Solicitors: Blaxland (Sunny), Bright (Stanley), Shiekh (Harrison), Roberts (John), Macaulay (Lucky), Reilly (Enahoro), Davis (Edward), Hoskin (Sambou).
Further information on defendants available here
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Week 1: Opening prosecution statement. Jon Graham, Chief Immigration Officer admits he wrongly identified Sunny as one of those shouting at him in statement but failed to correct statement.
Week 2: Prosecution witnesses fail to confirm the accusations made in statements, and some are caught lying. John Allen (in charge of Control and Restraint) denies holding detainee by neck during removal, but is shown on video to be doing so, in what looks like a strangulation. Terry Morley (Group 4 officer) admits, for the first time, to breaking the phones (this had previously been assumed to have been done by detainees). Caryn Mitchell-Hill (Group 4) accused Sunny of assaulting her in the doctor's corridor, but is shown going through the corridor to the dining room unimpeded.
Week 3: Chris Barry (Group 4) accuses Sunny of hitting him, and says he had solvent thrown over him. No evidence of injuries, and five minutes after "concussion" is seen walking around in good health, his shirt neither torn nor wet. He admits "there was room for mistaken identity" on everyone he had named.
1.6.98. The trial started later than intended, at 3p.m. No reporting of discussions that do not take place in front of the jury is permitted. The jury are expected to be sworn in on Wednesday.
3.6.98 The prosecution barrister, Nicholas Jarman, outlined the prosecution case today. He said that asylum seekers rioted in Britain's biggest immigration detention camp because they believed the private security company, Group 4, had strangled and murdered two detainees.
Mr Jarman said a large crowd of detainees advanced on the main gate and tried to force it, and staff in riot gear were used to contain them. The crowd also held placards made of cardboard which read: "We want justice". Police and reinforcements were summoned and during the day order was slowly restored.
The detention centre was monitored by 16 cameras outside and 16 inside, the view from each being transmitted to a central control room.
4.6.98 The prosecution concluded its opening statement, saying that identification would be key to this case. John Graham, the Chief Immigration Officer who works at Campsfield House took the stand. He had made a statement in October that the defendant Sunny Ozidede had used threatening words and actions on August 19, the day before the disturbance, and as a result he had put an order for him to be moved. However he admitted in court that he did not know the defendants' names, and that he realised after the disturbance that Sunny Ozidede was not the man who had threatened him. Nevertheless, he had not corrected his statement, although he had made other alterations.
5.6.98 Court adjourned as one of the defendants was ill.
8.6.98 Court adjourned as one of the defendants (who cannot be named) was ill. He has been in a psychiatric hospital since January and his doctor had previously said that he would not be well enough to stand trial.
9.6.98 Psychiatrists agreed that the minor was too sick to stand trial. Case against him is 'stayed'. This means that the charges have not been proved or disproved. Theoretically he could be tried if he gets well but that it is unlikely as the trial of the other eight will already have happened.
First witness: Mr Jasper, Centre manager
Highlights of his cross-examination
Mr Reilly (counsel for Enaharo) questioned Jasper for some time over the positioning of the display board showing Group 4's 'mission statement' in regards to treatment of detainees and in particular their 'non-racist policy'.
Jasper, after lengthy questioning and looking at map of Campsfield House, admitted that there are no such statements displayed where detainees can see them. (There is one in the reception area for visitors)
Also some discussion over what Jasper could remember. He said in court that he put a knife IN a safe. But his statement said he did not know who put the knife in the safe but he took it OUT to give to the catering manager.
Second witness: John Allen, Senior supervisor on Red Shift at Campsfield
(NB all shifts are 12 hours long)
John Allen in charge of C&R (Control and Restraint) team of 5 people moving detainee T. Said used Home Office approved methods of moving. [NB. only referring to detainee as T as have no reason to publish his name]
Mr Blaxland (counsel for Sunny) cross-examined witness at length. Several points were covered:
HB: You were aware that moving T would creat problems. You knew it caused
unhappiness with other detainees. Did you call moving someone 'bumped out'?
JA: No. Don't know the term
HB: Did other people use the term 'bumped out'?
JA: No, not as far as I know
HB: Was it called a 'lift'?
HB: Did you anticipate difficulty with this lift?
HB: How many of you held him and how?
JA: 3 people held him with one person holding the head to protect it
HB: Please describe the head hold
JA: one hand on top of the head and one hand on the side to prevent bumping
HB: isn't this hold used to prevent kicking?
JA: no, to prevent bumping
HB: is it not used to prevent the detainee from kicking the guard (see
police training leaflet) which says this.
JA: that is before the lock is in place. Once the lock is held, the head is held to protect it.
HB: The detainees said they saw someone being strangled. Was he held by the neck
Court shown footage of guards taking T through courtyard from security
camera 16. Shown again in slow motion. This was a courtyard that other detainees could see.
HB: Do you agree that guard Kevin Galloway had hands on neck?
JA: Like just after passing a driving test - you don't do everything by the book
HB: Do you agree that his hands where on his neck?
JA: No, but near neck. Point of hold is to secure head
HB: Do you agree it is very dangerous to hold neck
JA: There is a world of difference [between the two holds]. Not text book C&R
HB: Don't think that seeing this, the other detainees would think that he is being strangled.
JA: no answer
HB: Want to look at your statement to Group 4 Ltd from 22 October [day before statement made to police]. You say that someone being 'bumped out' had provoked an earlier rooftop protest in May. So you used the term 'bumped out' and you do know it.
