An Appeal Court judge has ordered Chief Constable Tony Leonard to explain the role of Humberside Police in a ”deplorable” conviction which has now been overturned.
John McLoughlin (28), formerly of Porlock Drive, Hull, was convicted ten years ago of sexual offences against a young boy.
But the convictions were quashed yesterday after senior appeal judge Lord Justice Buxton said an investigation by South Yorkshire Police into the initial Humberside inquiry had revealed the convictions were ”wholly and completely wrong.”
He said the South Yorkshire probe had brought a very serious miscarriage of justice to light.
The Appeal Court heard the alleged victim – who had claimed he was sexually abused by a ring of sex offenders – had admitted during the four-year South Yorkshire inquiry that his allegations were untrue.
Sitting with two other judges, Lord Justice Buxton called the case ”deplorable” and said the court was not going to let the matter rest.
In an unusual move, he adjourned the case until the Director of Public Prosecutions could account for the failure to explain the non-disclosure of vital statements to the defence.
The court was told the South Yorkshire inquiry had revealed a substantial number of documents proving Mr McLoughlin’s innocence had not been disclosed to the defence.
The judge also ordered Mr Leonard to advise the court on whether any disciplinary action had been taken against officers involved in the original investigation.
He set a 28-day time limit for both reports. The court heard that Mr McLoughlin, who was described as educationally sub-normal and susceptible, was interviewed on occasions by police without the presence of a solicitor.
Lord Justice Buxton said he had a high degree of suggestibility and had readily agreed to the suggestions put to him by the police.
He was convicted at York Crown Court in 1988 and given a two-year probation order. Yesterday the convictions were quashed and the sentence set aside.
Lord Justice Buxton added: ”It is clear that Mr McLoughlin is innocent of these charges.”
His solicitor, Mr Paul Holland, said: ”John McLoughlin was vulnerable. The law failed him. A grave injustice has been done and the consequences of branding him a Category 1 offender could have destroyed the family life the vulnerable so desperately need.”
A police spokeswoman said: ”Humberside Police are aware of this appeal and are awaiting the full contents of the judge’s comments. We will be co-operating with any requests made by the court.”
(Written by Angus Young and retrieved 6th June 1998)