduct a case, we are often informed here that Sherrard quite understandably insisted Hanratty sign a disclaimer in respect of his change of alibi. This speaks well to Sherrard’s judgment and respect for his client as well. Fine.

                                However, I assume Sherrard was fully aware of the true relationship between Gregsten and Valerie Storie before trial. Did he share this knowledge with his client Hanratty? And did Hanratty agree that any line of questioning in regard to this should not be used?
                                I'm not sure what difference it would have made to the jury, even if they were told that Gregsten and Valerie had been at it like rabbits every opportunity they had. If anyone had seriously believed this had provided the motive for someone who knew and objected to their loose morals to arrange for their punishment, that should all have been investigated before Hanratty was tried. But it wasn't, so Sherrard was left with the job of trying to limit the damage Hanratty inflicted on himself by lying and changing his alibi. If he had nothing to do with this crime, and could not be connected in any way to either victim, he could have been 100% truthful about where he was at the time, and stuck with it. That was his best shot and he fluffed it. I don't know if Sherrard told him he was better off with one unprovable alibi than two, but in his shoes I'd have driven that truth home with a sledgehammer.

                                Love,

                                Caz
                                X
                                Last edited by caz; 03-17-2021, 12:38 PM.
                                "Comedy is simply a funny way of being serious." Peter Ustinov


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