JA: Obviously I told a lie. But not deliberately
HB: an undeliberate lie?
JA: yes, but don't usually use this expression.
HB: But you told us that you have NEVER used this expression.
HB: On the removal of T. Did you know that he was sick and did you
personally think that he shouldn't have been detained in Campsfield?
JA: I didn't think that. It is not my place to make those sort of judgements. Not a doctor.
HB: But didn't you personally think that he should not be detained?
HB: But in your written report of the fire alarm being let off on a
previous night which refers to T, let us see what you said:
JA given copy of statement and asked to read out....
JA '...Mr T who should not be detained because of his health.'
JA: but that is taken out of context. I was saying what T was saying.
HB: Well, we've had one lie so far... have we another?
HB: How was Mr Jasper [Group 4 manager] to determine that is what you meant?
JA: very different
HB: Did you tell another lie?
Mr Davis (counsel for Edward)
GD: Was the phrase 'bumped out' a common one?
GD: Did others use this phrase?
JA: Don't know
GD: But in your statement you say: 'They say "we want these two people bumped out".' Who are they that you are referring to?
JA: The Immigration Service and Group 4
GD: Did they say these words to you?
GD: Then why did you use it?
JA: it was a figure of speech
Then long and boring cross-examination about why John Allen marched into the TV room at one point and turned down the sound and then marched out again. There had been some fire alarms go off that night and someone had called 999 and said there was a fire.
Later heard how John Allen was the officer which called 'Operation Thunderstorm' which is the term used by Group 4 to evacuate guards from one building to another. Also meant that Group 4 brought in guards from as far afield as Yorkshire to Campsfield.
Witness: Timothy Allen (no relation to John Allen)
Part of team to 'lift' [remove] detainee B
Highlights of the cross-examination...
(HB=Mr Blaxland, Sunny's counsel)
HB: you used to be a supervisor
TA: was demoted
HB: for dereliction of duty?
TA: I don't think so
HB: Somebody else did surely?
TA: obviously, yes
HB: how many black African males in Campsfield in August last year?
TA: about 25-30
HB: actually 44
HB: how many names did you know?
TA: maybe 6-7
Longer discussion on how names were known. This is a repeating theme. TA claims knows names through dinner duty (they ticked their names off at meal times to check they were getting the right meals) but he only knew Sunny's first name although whole name was printed on sheet. Then claimed he knew Sunny from playing football.
HB: Any other basis for identifying Sunny other than meal times?
TA: use facilities, get to know and see people. Sometimes there are problems and a name sticks in the mind.
HB: any problems with Sunny
TA: no problems with Sunny
Then goes back to police statements
HB: police kept coming back to get further statements. In November you were asked to be more specific about how you had recognised Sunny. Read your statement p.2
TA: quoting statement: "Knew Sunny from dining room duty. Have dealt with one of his complaints about food."
HB: what was the complaint
TA: minor complaint. Rice not enough. lot of people complain. It was a common thing.
HB: did you recognise him from his complaint about food
TA: no, from dining room duties
HB: everybody goes to the dining room. But you can only remember names of 6 black Africans. How did you do that? You need to be more specific. You were in your statement.
TA: was in my statement so must have been true
JUDGE: misunderstanding. Could recognise the defendant before there was a complaint about the food
HB: His honour has helped you. Passage deals with how you identified. I have dealt with one of his complaints. Until I referred to his complaint you made no mention of it.
HB: did you see John Allen and Mo Stone yesterday
HB: Any discussion of case
HB: did you decide to leave out the sentence about the food because all complaints have to be recorded.
TA: completely forgot
HB: In your September statement you were asked to be specific about what
people were wearing. Your list of names of people doesn't include Sunny.
You say of him and others 'cannot recall what others wearing'
TA: must have said it
HB: You have said that Sunny threw something at you. Isn't it important to provide some description of what clothing he was in?
TA: wasn't asked
HB: when you were asked whether you had recorded, you said you had
TA: yes, I had
HB: you hadn't seen him
Watched film of TA on roof
HB: who's that big man
TA: Mr Barry
HB: what's he doing? [Mr Barry is the group 4 guard who was allegedly hit on the head in the doctor's corridor]
TA: can't remember
HB: when you were asked specifically about Mr Barry you told a group 4 manager about him in the doctors corridor and said that that was the only involvement that Barry had.
TA: don't remember exact statement
HB: was there an agreement between you and Chris Barry to take him out of the script? You said in earlier evidence that there was only two of you on the roof.
Watch more film
HB: can't miss Mr Barry [he's a big man]. and there you met with him and went over to right hand side together. Now we can see Mr McFadyeen there but not you. You're not there.
TA: not at that particular point
HB: here you are coming back. Now there are three of you on roof.
HB: when you said you were alone on roof that was completely wrong
TA: I suppose, yes
HB: you say that you saw Sunny at the gate. Was he in amongst a large crowd?
HB: was he at the front
TA: can't say
HB: This is a criminal trial. He's in the dock. You must know where you saw him
TA: virtually at the front
HB: did he have a weapon
HB: what was he doing
TA: verbal abuse
HB: you mean he was shouting 'freedom'
Mr Bright (Stanley's counsel)
Long and stiff interrogation about how could he say that he saw Stanley when we can't see him at the gate in the video and yet TA claims to have been hit by him.
Looked at film
DB: Do you see Stanley?
