On this day, 18 February 2010, our client and friend, Jimmy Boyle, was finally acquitted of the false, vile, charges for which he had by then served five years in prison. His ordeal had, by that date, lasted seven years. A vindictive campaign to destroy his life and livelihood had spawned the allegations that became the charges that became the wrongful convictions, founded on nothing, by which Jimmy’s life was, indeed, destroyed. In 2009 the Appeal Court quashed the convictions but returned Jimmy to prison to await re-trial. And on 18 February 2010 that retrial ended in acquittal, of all charges.
Justice? Not by any measure. Jimmy has been denied compensation by a state bureaucracy that declares, in the face of his acquittal, that he is “not completely exonerated”. This bureaucracy openly affirms that it applies a different, more nuanced, meaning to the term “miscarriage of justice”. He has been denied, and continues to be denied, the right to earn his living by a professional regulator that declares him guilty despite his exoneration by the court. This regulator, you see, applies a lower standard of proof. And even lower standards of fairness. And all the while, those who falsely accused Jimmy – and those who have facilitated this deception – remain untroubled by investigation of their actions, far less prosecution. Their campaign has been remarkably successful. Jimmy is an innocent man.
We stand with Jimmy, and with all those others who find themselves the abandoned victims of crimes they did not commit. Have they had justice? Not by any measure.