Campaigners are calling for signatures on a new petition which calls on David Cameron to reform joint enterprise laws.
A new petition by the campaigning group, Joint Enterprise Not Guilty by Association (JENGbA), calls on the prime minister to ‘Help get rid of the 300-year old law that is imprisoning our children’.
According to the group, the laws disproportionately affect people from BME communities. Its evidence to the Joint Enterprise inquiry carried out by the Justice Committee in 2011 found that: ‘We have no doubt this law is used extensively and that usage is increasing. JENGbA has at 8 September 2011 records of 256 people who claim to be innocent of the crime of which they were convicted through use of the joint enterprise law. Members of JENGbA have investigated in depth approximately fifty of these cases. We will refer to these cases as JENGbA cases. Of these, a large proportion claim to have been not responsible for any crime at all at the time when the crime of which they were convicted occurred. 51% of those convicted in JENGbA cases are from black and other ethnic minorities. Those individuals will be drawn from the young, the poor, and the socially excluded. They will be drawn from the cohort of individuals targeted by the police through use of inappropriate “intelligence” gathering. They are likely to include a disproportionate number of black and ethnic minority members.’
The campaign has been drawing support from many quarters. Lord Herman Ouseley has recently become a patron. Its first patron, Jimmy McGovern, is making a drama on the issue for the BBC. And the joint enterprise has recently been covered in the media with pieces by Melanie Mcfadyean, Eric Allison and Simon Hattenstone.
You can sign the petition here.
Read an IRR News story: ‘Joint enterprise, racism and BME communities‘
Guardian article: ‘New guidelines could reduce wrongful convictions under “joint enterprise” law’
Guardian article: ‘The three women fighting to clear their loved ones’ names’