TA: that's Stanley (man with hat, bandaged hand and dumbbell in hand)
DB: you say that is definitely him
TA: I believe it is
DB you know there were no young blacks who were similarly dressed, had similar hairstyles? Do you agree that there were others with similar hairstyles?
DB: that one there not Stanley - just looked like it
DB: Did you say that the person who hit you had a hat on?
TA: no didn't say that in statement
...look at film more
DB: stop film. Are you still saying that is Stanley? [film shows face of man with hat on]
DB: agree that on this film we haven't seen Stanley
DB: 187 detainees at Campsfield then. No more than 45 black Africans and 13 black females. Even on the hypothesis that every black male was at gate 2, there would still be a majority who were not black. And yet you have identified only black males.
DB: Is this purely coincidental?
TA: No, just people I have seen there
Ms Macauley (Lucky's counsel):
M: do you know my client
M: In statement you said can't remember very well because 10 months ago
M: Did you mention the name Lucky in your statements to the police
TA: looks and can't find it....
TA: oh no, I didn't
looks at other statements
TA: no I can't find any mention...
M: You didn't mention Lucky in any of your 4 statements to police. Why do you mention him now.
TA: I don't know
M: was he making a made rush to the gate?
TA: can't remember
JUDGE: you can't remember, and yet you mention him today under a serious charge
M: was he in the group? What was he doing?
TA: don't know
Mr Reilly (Enaharo's counsel)
JR: when you got the gate (in riot gear) was it shut
Looked at film of guards in riot gear moving towards gate
JR: look at film. Before you got there you can see a detainee already
JR: who was that
TA: don't know
JR: were you at the front
JR: gate was already open wasn't it. It had been forced open
JR: how could you have seen them running to the gate from 60 yards away? It is not true, is it?
TA: it is the truth
JR: how so, if one is already through before you got to the gate
TA: don't know
JR: are you suggesting that the film has been tampered with
JR: Is your memory that gate hadn't been forced at this point?
JR: and that detainees were some 60 ft away. That can't be right, can it?
JR: does this mean that your recollection must be entirely wrong
JR: have you another explanation?
JR: were you asked to attend an identification procedure [line up] to see if
the people in your statement were the ones you thought they were?
JR: you gave names to police officer who came to see you. Were the police officers ever able to check names against who exactly they were?
TA: don't know
JR: Until today you had no idea that there were TWO officers on the roof [in the video you can see him talking to the two]
11.6.98 A security guard at Campsfield House immigration detention centre smashed a phone with his baton after seeing detainees using it during the alleged riot.
Group 4 guard Terry Morley told Oxford Crown Court he and a colleague broke the phone "for the detainees' own safety".
But defence barrister David Bright told him: "You used a piece of gratuitous violence to make the scene look worse for the people who are being prosecuted."
Mr Morley said he and a colleague put out a fire in the ladies' day room and then saw two detainees using a phone nearby.
He told the court: "We told them to get out and for their own safety smashed the handset with a baton."
Prosecution Witness: Desmond Wilkinson, Group 4 employee for 4 years, at Campsfield House all that time. Training and development coordinator, responsible for training recruits.
20th Aug 1997
Arrived CH 6:40am, went to Crew Room and realised two detainees had been removed that morning.
: There is a term used for that,what is it?
: So two detainees had been "Lifted"
7:10am My morning Coffee was interrupted because detainees were seen in Blue Block area so we were asked to monitor the centre. I went to staircase A along the Doctor's Corridor. I looked through the dining room windows and saw a lot of detainees come running through
: Were they doing anything?
: No, just charging through
: A brisk walk I would call it.
: How many detainees?
: Did you recognise anyone?
: Any distinctive features?
: One was wearing a bandana, blue with yellow stars on it.
They ignored me and went into the Doctor's Corridor. I heard them banging and kicking the door.
: More than once. Then I heard Mr Barry's voice and I went to calm the situation.
: Who was with you?
: Mr Good, Mr Morley, Miss Mitchel-Hill
(Goes to corridor)
The detainee with the bandana looked at me in a threatening and aggressive manner and said "We're going to kill you". I was frightened and I felt vulnerable.
: Did anything else happen?
: No, we heard Mr Barry was trapped.
: He came through the door and it automatically closes behind him. We seemed to get enthralled in a mass of detainees. They were all around us, sweeping us along through pressure of numbers. I felt I should be going in the oppoosite direction, to get back to Chris Barry. We got back to the door, and fell through. Well, I walked through. Mr Barry came through and collapsed. : And the rest of the detainees at this point?
: I don't know, they weren't in the corridor. Then we were told to get our C&R Kit on. : Were you trained?
: Yes. Then we went to gate 2.
: What was the situation at the gate?
: The Gate was secure at that time. I saw a lot of detainees through the fence.
: How far away?
: I don't recall. We were instructed to form up and stand behind long shields. I was at the back. The people at the front lined up their sheilds. Short shields were used to form a roof protecting us from above. Nothing that happened at the Gate was memorable.
: Was the gate always secure?
: I believe not
: I don't want to know what you believe to have happened. Do you remember it opening?
: Did you have a baton?
: Did you use it?
: Did you see anyone using their batons?
: In your opinion was their any need to use batons?
Later I saw black smoke coming probably from the library block.
: At the gate did you see defendants?
: How many?
: I don't know.
: More than one or two?
: Yes. On the floor there was a dumbell and some drinks cans.
: How did they get there?
: I don't know.
