Innocent online - Evidence-Based Justice Lab online
Convicted in 1974 at the age of 25 of a number of bombings – of the National Defence College in Buckinghamshire, a coach on the M62 motorway and Euston Station in London – Judith Ward was released from prison when her conviction was quashed on 11 May 1992. She has since written a book: Ambushed – My Story.
The appeal court was told the original trial had not been informed of Ward’s history of mental illness before her arrest and her possible unfitness to plead. Neither the court nor her family were told of a suicide attempt while Ward was in custody.
The appeal court was told Ward had changed her ‘confession’ several times, and police and the prosecution had to select parts of her statements to construct a plausible version. The prosecution also concealed other important facts from the defence.
As well, evidence from discredited forensic scientist Frank Skuse had been important to her conviction. Innocent online article
Judith Ward was convicted of murder for a number of bombings. She confessed to the murder, and evidence forensic science evidence was introduced to support her conviction. On appeal, evidence cast doubt on the reliability of her confession – she suffered from a personality disorder and had changed the confession several times and the prosecution had selected parts of her statements to construct a plausible version. Forensic science evidence from the original trial was also discredited. It was found that scientists had failed to disclose evidence, that some of their results were valueless and that many of their conclusions were demonstrably wrong. On that basis the Court of Appeal concluded that there was a material irregularity in the first trial, and the conviction was quashed. Evidence-Based Justice Lab online