Trial & Error TV - Evidence-Based Justice Lab online -
The fire brigade came quickly but it was already too late. The house – tinder dry, derelict, and scheduled for demolition – had gone up like a torch. No-one could be sure if the occupants had got out. They were a random shifting population of down-and-outs. Trial & Error: Mary Druhan, Channel 4 1993
Another homeless person was found guilty of setting the house on fire. That made Mary Druhan guilty of murder twice over, killing two men, a friend and a lover. ibid.
We believe that Mary Druhan, for ever one of life’s casualties, is now a victim of a miscarriage of justice. ibid.
Justice was uneasy about the conviction of Mary Druhan … ‘Absolutely no forensics.’ ibid.
How little and unreliable the evidence. ibid.
Mary Druhan was convicted of two counts of murder by arson. At the relevant time Druhan was part of a group of alcoholic vagrants including the two victims of the arson (Richard Duddy and Kenneth Roberts), Joe Neary and Bob Smith. One of the victims and Druhan had for some years had a very close relationship, but he had since fallen for another woman. On the day of the fire, Druhan had been drinking with Roberts and Smith. Evidence about the events of the evening was presented from multiple witnesses. One important witness was Fludgate who testified that he heard Druhan say ‘I’m going to kill you’ to Roberts on at least two occasions and saw Druhan hit Roberts in the pub. This evidence was important since it suggested Druhan had a motive for wanting to kill Roberts. On appeal, it was demonstrated that the Crown had not disclosed evidence that Fludgate had a criminal record and a history of drug addiction and treatment. The court noted that Druhan’s counsel would have likely used this to discredit Fludgate. The court noted that this would put a different complexion on what transpired in the pub and what must have appeared a ‘clear thread’ leading the suspect and contradictory evidence of others to be weighed more heavily. On this basis, the court allowed the appeal and quashed the conviction. Evidence-Based Justice Lab online article