Henry Blaxland (counsel for Sunny)
HB- Let me take you back to the Doctor's Corridor. Where were you when you saw what you did?
I was by the T- junction.
: You say there were c.30 detainees. I put it to you that it was nearer 20.
: Did you go back to staircase A?
: Were you with Rob Andrews?
: I don't remember
: Terry Morley?
: Peter Good?
: Look at your statement. You were with Mr Andrews?
: You say in your statement that you withdrew to staircase A.
: Yes. You hear Mr Barry's voice and you didn't know what is going on so you went to look.
: You saw Mr Barry but you do not know how he got there?
: The scene you describe, you squeezed through a confined space. You were threatened by one individual but you were not hit nor even pushed.
: But there was shouting? They were angry?
: Did you know why?
: But you suspected, this often happens after people have been moved, no?
: Did you understand why they were upset at this?
: Who was with you?
: Mr Morley, Mr Good, but not Miss Mitchell-Hill
: No, I was pushed back.
: But you eventually got to the door, knocked and came through.
[look at video]
: you and Mr Barry come through the door together. But you said the
detainees had retreated when you came through the door.
: You didn't see Mr Barry being struck?
: Did you see him hit his head?
: You were at the back, there was a lot of noise and you did not see missiles thrown?
: Were you there for the duration?
: No, I was dispatced for other duties.
Mr Davis (counsel for Edward)
: Did you see which officers were on the front line?
: So all you can say is that you were there with a number of other officers?
: There was a period of time when the Doctor's Corridor was not in
: But when you went back there were c.30 detainees. It was very crowded. You were threatened by the man in the bandana, personally, so he must have been at the back of the group and not by the door?
: Bandanas and other headgear are popular among detainees, particularly black ones, are they not
: Were there other detainees wearing bandanas that day?
: Don't remember.
: Please look at your second statement. You say that you do not know the name nor description of the man in the bandana
: That's true.
Jon Reilly (Enahoro's lawyer)
: Which gate did you go to when you formed the C&R team?
: Gate 2
: Did you think you had gone to gate 1?
: Was Gate 2 open when you arrived?
: I don't know.
: Look at your statement. You say here that you went to Gate 1, but now you know it was Gate 2.
: And in your statement it says that as you approached you saw the gate was open and you "feared for your safety" you felt you would lose because you were outnumbered. Then what?
: We moved forward, the detainees moved back and the gates were secured.
: Yes : One Gate had been opened and no one had come through. Was it necessary to draw batons?
: Was it necessary to use them?
Judge: For you or for anyone?
: For me.
: Your C&R formation scared them back?
: Yes, that was the point of it.
Prosecution Witness: Terence (Terry) Morley
HB: You say you saw Chris Barry through the door [in doctor's
corridor]. You say you were looking from the administration's side and you
could see clearly
HB: are you sure this is not completely wrong
HB: would you like to see the film to help refresh memory?
See film from Camera 37 (at 7.10am)
HB: that's Chris Barryon floor? - so you were wrong?
HB: you were wrong about a number of things. How many people did you see kicking the door
HB: the corridor was packed with people. Couldnt' possible see to end of corridor?
yes I could. I wouldn't say that it was totally packed
HB: In order to see length of corridor you had to look through a short confined space
I could see as I was worried about the officer
HB: But with all those people there, you couldn't possibly see....
HB: You name Sunny. Where in the corridor was he?
HB: Don't know if by the door or not? You didn't see him do anything?
Nothing I would say on oath
HB: But earlier [under prosecution questioning] you said that he was acting in an aggressive manner. You said that Sunny was saying that he was 'going to kill people'. Was this really his exact words?
HB: Is there a single word in your statement that you had heard any threats to kill?
HB: So the first time you have chosen to say this is in court
yes, because I couldn't remember eact words
HB: But this is important evidence. Why did you not tell the police?
because I couldn't remember exact words
JUDGE:Yes, but why are you saying this now?
HB: At no time have you said that you were hit?
HB: You weren't threatened at all?
yes I was
HB: Who had a bottle
HB: You knew Sunny. If you knew him then you would have said it was Sunny.
I've said it was fast at the time. There was lots going on. I coudn't see
HB: You said you had a clear view. You said you saw him unscrew top.
I was concentrating on the bottle
HB: and it wasn't Sunny
HB: I put it to you that you have talked to people about them giving evidence of Sunny with the bottle
HB: You grabbed Barry to back into corridor and then you ment someone with a bottle. You turned and ran down to the door and the corridor was emptyish.
HB: You forced Barry through door
HB: At no time did you see him struck
HB: Could he have been struck when going through door?
[So it was not a detainee that pushed Chris Barry through the door from the
doctor's corridor to the staff section. It is not clear that he was struck
on the head as claimed.... especially since (although not mentioned by
anyone) he was seen in the CCTV film later on the roof with others, looking
fit and well]
Mr Bright (counsel for Stanley)
DB: Is it right to say that when you were at Gate 2 no detainee attacked any officer?
DB: and it is also right that no detainee threw anything
DB: Did you go to the Ladies Day room?
DB: Were you alone?
no. Was with Mo Stone and others
DB: After you entered, there were no detainees in there?
