London Against Injustice (LAI), which provides indispensible support to families of victims of miscarriages of justice, is helping launch a political campaign against joint enterprise cases.
LAI is part of the umbrella group United Against Injustice, which has branches across the country, and unites families and friends of people who have been wrongfully convicted of a crime they did not commit.
The group meets monthly to share information and advice on how to fight miscarriages of justice. Though its members are not legal advisors, their collective knowledge of battling the legal system means they can offer families in similar situations advice on how to fight their own cases.
LAI has seen its numbers continue to grow since its inception in 2007, as more and more families seek support, advice and practical information about helping the innocent victims of miscarriages of justice. In recent months, joint enterprise convictions have been one of the principle injustices driving families to seek its help. A recent meeting at the House of Commons, with hundreds of people packed into an overflowing room, saw families from across the country queuing up to speak about loved ones serving long prison sentences as a result of involvement in crimes prosecuted under joint enterprise laws.
LAI told IRR News: ‘We believe that this is a discriminatory law, it particularly targets working class boys from all cultural backgrounds, and incriminates them under a false joint enterprise charge even if their actual involvement in the offence was minimal.’ The campaign will raise awareness of the dangers of this 300-year-old common law, originally brought against those involved in duels, which especially affects those of black and Asian origin who are disproportionately over-represented at every stage of the criminal justice system.