Our client, Martin Thomas, has been shortlisted for the quarterly John Byrne Award for his poem Inside.
Martin has been sharing his experiences as a wrongfully convicted prisoner in Scotland and highlighting the experiences of others in his podcast – The Innocent Inmate.
The Innocent Inmate is available on the following LINKS.
More information on The John Byrne Award can be found HERE.
We reproduce his entry, and his poem, below:
People judge people, it is human nature. However, what happens when you are judged as a criminal by fifteen of your so-called ‘peers’ and convicted of a crime you didn’t commit? Even more so, what happens when you are sent to prison for something you didn’t do? How does it feel, impact your life, and how can you process this? I wrote this poem whilst serving a sentence in prison, for a horrendous crime, that I did not commit. I have since cleared my name and started a podcast to bring awareness of the inconvenient truth of the prevalence of false accusations, and wrongfully convicted men and women. The Innocent Inmate is how I see myself, and want others to think of me, instead of pre-judging myself or others, because of the #MeToo movement, or ‘Believe the accuser’ attitude which is rife. The false accusers are undermining real victims’ experiences, and are creating horrific problems. I may never get the time back I served in prison, but I sure as hell can do what I can with the time I have left to try to help others who find themselves in a similar situation.
Overcrowded, they say, is my new prison home,
I’m surrounded by others, and yet so alone.
I DO NOT BELONG HERE, stuck with many that do,
But innocence means nothing; no-one cares what is true.
The police hit their targets, another rapist is jailed,
Not the unthinkable truth – our justice system’s failed.
But why would someone make it up? What’s the motivation?
Certainly couldn’t be: attention, mental health, financial compensation.
No matter my protests, 15 strangers said I raped her.
An innocent man, a good honest man, turned a criminal on paper.
Proof is not needed; one person’s word is enough,
Defending yourself, proving a decade-old negative is too tough.
My whole life is ruined, this just isn’t fair,
But outwith my close friends and my family – who’s left to care?
This newspaper article, is not all it seems,
Falsely convicted, and robbed of my dreams.
A father, a husband, brother, uncle and son
Is now just a prisoner, the liars have won.
My rights and life stolen, by those that have lied,
No longer a person, just another number — inside.