November 2014

Hello Friend,
when I first started this blog I was, for several reasons, extremely hesitant. I’m a very private person and don’t invite many people into my life. I don’t get into other people’s business and hope for the same respect for my privacy. Unfortunately, for obvious reasons, my personal privacy no longer exists. I was also concerned that anything I wrote may be misinterpreted or misquoted. I was also felt that, given the circumstances, I shouldn’t be voicing my opinions. However, none of our lives are defined by one moment in time and I hope that my inane ramblings, and use of humour to highlight the absurdities of my life, are not seen as lack of contrition. I am acutely aware of the extent of my responsibilities and carry this burden with me every single day.

At various times I may sound like I’m ‘full of the joys of Spring’ or trapped in a mire self-pity, bathed in a sea of tranquility or drowning in apoplexy. The reality is that, like all human beings, I am a mass of contradictions and complexities. Nothing is ever black or white. Try to manage your own assumptions and keep your mind free from misconceptions… on dear heart.

Appeal News.
I received Mark Newby’s latest report on my case. It was a brilliant exposition of the legal complexities and errors that led to my wrongful conviction. I would like to extend my gratitude to Mark and the student researcher who assisted.

We had a meeting on 2nd December 2014, to discuss the report and the next steps that will be taken. Overall, it was a very positive meeting. Mark will be instructing some experts to provide further reports. On the down side, this will take several weeks just to find, decide upon and instruct the most appropriate experts for the job; plus an unknown period of time for them to complete their reports. Realistically we’re now looking at the latter part of 2015 before the CCRC application will be submitted. My expectations for possible release on appeal in 2016 have had to be readjusted to 2017. We also have a University Innocence Project on board and assisting with the more academic research into hypoxyphilia related accidental death.

I came away feeling positive that there are several avenues that are potential points of appeal but a little fed up that it will take longer than expected. I’ll be 49 in 2017. It’s this psychological battle to stay positive that is the most draining. Hope keeps me going but it sometimes feels like I’m watching one of those huge ‘egg timers’ with the sand draining away. The sand being a metaphor for my life. Every passing day is another day I could’ve spent rebuilding my life and making a difference in the lives of those I yearn to be with. It does worry me that I’m running out of time.

My prison Journals.
I briefly mentioned my personal journals in last month’s blog. Two of which were removed from my possession by HMP Frankland in January 2012. They have continued to refuse to return them to my possession. This is due to the fact that the journals document their staff misconduct. What would legally be termed ‘targeted malice’. Their reason for not returning the journals to me is that they pose a ‘risk to staff’ I’ve never quite understood their logic behind this (of course there is no logic, they just don’t want the misconduct information to be disclosed).

So, why would returning my journals (nothing more than paper and text) risk staff, particularly when I’m in another prison and not in contact with anyone at Frankland? Further, my solicitor (and the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman) were sent a copy of the relevant entires. The ‘cat is (already) out of the bag’, so to speak, and has been since 2011.

Their continued action is irrational and possibly unlawful. The only reasons I can determine are a futile attempt to control the misconduct information or, knowing how important they are to me on a personal level, a continuation of their ‘targeted malice’ (they also destroyed all of my music and song recordings made over 6 years).

As a result of a further internal complaint, which highlighted their legally weak position but which they predictably side-stepped some key questions, they have agreed to send my journals to HMP Wakefield ‘to be place in (my) stored property for issue upon release’. Should my appeal be unsuccessful, my earliest release date is 2029 – another 14 years.

I don’t know what you think but does this constitute returning my journals to MY possession? I don’t think so. They have left me little choice but to submit this matter to the Administrative Court for Judicial Review. I’ll keep you posted on developments.

Be happy, be safe, see you next time.

Graham Coutts 7th December 2014

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