Evidence in Andrew Malkinson’s case reportedly indicates that the DNA of a different individual was discovered three years subsequent to his wrongful imprisonment for a rape he did not commit.
Having spent 17 years incarcerated for a crime he was not responsible for, Mr. Malkinson’s conviction was overturned in the previous month. This occurred after DNA evidence emerged, connecting another individual to the crime in question.
Obtained case documents reveal that during his struggle for exoneration, the 57-year-old Andrew Malkinson discovered that back in 2007, forensic testing had identified a male DNA profile on the rape victim’s vest top. This DNA did not match his own.
Nevertheless, authorities, including law enforcement and prosecutors, chose not to pursue any additional actions based on this finding. Surprisingly, there is no recorded evidence indicating that they informed the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC), the body responsible for investigating potential miscarriages of justice.
It has been reported that Mr. Malkinson’s legal team was informed about the new DNA evidence by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). Despite this revelation, the CCRC declined to order further forensic testing or to refer the case for an appeal in 2012. Allegedly, the case files suggest that concerns over costs were a factor in the CCRC’s decision.
In 2003, Andrew Malkinson was wrongly convicted of raping a woman in Greater Manchester. He was subsequently sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum term of seven years. However, due to his unwavering claims of innocence, he served an additional 10 years behind bars.
Notes from a meeting involving the Forensic Science Service, the CPS, and Greater Manchester Police (GMP) in December 2009 imply that the CPS recognized the potential significance of the DNA discovery made in 2007, as outlined in the report.
CPS guidance states it “must write to the CCRC at the earliest opportunity about any case in which there is doubt about the safety of the conviction”.
According to an internal record detailing Mr. Malkinson’s initial application to the CCRC in 2009, which was aimed at appealing his conviction, it appears that the CCRC emphasized the financial implications of conducting additional testing. The record suggests that the CCRC expressed doubt that such testing would significantly contribute to the possibility of overturning his conviction.
Mr Malkinson’s solicitor Emily Bolton, director of the Appeal charity, said: “The documents are a shocking chronicle of how Andy was utterly failed by the body which should have put an end to his wrongful conviction nightmare, but instead acted as a barrier to justice.
“An overhaul of the CCRC is needed to prevent it failing other innocent prisoners.”
James Burley, investigator at Appeal, said: “These records prove that the CCRC’s handling of Andy’s case was deeply flawed and a complete mess.
“By not bothering to obtain the police files, the CCRC failed to uncover evidence which could have got Andy’s name cleared a decade earlier.”
He added: “The CCRC’s internal comments show that in deciding not to commission any DNA testing, cost was at the forefront of their considerations. That decision may have saved the CCRC some money, but it came at a brutal cost for both Andy and the victim.
“The CCRC has been giving the false impression that a DNA breakthrough could not have been achieved by them sooner.
“These records show that is nonsense, and I don’t think they would have commissioned any DNA enquiries on this case at all if Appeal hadn’t obtained new DNA testing results ourselves first.”
Mr Malkinson said: “If the CCRC had investigated properly, it would have spared me years in prison for a crime I did not commit.
“I feel an apology is the least I am owed, but it seems like the very body set up to address the system’s fallibility is labouring under the delusion that it is itself infallible. How many more people has it failed?”
CCRC, GMP and the CPS have been approached for comment by the PA news agency.
A CPS spokesman told The Guardian: “It is clear Mr Malkinson was wrongly convicted of this crime and we share the deep regret that this happened.
“Evidence of a new DNA profile found on the victim’s clothing in 2007 was not ignored. It was disclosed to the defence team representing Mr Malkinson for their consideration.
“In addition, searches of the DNA databases were conducted to identify any other possible suspects. At that time there were no matches and therefore no further investigation could be carried out.”
The CCRC told the newspaper: “As we have said before, it is plainly wrong that a man spent 17 years in prison for a crime he did not commit.”