DB: You were in the ladies dayroom - do you want to say anything about what Group 4 officers did
we asked peole to leave who were using the telephone. We told them to leave but they were still using telephones. So we smashed the handset off the telephone
DB: Since Mo Stone gave evidence, has he spoken to you
DB: Have you talked about the telephones
DB: Is it a coincidence that you are mentioning this now
Didn't feel need to say it earlier. Didn't enter mind
DB: Did you know that photographs had been taken of the damage done knew there were photos of the library damage
DB: Why did they do that
To show the damage done by the detainees
DB: Didn't it occur to you to say anything?
DB: You weren't told to 'dismantle' the phones
DB: Who's idea was it to smash them
DB: And you didn't put any of this in your statement
it didn't come into mind
Later on... after lunch David Bright came back again...
DB: In a letter from the Home Office, the Minister Mr Mike O'Brien said
that the detainees had 'ripped all the telephones from the wall'. Do you
accept that this information and come from you and your colleagues?
DB: Why didn't you tell someone in authority that all the damage was not down to the detainees?
DB: You broke 2 telephones
No, just one
DB: And it took two of you to dismantle this one phone?
yes, we were having a lot of trouble doing it
Witness for the Prosecution:Mrs Jane Essery. Worked for group 4 for 18 months (so 10 months last Aug.) Position, Detention and Escort Officer, working Day Shift.
20th Aug 1997 Arrived at work c. 6:40am went to the Crew Room.
: Who was there?
: Karen Mitchell-Hill, Linda Ingles
Terry Morley came in and told us to stay out of the centre. But then Operation Rainbow, Operation Delta (not clear which one she means) was called over the radio. This meant that the magnetic doors on the fire exits were about to pop and we had to go and check them.
Linda Ingles and I went to Day Room 1, Ladies Centre, to check the
: Could you hear anything?
: Not yet.
: Who was in the day room.
: June Wills, Siobhan, Val Stratfer,Linda Ingles
We started to hear a commotion from Stairwell A area. Could hear "banging on a door" and shouting. We decided to lock the ladies door.
: Because we felt fearful that we were in a vulnerable position
Mr Hoskin (counsel for Sambou) cross-examines Terence Morley...
SH:What was Sambou wearing on 20th August?
TM: Sambou was wearing a head bandanna with stars and stripes
SH: When did you remember that he was wearing a bandanna?
TM: I've known all the time
SH: Why didn't you say in your statements to the police what he was wearing
TM: No one asked for a description
SH: You weren't asked what he was wearing?
SH:Did someone else say it and want you to back them up?
No. The head band was the most distinctive thing he was wearing
SH: In the Group 4 statement you made (5 weeks later) there was no mention of Sambou in the statement.
TM: I didn't agree with writing the Group 4 statement because I had already done the police statement. I thought it was grossly unfair because I thought it wouldn't be exactly the same, because I hadn't seen the police statement since I had done it.
SH: Did you forget about Sambou Marong completely?
John Reilly (counsel for Enaharo) cross-examines Terence Morley
JR: Why did you follow a group of detainees?
I was told to make a presence in the Centre
Told to find out what was going on.
JR: When following them what did you see in any of their hands?
It was a long thing that one had in hand
JR: Did you think it was a weapon?
JR:When you got closer what did you discover it to be?
JR:We've been told of an incident where some liquid splashed on you.
What were you wearing?
White shirt and grey trousers
JR: Did you still have the clothes on when took the statement. Did anybody ever ask you for the clothes?
JR:Did the police officer ask you to produce the clothing?
JR:I suppose you have washed them by now?
I have yes
JR:Were you asked to attend an ID to pick out persons you had given
witness statements about:
JR:Look at the first witness statement you made about damages.
SH: owed him page 40 of bundle.
JR: Did you mention that you had seen any person cause damage that day?
I didn't see anybody cause damage
JR: What about the telephone?
JR: Why did you not say you had caused damage to the telephone? The authorities rely on you for understanding of what took place. All pay phones were ripped from the walls. Some of the payphone were damaged by you and your colleagues
I said one phone outside the ladies day room
JR: Why didn't you mention it?
I was thinking of detainees
JR: Did you let someone in authority know Group 4 employees had damaged phone and it was not all down to detainees
Prosecution Witness: Caryn Mitchell-Hill
While being questioned by the prosecution counsel, Caryn Mitchell Hill says the following:
CMH:I could hear detainees very loudly [in the doctor's corridor]. They
were gathered and shouting loudly and angrily. I waited there a few moments
and there were no other officers there. A detainee passed me carrying a
plastic coke bottle and hit the security door I had come through. I was
worried he might notice my key chain.
CPS: Who was there
CPS: How did you know
CMH: I knew detainees who lived in the centre On 19/8 there had been a fracas in yellow block over a locked door.
CPS: Did you know Sambou then - could you put a name to him?
CMH: No, later I remembered who he was. He kicked the door and appeared to be throwing himself at the door . Mo Stone came to the door from outside. He told me to get out of there [doctor's corridor]. I set off to try and get to the Ladies block. A detainee placed his hands on my shoulders and said 'where are you going white bitch'
CPS: What did you do?
CMH: I raised my knee to his groin area
CPS: Can you name this person?
CMH: It was Sunny Ozidede. At the time I didn't know his name. It was a face I'd seen but couldn't name. I went down the corridor and saw Chris Barry, John Allen and Terry.
I was told to go to the ladies room and lock myself in with other officers. They let me in. The noise outside was deafening and I was terrified but relieved that I was safe. The telephone rang and Mo Stone asked who was there. Mo said stay there with the door locked.
Later she is shown to be lying....
Henry Blaxland cross-examining..
HB: Where did you go after the crew room?
