Thursday, February 3, 2005

Peter Hakala: Miscarriage of Justice


UK: The year was 1986, and on direct instructions from Mr Michael Saunders an Australian police informer who got his wife Mary Saunders to make rape allegations against me. I was subsequently arrested and taken to the police station where I made a written statement on 6 January 1986.

Shortly thereafter Mrs Mary Saunders withdrew her allegation and I was released.

A few days later a Mrs Avigdor contacted the very same police station in London and spoke with the same police officer and had me charge with her rape prompted by Michael Saunders the police informer.

I was subsequently rearrested and have remained in prison ever since.

Mary Saunders then reinstated her original allegation and Michael Saunders made a statement against me and became a listed police witness in my case.

I did not make anymore statements but strangely two other statements turned up on January 10 & 11 1986, unsigned? I was not even in the same location when those two fabricated statements were made and I only made the January 6 statement.

Mary Saunders made her statement January 6 86, she was from an 'outer suburb' of London called Richmond Hill and I was taken and charged at Richmond Hill police station.

Mrs, Avigdor made her statement on January 8, 86, she was from Earls Court an 'inner' suburb of London

In a three-day interim period 19 items were seized for forensic evidence as detailed in a statement from Detective Inspector Shepperdson and other police including DC Hollingsworth.

Police detailed in DI Shepperdson's statement made on 29 January 86, stating the items have been destroyed by the authority?

The trial commenced on 24, July 86, for count 1 Rape - count 2 Assault (occasioning actual bodily harm) - count 3 Rape - count 4 Rape - count 5 threatening to kill, (pleaded not guilty to all charges).

Michael Saunders was made subject of a 'Full Bound Witness Order', which required his attendance at the trial for the prosecution.

Mary Saunders also brought charges against Michael Saunders for violence towards her and a deportation order was issued against him. Subsequently he was deported back to Australia on 25, July 86, one day into my trial and I was not informed about this deportation by the prosecution.

The deportation was raised and addressed in the Court of Appeal, which refused leave on 25 March 88. I gave oral evidence under oath before the jury as advised by my barrister and evidence given by the two interviewing officers was left unchallenged.

The Jury of 12 members retired to consider their verdicts on 30 July 86, and the jury were directed by the judge to issue a unanimous verdict but were unable to and the judge therefore ordered that he would accept a majority verdict.

They found me guilty on count 5 and count 2. However after some 8 hours because they could not agree on the rape charges, the judge discharged the jury and ordered a retrial.

The senior barrister throughout both trials changed around twice. My solicitors originally instructed J Wadsworth QC who prepared for the first trial.

The case was transferred to Arthur Davidson QC who had never seen me or the papers.

Mr Davidson completed the first trial and was logically expected to act in the second trial. Mr Davidson chose to retire from the bar in between the first and second trial. The case was then transferred to Mr Wadsworth who took over until the completion of the second trial.

The second trial commenced on 3 December 86, at Central Criminal Court in London. Three days into the trial on 6 December 86, the judge who normally sat in Southwark Crown Court took the trial with him. I faced charges in relation to counts 1 & 3, & 4 and after five hours of deliberation and a direction by the judge to find a majority verdict, the jury found me guilty unanimously on all three counts.

I sought leave to appeal on 5 May 87. The grounds of the appeal were based principally on Michael Saunders deportation. Leave was refused when the application was heard in the full court on 25 March 88.

On 8 June 98, with a new solicitor an application was made to the Criminal Case Review Commission (CCRC), the application was based on fresh evidence, which cast doubt over the authenticity of the two police interviews. The CCRC, investigated the claim and took the decision on 5 June 2000, that the evidence raised sufficient doubts and referred the case back to the Court of Appeal.

The Court of Appeal refused the application on 19 March 2002. Steps were taken to appeal to the House of Lords however proceedings were abandoned on 14, October 2003.

