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Miscarriages of Justice Investigations – Going Beyond the Bundle

Deconstructing a wrongful conviction is a painstaking process. Often, once all the tripwires that floored the original jury have been carefully exposed, a case will require extensive investigative efforts to reveal previously unseen evidence that can exonerate the individual, or at least raise serious doubts about the veracity of the...

The Need for Speed – Improving the Criminal Cases Review Commission

One of the many problems plaguing the Criminal Cases Review Commission – the body set up to review potential miscarriages of justice in England and Wales – is the sheer length of time that it takes them to consider any given application. To help address the issue, the House of...

Wrongful Convictions and Bad Juries – ‘Lurking Doubt’ in the Court of Appeal

Proving your innocence in most cases requires finding some ‘fresh evidence’ that wasn’t available at your original trial, a challenge that stops many a wrongly convicted person in their tracks. Unless you are one of the lucky few able to acquire pro bono support, conducting a private investigation from behind...

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Getting a Wrongful Conviction back into Court: A tortured path

Most people wrongly convicted of a crime are quick to lodge an appeal within the allotted 28-day time limit. Unless there was something seriously wrong with the actual trial process however, your only hope of an acquittal is to find some fresh evidence that wasn’t available just a week or...

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The APPG on Miscarriages of Justice – Unfinished Business

In 2019, a Westminster Commission made up of a growing number of MPs concerned by the rising tide of wrongful convictions across England and Wales was formed across party political lines in search of solutions. Establishing an All-Party Parliamentary Group on Miscarriages of Justice (APPGMJ), they launched a public inquiry...

Bias and Injustice – A David and Goliath Story

Samuel Alexander disappeared in 2009. His body was later found buried at his family home. Despite a lack of DNA, eyewitnesses, or murder weapon – and with no cause or date of death – his only son Mark was convicted of murder. A law graduate, Mark has been investigating his...

The Many Lives of Samuel Alexander

Born in 1939, Samuel grew up in Egypt while it was still a British protectorate. His family worked in medicine and pharmaceuticals, but faced real poverty. After moving from Alexandria to Cairo, they lived in an apartment block without electricity or running water. As part of the minority Christian group...

Surviving Captivity – Tips from Prison for the Coronavirus Lockdown

The universality of Coronavirus (COVID-19), and the resulting measures being taken to limit its spread, represents a unique moment in the history of mankind. The experience of shared hardships has touched all of us at the same time, irrespective of our differences, and crossed all divides. Whoever we are, wherever...

Words and Music with Terry Waite

Mark organised a small fundraising event for Emmaus UK some years ago, whilst in prison. Terry Waite CBE, President of the charity, invited Mark to curate an afternoon of ‘Words and Music’ with him, reflecting upon a selection of moving poems from his new book, ‘Out of the Silence‘. We’ve...

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The case for decriminalisation

Mark’s visceral experience of the criminal justice system has impressed upon him the urgent need for reform. “You just don’t learn this kind of thing at law school, the real, practical issues that undermine and delegitimise the entire process”. Invited to contribute to a new book, ‘Crime and Consequence‘, Mark...

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10 things the Daily Mail got wrong about the trial of Mark Alexander

This article could just as easily have been called ’Ten ways the Daily Mail were misled by the crown prosecution service’, because in many ways the press isn’t to blame for the inaccuracies and calculated falsehoods recited in the prosecution’s opening speech – which they perhaps naturally, albeit uncritically, relied...

Mistake #1 – Post-mortem Confusion

“Gifted son gets life for butchering pushy father”. “He is accused of attempting to dismember him with a saw”. “He… tried to cut it up with an electric saw”. “A blade from a saw was found with the corpse… An electric saw was found in the house” – Excerpts from...

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Open Letter to the Lord Chancellor – Rt. Hon. David Gauke

Mark and his family would like to thank everyone who supported their petition to the Lord Chancellor, Rt. Hon. David Gauke MP (below). Unfortunately, the Ministry of Justice has not granted the media access to interview Mark in prison. They have since explained that “Consideration as to whether a prisoner...

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Mistake #2 – Cause of Death

Mark “battered his father to death”. Police discovered Samuel’s “dismembered body and battered skull”. Samuel died “having suffered blows to the head”. – Excerpts from the Daily Mail et al We simply don’t know how my father died. The Home Office Pathologist was “unable to formally ascribe a cause of...

Mistake #3 – Strange Smells

“Weeks after the disappearance… neighbours noticed there was a smell of ‘rotting sheep’ from the property”. SP “could not help but notice the strange smell that appeared to be emanating from Samuel’s home”. “At much the same time, a foul smell was noticed in the cul-de-sac”. – Excerpts from the...

Mistake #4 – Date of Death

“Forensic studies of the body indicated that Samuel had probably been murdered in early September”. “Traces found in the garage suggested that the body had been stored there for 2 months before being buried”. – Excerpts from the Daily Mail et al The Home Office Pathologist was unable to determine...

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Mistake #5 – Exhibits

“The nozzle from a petrol can, heavy-duty black gloves, and a roll of black plastic sheeting” were found in the house. – Excerpts from the Daily Mail et al What sensible household doesn’t have assorted sundries like these? Of course, we are supposed to insinuate some sinister purpose behind this...