CMH: Doctor's corridor. While I was waiting there a group of detainees came through the dining room and came past me towards door.
HB: Then a large group arrived. You say that you did not leave at any stage?
HB: At the time you say you made an 'escape' you say that there was no other officers present to be witnesses
no other people
HB: You agree that your hair was darker then
don't recall exactly. Yes it was darker
Now HB shows video from Camera 37 at 7.09am. See doctors corridor and see
Caryn going through door
HB: Who was with you?
Pearl Strat [don't know if this is spelt correctly] and Sean Cane
HB: Now can see you on your way out of crew room. You go through the door into the doctor's corridor and stayed there. You say that you stayed there and then a person with a bottle came along and had a confrontation with you. You are saying that you definitely stayed in the corridor all this time?
Now court shown video from Camera 34, time 7.09am onwards. Video shows
Caryn in the dining room (ie not in the doctors corridor)
HB: That is you in the dining room, isn't it?
I don't know
HB: You say you don't recall going into the dining room. You've been telling us a pack of lies, scandalous lies?
(see more film - see her going back into dining room)
HB: I suggest this is you?
no, I was not in dining room that morning.
HB: But this person has the same hairstyle as you, same build?
it's not me
HB: Who else could it have been?
I cannot place myself in the dining room that morning.
Replay video tape again
HB: Is that you
it's not me
HB: Who's that behind you
possibly Val Stratford
HB: Which was the person immediately behind you when you left the crew area. So that must be you, isn't it
I suppose it must have been. But I wasn't in the dining room that morning
HB: It is a bit embarrassing to be caught out lying?
I'm not. I have no recollection of going into the dining room.
CMH:After my encounter with the man in green vest I went to the day
room. I was upset. In the dayroom were Val Stratford and Doreen Lewis. I
HB: Did you say "its going tits up out there"?
I don't remember what I said.
HB: Did you tell anyone about your encounter [in the corridor] I didn't talk to officers about it. I had no reason whatsoever to make anything up.
HENRY BLAXLAND: Look at transcript of your statement. Read through,
esp. passage about man you claimed held you by the shoulders. You say 'I
tossed my knee into groin area of him'.
CARYN MITCHELL-HILL: I repeat. Did not knee him in groin, just in groin area. Do not know if I made contact with groin.
HB: Worried about lack of medical evidence?
JUDGE: You actually say 'forced your knee into groin area.' What do you mean by 'forced'?
CMH: That some force was necessary to move my knee.
HB: Your statement says: 'I don't know my assailant's name - I'm sure I'd be able to identify him.' You identified him as Sunny?
CMH: Yes, Sunny.
HB: You could recognise him?
HB: You knew his name?
HB: Why didn't you put in statement 'I had forgotten his name'?
CMH: I couldn't think of his name.
HB: Why didn't you put that in the statement?
CMH: A lot had happened that day.
JUDGE: Actually, this statement was taken the day after these events.
HB: So, a lot had happened on the day the statement was taken, had it?
JUDGE: What does 'don't know my assailant's name - I'm sure I'd be able to identify him' mean other than you could recognise his face if you saw it again?
CMH: Don't know. Much confusion.
HB: Did you describe him in the statement as a Nigerian or an Algerian?
CMH: No I did not. Algerians are paler in colour.
[Judge surveys written statement, complains it is he worst handwriting he has ever seen, and after Blaxland admits that the word in question could even be read as 'Alsatian', it is agreed that it is completely illegible.]
HB: So, 2 days later you recognised that this man was Sunny?
CMH: Well, I . . .
JUDGE: You said earlier that you didn't know quite when you remembered who he was?
CMH: That's right.
HB: Did you talk to Chris Barry in the days following the events?
CMH: Of course I did.
HB: Did he tell you that Sunny had been involved?
HB: Did you two talk about events of that day?
CMH: Yes. I'd be a liar if I said otherwise.
HB: Thank you. Did he mention Sunny's name?
HB: So you talked about it in general terms, but didn't mention specific names?
HB: He didn't once say to you that Sunny was involved?
CMH: He might have done.
HB: Did you see Sunny the day before events?
CMH: Yes. In yellow block.
HB: Did you know his name then?
HB: How did you recognise him as Sunny after you said you couldn't remember his name?
CMH: I'd had time to reflect.
HB: Was it not said to you that Sunny had been rude to the Chief Imm. Officer?
HB: And that's why you fitted him up.
HB: Do you know Des Wilkinson?
HB: You and Des Wilkinson were waiting at the bottom of the stairwell when events started weren't you?
CMH: Don't recall.
HB: When he went up into the corridor, you stayed where you were.
CMH: Where do you mean?
[Blaxland consults plan of Campsfield layout and explains that it is worth being pedantic to avid ambiguity.]
HB: You stood at the bottom of this stairwell with Des and the man nicknamed 'Rugby' when disturbance formed?
HB: You stood, they went up, you watched for a while, lit a cigarette, and walked back to the ladies room, didn't you?
HB: You were never actually alone in the corridor at all, were you?
CMH: Yes I was.
[HB sits. Mr. Bright stands.]
BRIGHT: When you were kitted up, your visor steamed up, didn't it?
[Bright sits. Blaxland and another request recess. Judge grants it.]
Cross-examination of Group 4 guard, Caryn Mitchell-Hill who claims she was assaulted by Sambou during incident is continued.
