MICHAEL STONE

1st Trial

6th October 1998

At the 1st trial (Oct 1998) Anne Rafferty QC (now elevated to Mrs Justice Rafferty) confidently relied on the testimony of two other prisoners, Barry Thompson and Mark Jennings, who had heard Stone making incriminating remarks which tended to support Daley's evidence about the confession. She opened the prosecution's case by telling the jury that according to a psychiatrist's opinion "Stone was in the mood for killing."

A friend of Stone - Sheree Batt - was called to testify that she remembered seeing Stone a year previously wearing a blood-stained tee shirt at around the time of the murders.

After the trial however, Thompson admitted to a newspaper he had told the jury "a pack of lies" in order to obtain a fee of 5,000 from ‘The Sun’ for his story (with the promise of an additional 10,000 if Stone was convicted); Jennings's family confirmed they had received money from a tabloid newspaper; while Sheree Batt's mother publicly disowned her daughter for lying.

1st Appeal

8th February 2001

As a result of the discredited testimony of the fellow convicts, the Court of Appeal ordered a retrial. It is worth noting that the prosecution had analysed and collated hundreds of newspaper reports of the crime published at various times to argue that there would be no specific prejudice in allowing Stone to be re-tried, yet during the re-trial only the Daily Mirror article was mentioned (which Daley had been reading while Stone was 'confessing').

2nd Trial

5th September 2001

At the 2nd trial (Sept 2001), Sheree Batt's evidence of blood on a tee-shirt was still admitted, which helped to establish guilt in regard to the confession in the same way as the false testimony of the fellow prisoners did in the 1st trial.

Mr Nigel Sweeney QC told the jury: "We must make you sure that he admitted it to Mr Daley", while Mr William Clegg QC dryly observed that if there had been some talk "there was no proof the voice belonged to Stone." Stone was again found guilty based solely upon the 'confession'.

2nd Appeal

21st January 2005

In Stone's 2nd Appeal (Jan 2005) Lord Justice Rose acknowledged that  "the prosecution accepts there was nothing in the confession which was not either in the public domain or capable of being inferred from material in the public domain", but then dismissed  the appeal saying "the alleged confession contained many points of detail which the jury heard would not have been easy to invent in the time-scale available to Daley." (Daley's police statement was made on the evening of 26th September, 3 days after Stone's 'confession' on the 23rd).

The 'points of detail' found in Daley's statement were all published in the national press on the day of the confession except for an oblique reference to a shoelace.

Lord Justice Rose agreed with the prosecution that their chief witness upon whose word the conviction was to hang was "a dishonest criminal with an ability to lie when it suited him, even on oath", but nevertheless the court decided that "this was no reason to regard the appellant's conviction as unsafe."

A witness of truth for the prosecution can therefore be an inveterate bare-faced liar and still be acceptable in the eyes of the law for securing a 'safe' conviction.

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