Mistake #6 – Girlfriends

“Girlfriends were not permitted. Samuel Alexander would have seen them as a distraction”. Samuel “saw no room for girlfriends”. “Girlfriends were not welcome”. Samuel “disapproved of Mark having a girlfriend”. Samuel “barred him from having girlfriends”. – Excerpts from the Daily Mail et al These rather glib remarks were –...

Mistake #7 – Father-Son Relations

Mark “resented his father’s meddling, according to his girlfriend” Mark “had had enough of being bossed around”. Mark was “driven by the knowledge that only with his father out of the way could he live the life he wanted to lead”. Samuel “made him live with him at his home...

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Mistake #8 – Studying in Paris

Samuel “insisted his son attend the prestigious Sorbonne University in Paris Mark was “determined to finally have his way, weeks before he was due to start studying in the French capital”. Samuel “refused to allow him to live on campus, and instead searched for a ‘host family’, unaware that Mark...

Mistake #9 – Accommodation

“Mark maintained that Sami was living with him in London”. “Mark said he was living in a close Egyptian community in London with friends”. – Excerpts from the Daily Mail et al The semantics are important here because one could be forgiven for thinking that “living with him in London”...

Mistake #10 – Sami’s Health

Samuel was “barely mobile”, “increasingly frail”, and “walked with a stoop”. – Excerpts from the Daily Mail et al This is plainly not true. As the Honourable Judge Reddihough remarked in sentencing: “There is clear evidence before the court that by the time of this offence Sami had made a...

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The Suppliant’s Song – a Hymn written in prison

  Mark’s faith has been an important source of strength for him in prison. Many have been moved by Mark’s music in Church, where he plays the piano and violin for the weekly services. Mark wrote this special prayer for the prison choir, which speaks not only to his own...

Book Review: Parole and Beyond – International Experiences of Life after Prison

Asked to write a book review for the Prison Service Journal, Mark submitted this thought provoking piece on ‘Parole and Beyond‘, a comparative study of international parole systems that shines a spotlight on the hidden workings and effects of correctional justice. Parole and Beyond – International Experiences of Life after...

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Ministry of Justice Press Office refuses journalist access

Letter to the Head of News, External Communications Dear Madame,  Thank you for your letter of 31 August. I appreciate you giving our request some consideration. I must say, I was extremely surprised by the Ministry’s response given the length of time invested by all parties in this matter and...

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Innocence Projects – Green Shoots

Mark Alexander writing on the resurgence and growth of innocence projects in universities Originally published in Criminal Law and Justice Weekly – Issue 23 (2016) 180 JPN 411 – 415 [1]      Over the past 9 months I’ve been trying to get a sense of the health of the innocence project...

The Legacy of Magna Carta

Mark originally wrote this article for Inside Time, the national newspaper for prisoners and criminal justice practitioners in England and Wales. This June marks the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta, much lauded as the foundation stone of our British legal system. It was the one of the first documents...

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We need our Innocence Projects now more than ever

A shorter version of this article was first published on the Justice Gap The announcement that Innocence Network UK (INUK) had disbanded in September 2014 came as a real shock to those of us on the inside still fighting for justice. There had been no indication to those of us on...

Mark issues statement regarding CCRC’s refusal to refer his case

In 2015, the CCRC opted not to refer our first application to the Court of Appeal In spite of the new evidence we presented to the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC), it has decided not to refer my case to the Court of Appeal. This is because the CCRC do...

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CCRC response to formal complaint

This was the CCRC’s formal response to Mark’s complaint, following their decision not to refer his case to the Court of Appeal. You can read Mark’s reaction here.

Mark awarded DipABRSM – Singing Diploma in Prison

Mark studied for his Diploma in Music Performance (DipABRSM) whilst in prison, achieving a Merit. He was the first person to have ever attempted an exam at this level in prison. On a sunny afternoon in July, two examiners from the Royal Schools of Music traveled up to Leicester to...

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Prisoner Suffrage – Draft Voting Eligibility (Prisoners) Bill

The Joint Committee on the draft Voting Eligibility (Prisoners) Bill – comprised of 6 MPs and 6 Peers –recently invited interested organisations and individuals to tender written evidence as part of their inquiry into Prisoner Voting. This follows pressure on parliament from the Council of Europe to comply with the...

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Mark achieves Grade 8 Piano in Prison

After a year of study, Mark sat his grade 8 piano exam in prison, passing with Merit. Two diplomas and two degrees later, Mark is still looking for ways to stretch himself, and defy the apparent limitations of his circumstances. His latest project is developing a PhD research proposal. “When...

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Serious Case Review reveals truth behind Sami’s behaviour

This is an executive summary (not the full report) of the original 34-page Serious Case Review (SCR) commissioned by the police in March 2010, and conducted by Buckinghamshire County Council (pdf below). Three of the police officers involved in Mark’s case sat on this Serious Case Review, which met 5...

Memorial Service Eulogy

Although Mark wasn’t allowed to attend his father’s funeral as he awaited trial, friends were able to deliver this eulogy – written by Mark for the occasion – on his behalf, during the service held on 27 April 2010. Golden Memory Familiar sounds echo in new places, they follow me,...