DNA testing could uncover dozens denied justice like wrongly jailed Andrew Malkinson


Andrew Malkinson - who spent 17 years behind bars for a rape he didn't commit - has repeated calls for the boss of the Criminal Cases Review Commission to be sacked after the body revealed it was reviewing more than 5,000 cases it turned down.

Mr Malkinson, now aged 58, was 37 when he was found guilty - on February 10, 2004 - by a 10-2 majority of carrying out a violent sex attack on a woman by the M61 motorway in Little Hulton, Salford. He was convicted despite no DNA evidence.

He was jailed for life with a minimum term of seven years, but served a further 10 more after maintaining his innocence. In July last year however, the Court of Appeal overturned his conviction after forensic testing linked another man to the crime.

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His case was referred to the Court of Appeal in the January by the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC), which investigates potential miscarriages of justice, after the new DNA evidence was discovered. Then, in July last year, three top judges sitting at the Court of Appeal quashed his rape conviction, 20 years later.

Today (Monday) the CCRC said it had identified 5,500 rape and murder cases before 2016 which it would review to allow 'new DNA testing' to identify an offender.

The CCRC said 'initial work' suggested a quarter would progress to a second phase after some cases, for instance those where the identity of an offender is not challenged, had been filtered out. It could lead to 'several dozen' being subjected to the 'new' DNA testing, it said.

In July 2014, DNA laboratories in the UK moved to using a technique called DNA-17 which is said to be more sensitive than older types of DNA profiling. Old samples, degraded samples or samples which contain only a very small amount of cellular material are more likely to yield useful results using this testing method.

Emily Bolton, Andrew Malkinson's criminal appeal solicitor at the law charity APPEAL, said: "This announcement is a stunning admission that, after missing DNA testing opportunities in Andrew Malkinson’s case, the CCRC may also have denied justice to hundreds of other innocent people.

"If the CCRC had begun this exercise back when DNA-17 testing became available in 2014, it could have spared Andrew Malkinson extra years wrongly imprisoned.

The GMP mugshot issued of Andrew Malkinson when he was convicted of rape in 2004. -Credit:GMP
The GMP mugshot issued of Andrew Malkinson when he was convicted of rape in 2004. -Credit:GMP

"This review is currently too limited in scope. It will not encompass potential miscarriages of justice in attempted murder and sexual assault cases, and it apparently will not be looking at missed opportunities to deploy other powerful DNA techniques such as Y-STR profiling.

"For public confidence in the CCRC to be restored, its current leadership - which has refused to apologise to Andrew Malkinson - must be replaced."

Mr Malkinson has previously called for CCRC chair Helen Pitcher to be sacked and to return her OBE. A judge-led public inquiry will be held into the Malkinson case.

A spokesperson for the CCRC, which will ask the government to help pay for its review, said: "The CCRC has been in operation for more than 27 years and scientific advances mean that there may be fresh forensic opportunities in cases that we last reviewed several years ago.

"This trawl is a significant task and is the first undertaken by us on this scale. It could take considerable time, requiring us to have substantial additional resources so we can balance this important work with our existing case reviews.

"Our purpose is to find, investigate and refer potential miscarriages of justice, so it is imperative that we take advantage of opportunities offered by scientific developments to do that."