Mr Hoskin (counsel for Sambou Marong)
SH: in your first statement the only description of the man is that he
SH: how can you tell
M: work 12 hour shifts with them- get very aware of difference in skin colour etc.
SH: so you could distinguish between say a Nigerian and a Gambian?
CM: yes, believed so at time anyway
H: based on what?
CM[ignoring question]: believed I could at time
JUDGE interjects: but what precisely made you certain that the defendant was Nigerian?
CM: can't recall
SH: are you aware that Sambou is in fact not Nigerian?
SH: it comes as a surprise to you?
SH: you also said in your statement that you you'd be able to identify him
SH: were you given opportunity of an identity parade?
SH: you can't remember at which point you could put a name to a face
SH: but could you do so?
no, didn't know his name
SH: why is that, because you don't actually see them 12 hours a day but only in certain areas?
CM: yes, another officer told me his name
JUDGE: But did you ask anyone at the time? Weren't you terrified of him and
wanted to know the name of your attacker?
CM: yes, of course terrified
JUDGE: but you didn't ask for it?
CM no, not at that point
SH: you were aware of an alleged incident in Yellow Block day before involving a locked door?
SH: also that Sambou was supposed to be involved with it
SH: but from personal knowledge you can't confirm that he was there?
Were you told that he did not in fact play an active part in the dispute?
CM: can't remember being told anything.
Mr Greville Davis (Edward's counsel) starts cross-examination
GD: sure about events at gate 2
GD: nobody there had weapons?
GD: what about your fellow officers
they had side arm batons
GD: is that not a weapon
yes, but they're part of their uniform
GD: yes, but you lied when you said there were no weapons. Did you use your baton?
no, bigger officers at front were dealing with with them
GD: gate was not open by time you got there?
no, unit was secure
GD: There was noone with a black pullover who had already got through?
GD: Are you sure there is nothing wrong with your eye sight?
GD: There was no one with weapons on the other side of the fence?
GD: so what about what you said in your statement to the police next day?
CMH looks puzzled
GD: look at your statement and read line 6 to yourself. ...So there you said that you saw detainees with long bars etc...
was asked whether they were throwing missiles
GD: why did you not later cross this error out of your statement? did you not have chance to read it again?
GD: did you not think that such an error would matter for the prosecution?
GD: So why did you leave it in there?
I was confused
GD: but you did not see a doctor about that- no medical report to that matter- so mind was actually functioning correctly that day.
GD: At that time, you were still going out with Chris Barry and had been for previous six weeks?
yes- met him working at C.H.
GD: Others at Campsfield would have known about relationship too? e.g Terry Morley?
possibly- no secrets about relationship- Terry worked on same shift
GD: So nothing was thrown?
GD: ( looks at her statement): you said that you could see smoke coming from building around Red area and further (quotes from statement): "I also saw some missiles being thrown."- how did that get in there?
GD: But did you not make a deletion after"I" in that very sentence? Was that at the time of writing or when you read it over?
-JUDGE wants to see original for himself- he concludes that deletion looks in straight line with other words, so it might well have been crossed out in the course of writing.-
GD: is this true?
I did not see any one throwing missiles
GD: so part of sentence is a lie
not a deliberate lie
GD: what then?
I don't know
GD: why should you not lie deliberately
I don't make a habit of lying
GD: But you also don't make a habit of giving statements- it was the first time that you've given a statement?
GD: did they not tell you how important it is to tell the truth? please look at your statement again...- when reading it through again, did you believe it to be true?
at the time, yes- so much happening
GD: but it can't be true can it?
no it can't
Friday afternoon, 12th June
Witness for the prosecution: Paul Spencer
(mostly not very interesting...)
You made a statement on 22nd August last year. You said: "I saw no damage being caused and no offences being committed". Is that correct?
Today is the first time you have ever mentioned Sambou in connection with events on 20th August. Why?
PS: don't know
SH: Have you been told to mention his name?
SH: Where did his name come from?
don't know. Just remember him
SH: He says he's never seen you before. Why is this?
SH: You made your statement on 22 August (6 pages). Surely your memory of events was better then?
SH: Then you named 5 detainees. You made no mention of Sambou
Like I said, perhaps wasn't really there
SH: Do you accept that you made a mistake
I can't recall. Not sure if made mistake
SH: You can't be sure that he was there
I can be sure that he was in Campsfield House
Prosecution witness: Chris Barry.
Worked for Group 4 for 15 years and at Campsfield for 5.
Post: Detention Escort Officer [ie never been promoted to supervisor]
Henry Blaxland (counsel for Sunny) cross-examining:
HB: There are no sanctions in Campsfield House?
CB: I don't know what you mean
HB: Are there any means of disciplining, like in a prison
HB: Only discipline is moving detainees to prison
yes, at last resort
HB: It is a sanction
HB: Do you ever say "if you don't behave yourself you will end up in prison"?
HB: any threats made?
HB: Look at your transcript of statement to Group 4. see p.5
this wasn't a formal statement.
HB: But you were telling the truth
yes, but I haven't read a record of it
HB: Don't you feel prepared? Read p.5 See you have written: "We don't threaten detainees but we do say that there are other places that can cope with you that are prisons." and "we don't mention where".
I didn't say it. Other managers say this
HB: But you used "we". You didn't say "others". You understood this at the time, didn't you.
HB: Look at statement to police. Look at your description of Sunny.
'Black male height 5'4" to 5'6". Actually Sunny is 5'8". How tall are you?
