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 should have access to the media is set out in Prison Service Instruction 37/2010 and is only allowed for research purposes. Only in exceptional circumstances will such access be granted… Mr Alexander’s case was not considered an exceptional circumstance”.
I have contemplated writing to you on our family’s behalf for some time, but felt it best not to trouble you unless I had first exhausted all other avenues. That point has now been reached. After eight years of patiently and faithfully waiting upon procedure and protocol, the urgency of this matter can wait no longer.
I have spent these last eight years in prison for a murder I did not commit, and – perversely – am doubly-punished for having passed-up a charge bargain that would have seen me freed many years ago on manslaughter.
To make matters still worse, it was my own father who was killed. Losing him whilst simultaneously losing my freedom has been an unbearable torture. To be accused of killing someone I love and admire so dearly is a sensation beyond grief itself.
My mother, her family, and my father’s family all vouch for my innocence – and together we cry out for justice. Yet the past eight years have brought little of that. They have only served to compound our shared misery.
It did not take long for evident anomalies in this case to spark the interest of observant investigators. In January 2014, a concerned documentary producer began scrutinising the evidence in more detail. She applied to your Press Office for permission to subject me to questioning on the basis of evidential developments subsequent to trial, and to record the process on film. I agreed to this request and remain willing for my testimony to be scrutinised by experts and members of the public.
It took 26 months for your Press Office to formally respond, causing our family much unnecessary anxiety and distress. Rather than expressing sympathy and encouragement, we found the Press Office reluctant to facilitate the interview, or even engage with us.
Further submissions were made by the Producer in September 2017, but 8 months on, and in spite of repeated follow-ups, we have not received so much as an acknowledgement.
We expected the Ministry of Justice to be keen to support rather than frustrate efforts to uncover wrongful convictions, particularly in the difficult investigatory stages preceding any formal review procedure. Yet the extraordinary delays we have experienced give the impression at least that your department does not take miscarriages of justice seriously, and that this phenomenon is a low priority for them.
I trust and pray that this impression is misleading. Indeed, I firmly believe that the Ministry of Justice’s values are not reflective of this behaviour. This is why I am writing to you today to call for your personal support and intervention in this urgent matter. I have written this letter openly because I believe others will wish to echo this call to you directly.
I can assure you that our application meets the legal threshold required to authorise such an exceptional request. The circumstances are highly unique and readily distinguishable. I do not intend to labour over the legal justifications here, although these are covered in the Producer’s latest submissions, of which I enclose a copy.
What is needed here is political will more than anything else. The will to uncover the truth; to remedy past wrongs where those are apparent; to see justice done for our family.
This interview will not be a comfortable experience for me. My evidence will be interrogated, my credibility tested, unanswered questions will be asked – and under considerable pressure. Nevertheless, I have a duty and a responsibility to my father and to my family to see this through. I intend to cooperate fully with this process because I know it will encourage people to come forward with information which they may have been reluctant to divulge all those years ago.
To give but one example, four household assistants worked in my father’s home at the time of his death. All were registered under false identities. Only one came forward during the original police investigation, but no statement was taken. The remainder were neither identified nor traced. This represents an alarming gap in our knowledge and understanding of the case, but it is not the only one. Only an appeal to the public could yield such information, which is why this documentary – and my participation – is so important.
I’d like to thank you for your time and consideration and would of course be happy to answer any questions you may have. I look forward to hearing from you and hope you will be willing to support our efforts to secure justice.
In July 2023, the Ministry of Justice finally agreed to allow interviews with Mark to go ahead, following a landmark Judicial Review in the High Court. Practitioners and campaigners looking to make similar applications may find the following pack useful, which contains a copy of all the Court documentation and correspondence that led to this breakthrough: