This site has been created for Alex Henry who was sentenced to 19 years imprisonment (minimum mandatory) in March 2014 for Joint Enterprise murder and GBH with intent. He was found to be guilty by association. Alex is supported by JENGbA (Joint Enterprise Not Guilty by Association).
Alex's mum & sister on BBC2 Victoria Derbyshire Show, 25th January 2018 here (35 minutes in)
BREAKING NEWS - On Thursday 25th January 2018 Parliament held a Backbench Committee Debate on joint enterprise. Concern was raised about Alex's case by a number of M.Ps (see quotes and link to transcription below) including Lucy Powell M.P who instigated the debate together with Andrew Mitchell M.P and Stephen Pound M.P who had travelled more than once up to Peterborough to visit Alex. Alex has autism and his appeal was dismissed because the CPS alleged his mother may have 'used her PhD to coach Alex to be autistic' (despite expert witness Professor Baron-Cohen's evidence), therefore Barry Sheerman M.P., in his capacity as Chair for Westminster Commission on Autism, also raised concerns about Alex's case and has again raised this at another debate on Austim and the Criminal Justice System on Tuesday 30th January 2018.
You can read the HANSARD transcription of the debate published by Parliament here;
Andrew Mitchell M.P. (Conservative) 'I visited Alex Henry in prison in Cambridgeshire. Shortly after his conviction for joint-enterprise murder, he was diagnosed with autism. I have taken a close interest in his case over the past two years and think it one of immense concern.'
'The right to a fair trial is a basic human right. I worry that, in respect of these cases, our courts are too keen to block appeals by those who might have been convicted by error of the courts. Such behaviour serves only to undermine our faith in the justice system. There is a tendency in Britain to believe that we have the best criminal justice system in the world. I put it to the House that our attitude to the British crime and justice system is riddled with a complacency that is wholly unjustified. That view would be borne out by any fair-minded person who focused on joint enterprise.'
Stephen Pound M.P. (Labour) 'When Alex’s sister first contacted me about this case, I could scarcely believe it. I had known the family. He had lived a couple of streets away from me'
'I hope that today will be the beginning of a process that leads to people like Alex Henry seeing daylight, and his child and his family, again. When I last saw Alex—I have visited him a couple of times—he was keeping his head down and keeping his nose clean. He was working in the kitchen. He actually had kind words for the staff at HMP Whitemoor, but the hope was going out of his eyes. You could actually see him looking at that long, long stretch ahead of him'.
'As my hon. Friend the Member for Huddersfield (Mr Sheerman) mentioned, Alex is a man on the autism spectrum. In his appeal, evidence was submitted on his behalf by none less than Professor Baron-Cohen. One cannot get a higher authority than that. Was that opinion accepted? Clearly not, because my constituent is still in prison. He is a young, autistic man who, for 40 seconds of his life, did not stop something happening. He did not do anything wrong; he did not stop it happening. Can it really be right in this day and age that the law we are all sworn to uphold—that we are a part of as part of the establishment of this country—is having that impact on people, disproportionately on young black men, and disproportionately on the innocent?'
'This piece of draconian, lead-like law was brought in to crush a threat that did not actually exist.'
'There are few tasks more melancholy that visiting a constituent in prison, and one of the frustrations is the inability to do much more than sympathise and show that they are not forgotten. I think that JENGbA’s work is so crucial because it shows that these people have not been forgotten. Would it be inconvenient for the judicial system to review thousands of cases? ..As far as I am concerned, they have the right to call upon the judicial system and, if necessary, to be inconvenient.'
Barry Sheerman M.P (Labour) and Chair for Westminster Commission on Autism. 'The particular case of Alex Henry is of great importance. I chair the Westminster Commission on Autism, and several people in this ghastly predicament are on the autism spectrum and have been taken totally out of care.'
Ruth Cadbury M.P (Labour) 'The professor’s [Baron-Cohen] report states that it is incredibly unlikely that Alex could have foreseen what would or might happen in those 40 seconds since, due to his autism, he cannot predict the actions, behaviours or intentions of others. The Court of Appeal rejected that ground because Alex’s mother has a PhD in psychology and so she could have coached Alex in “how to act autistic”. That is shocking.'
'Anybody who has had any contact with people who have been diagnosed with autism at a later stage knows that the condition is often not diagnosed early. Many people go though many difficulties in their lives before being diagnosed, if at all. Alex was one of those in that unlucky situation.'
'For the sake of Alex, the thousands of others imprisoned under joint enterprise and their loved ones, I support the calls of colleagues across the House that the injustice be rectified. Let us right the wrong. '
On 11th August 2017 Alex's appeal was dismissed. We called the eminent Professor Baron-Cohen as our expert witness who diagnosed Alex with autism and wrote a report declaring Alex is innocent as he would not have foreseen or known the possibility that the victim would be stabbed by another person. The CPS did not counter expertise with expertise but instead relied on the very limited knowledge of the prosecutor who was recorded as saying the Professor's diagnosis was not credible because 'autistic people do not laugh' because they do not understand jokes. Further to that, the prosecution verbally defamed the characters of both the expert witness, Professor Baron-Cohen and Alex's mother, Dr Halsall who they asserted used her PhD to 'coach' her son to be autistic and 'pull the wool over the eyes' of the expert witness.
They won. This is a symptom of the shameful state of our justice system. This does not surprise us and will not make us be quiet. JENGbA are not going away. We will never stop fighting for Alex.
We will continue to campaign for the remaining 749 prisoners supported by JENGbA, some as young as 13, who are wrongfully imprisoned under Joint Enterprise. We will once more challenge the law and in particular the way that children and people with disabilities are treated by the UK justice system.
The Appeal Judgment has many inaccuracies, and it is clear from reading it that the outcome was a foregone conclusion around which the Judges have shaped inferential evidence. The judgment can be read here:
First article to rebut this;
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