HB: You continue: 'Sunny has short black curly hair, stocky build and clean shaven.' Also 'He was wearing a lime green t-shirt. You now say white t-shirt [in response to CPS questioning]. Which one was it?
lime green shirt
HB: Which are you saying. In statement says lime green. But actually Sunny was wearing a white t-shirt. Have you had doubts since you gave your statement
HB: See your statement, you said: "you couldn't miss him in a lime-green t-shirt". But Sunny wasn't wearing it. Have you seen the photo of Sunny?
HB: Show him the photo. Taken the next day. Shows Sunny in white t-shirt. Moustache and beard. Shaven headed. Exactly like your description TODAY but NOT with your statement in August. It wasn't Sunny was it?
yes, it was
HB: It must have been someone else
JUDGE: Let me get this straight. You are saying now: The person I have described on 20 August must have been somebody else
HB: Was the name Sunny banded around
Also long discussion about Chris Barry being apparently hit on the head and kicked and punched in the doctor's corridor. No photographs of his bruises were taken for evidence. He never told the police about bump on head. Never showed 'injuries' to a doctor. Within five minutes of so-called 'concussion' he was seen on the roof, wandering about looking fit. His shirt which he then said was torn in the crowd in the corridor was seen in the video directly afterwards looking not at all dishevelled, not torn and not wet (he claimed to have had solvent thrown at him but it was never confirmed to be anything other than water). He had conveniently lost the shirt subsequently.
Ms Macauley (Lucky's counsel)
M: You mentioned Lucky in your statement. Were you sure it was him?
CB: I thought it was him but I've made the mistake of thinking that Lucky was Sambou
JUDGE: please confirm last sentence
M: You talked about Lucky in your statement to the police of 24 Aug.
Then on 28 August you corrected your earlier statement and said in fact
that Lucky was Sambou. How did you realise your mistake?
CB: From talking to the other officers
M: But surely you had talked before the 24 August
No, we had been split up on different shifts. I didn't see them
M: But then you say you found out that there was a detainee whose
christian name was Lucky and whose nickname was Unlucky.
I personally did not call him that
M: But other officers did
M: So once you realised you had made a mistake - did you not discuss it with other officers?
Mr Steve Hoskin (Sambou's counsel) continued this line of questioning...
SH: Are you aware you were the only officer to call him Lucky?
SH: Did you think it was a nickname
SH: When did you realise you were mistaken? No mention of Lucky as nickname in files. Did you mis-hear who to blame?
SH: You looked at the 'T-card' in the files before you made your statements. But if you were looking through these hoping to identify someone, there is no reason to get their name wrong.
SH: Do you accept that Sambou was never called Lucky
yes, I never called him Lucky. I called him Sambou.
SH: So how did you know his nickname?
I knew Sambou by sight not by name
JUDGE: But when you made your first statement, you knew him as Lucky you said. So when did you know him by sight but not by name?
I don't know
JUDGE: What do you mean by saying the person called Lucky was called
unlucky, and what do you mean by saying 'unlucky to get caught'.
CB: unlucky to get caught by the Immigration Service
JUDGE: But this is true of everyone in Campsfield House
SH: You said something about the complexion of Sambou.
CB: He was lighter black and had higher cheekbones
SH: lighter than who
lighter than the Nigerians
SH: Do you think, like Caryn Mitchell-Hill [his girlfriend] that you can tell country of origin from colour?
no, I don't
SH: Look at your first page of statement about 19th Aug incident. You wrote 20-25 Afro-Caribbean's involved. Then you came back and deleted that and put West Africans. How could you tell?
They had a different collective colour
SH: By complexion?
No it was a collective term
JUDGE: Do you know where Afro-Caribbeans come from?
JUDGE: Almost all to a man are from West Africa
SH: In your statement to the police you said 'some of them smashed the
lights'. Today you say one person. Which was it?
CB: I recall Sambou smashing the light. No one beside him
SH: So why did you say plural in statement
I gave the statement a long time after the event
SH: You made a mistake today
I know what happened. I saw Sambou on the stair and the light broken beside him.
SH: You cannot say who damaged the light
JUDGE: You said in court today that you saw him hit the light. But now see in police statement that you heard it break and then you turned round and saw him there. Did you see him break it?
He was there
SH: You didn't name him in your interview with Group 4
SH: You didn't see who damaged the light
In summary, it was clear that Chris Barry could not identify Sunny. He was particularly unclear between Sambou and Lucky (although they look quite different) and he thought that John Quaquah smoked (when he does not). In the end he was forced to admit that 'there was room for a mistaken identity' on everybody he had named.
17.6.89 Following yet another cross-examination, in which a Group 4 guard (Mr Ballard) was caught lying (this time he said he had seen Edward throw a dumbbell, when his statement said he hadn't), ALL CHARGES HAVE BEEN DROPPED!!!!
The prosecution admitted that since they were reliant on prosecution witness statements, and since these had been discredited, they could not recommend to the jury a guilty verdict. This being the case, the jury recorded "not guilty" verdicts on both riot and violent disorder for all defendants. A jury member was afterwards heard to say that Group 4 should be prosecuted.
This disgraceful trial, which has caused immense suffering to all nine (originally thirteen) defendants, including three suicide attempts, is now over. It has taken ten months since the original disturbance to clear the names of these men, but finally a gross miscarriage of justice has been prevented. Questions will have to be asked as to how this trial could proceed so far on such inadequate evidence, and about the behaviour of the prosecution witnesses.