It took almost two decades to get his conviction overturned. Now Andrew Malkinson faces a battle to get compensation.
In 2004 Andrew Malkinson was sentenced to life in prison for a rape he didn’t commit. He spent 17 years behind bars. Over the past two decades, he has appealed against his conviction multiple times. Last week, he was finally successful. His conviction was quashed by the court of appeal after new forensic tests of the victim’s clothes found another man’s DNA.
His wrongful conviction represents a failure by Greater Manchester Police, the Crown Prosecution Service and the courts. They’ve failed the victim, whose attacker hasn’t been brought to justice, and they’ve failed Andrew Malkinson. He told the BBC Radio 4’s Today program that his decades-long ordeal had taken an “extremely heavy toll” on him. “I can’t articulate now how I even managed to get through it,” he said.
Previously, the law said that if new evidence showed that someone’s conviction should be overturned – and there was also proof a miscarriage of justice had occurred – then they should be compensated. But under current legislation, introduced in 2014, for a case to count as a “miscarriage of justice” you have to be able to prove, beyond reasonable doubt, that you did not commit the offence.
Mark Newby, a solicitor expert in miscarriage of justice cases, told Tortoise that people who have been declared innocent by the courts are “having to prove their innocence a second time” in order to be granted compensation by the Secretary of State for Justice. He said that the number of compensation claims granted has “entirely haemorrhaged” over the past five years.
Even if Andrew Maliknson is granted compensation, he may not receive the full amount. Up to 25 per cent if his award could be taken to pay for the cost of his food, accommodation and living expenses while he was in prison, a policy Andrew Malkinson says he finds “abhorrent.”
Reports say that Rishi Sunak has asked the Home Office to look at Andrew Malkinson’s case – and to make sure that wrongly convicted people are being treated fairly.
Today’s episode was written and mixed by Ella Hill.