Man cleared after Daniel Barnett suggests investigation into “bent” copper
Daniel Barnett helped Stephen Simmons, a man wrongly jailed for theft, to clear his name after four decades of being haunted by the conviction.
Simmons was sentenced to eight months in prison, losing his job, his flat, and his family’s trust, after DS Derek Ridgewell of the British Transport Police arrested him for mailbag theft in 1976. Simmons, and two friends who were also arrested, had been told by the duty solicitor that ‘if we called the police liars the judge would send us to prison for a very long time.’
The Guardian describes how, four years ago, Simmons was listening to Daniel Barnett answer legal questions on LBC radio and rang in to ask for advice on clearing his name. Barnett suggested he Google the name of the officer.
It emerged that Ridgewell ‘was not only a mailbag thief himself but also notorious for a series of high-profile cases that had major ramifications for race relations’. Ridgewell had been jailed for seven years in 1980 and died in prison two years later, after a heart attack.
Simmons approached the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) and his case has now been referred to the court of appeal.
To read more about this case, see The Guardian.
Barristers: Daniel Barnett