So 30, July 86 - Central Criminal Court - convicted of assault, found not guilty of threat to kill, jury unable to decide on three rape charges, judge ordered a retrial.

9, December 86 - Southwark Crown Court - convicted of rape 3 counts.

5, May 87, - Court of Appeal (Criminal Division) - leave to appeal refused by a single judge.

25, March 88, - Full Court of Appeal (Criminal Division) - leave to appeal refused.

5, June 2000 - CCRC - granted referral back to the Court of Appeal.

19, March 2002 - Court of Appeal (Criminal Division) -leave to appeal refused.

Forensic Handwriting Document Examiners: Robert W Radley, who completed an ESDA test on 10 & 11 January on the (fabricated statements) stated that the outcome was, that the starting time seemed to be the same as the completion time. That numerous pages have been rewritten. And some further pages had been rewritten from the rewritten pages.

Linguistic Professor, Nixon completed numerous tests on 6 January 86, on the statement which I made and the consecutive statements produced by the police on 10 & 11 January 86. His findings were, if Mr Hakala made the statement on 6 January 86, then he can't be the same person who made the statements on 10 & 11 January 86.

Mr J Wadsworth QC who today is a Judge of the Crown Court sent me a letter dated 6 August 2002, where he stated not to challenge the honesty of the police.

Mr Dave Parry, Chief Scientist Group the Forensic Science Service, on a letter dated 31 October 2003, indicated they have found tapings now of my case which has been stored away and are of the complainants pants (No Semen Stains) and they could not find my DNA on the complainants items.

The police took almost 30 different items to the Forensic Science Service for forensic testing but FSS could not find any criminating evidence against me.

As soon as the two detectives DC Robert Hollingsworth and DI Peter Shepperdson were informed about the ESDA test their story again changed. Also note the record page was written before the front page. Hollingsworth stated, "It was common practice to pre-head the front page".

This is nonsense it is against all instructions and would not be common practice. Hollingsworth stated, "Notes were passed as an aid memoire". But where are these original notes? Police are instructed that all notes must be retained.

Shepperdson stated that all notes were offered to Hakala for examination and signature. He stated that he did not read the notes to Hakala who had declined to sign. By stating "I handed the notes to Hakala" it must be the case that I took hold of the notes according to the police otherwise he would state Hakala refused to accept or read the notes. Therefore my fingerprints and DNA will be present on the documents. The original documents i.e. all three interviews should be provided for testing for the following reasons.

I accept that I was handed the first interview and read it. Therefore common sense dictates they will contain my DNA and fingerprints, but I will state that interview 2 and 3 were fabricated and that I had never been present or had ever been handed the notes to read as stated by Shepperdson.

Therefore if I am telling the truth no DNA or fingerprints of mine will be present by carrying out their tests and it will confirm once and for all whether the two police officers are telling the truth or if in fact they committed perjury and conspired together to pervert the course of justice.

There have been numerous wrongful convictions in the past and this is not the first and will not be the last miscarriage of justice. In response to public concern about wrongful conviction the Government has stated they have an absolute determination to acquit the innocent, yet this is a promise that they cannot fulfil.

Public awareness should be raised of wrongful convictions. Also experienced groups with representation from academic campaign oranisations and criminal appeal lawyers should undertake research that identify the causes of wrongful convictions that effects legal reform of the criminal justice system.

Its contribution to the resolution of wrongful convictions as this case will primarily be its work to undertake and deploy evidence based research into both the causes of and the provisions that exist to remedy wrongful convictions.

This could also educate future lawyers in how wrongful convictions like mine occur and how to overturn them, by developing their skills of investigation and fostering an in dept understanding of appellate procedure. This wrongful conviction should also inject some scepticism into future lawyers. Open their eyes to the realities of criminal procedures.

Let's surface total truth and find justice for Peter Hakala.

You can contact Peter at,
B Wing HMP
5, Love Lane,
Wakefield WF2 9AG

By Peter Hakala 3 February 05