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Lord Denning eulogy isn't the full story

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Before we take Kim Franklin's eulogy for Lord 'Tom' Denning at face value (aj 11.3.99), isn't she writing of the same judge who once said in another appeal judgment about six innocent men: 'If the six men win, it will mean that the police were guilty of perjury, that they were guilty of violence and threats, that the confessions were involuntary and were improperly admitted in evidence and that the convictions were erroneous . . . This is such an appalling vista that every sensible person in the land would say: 'It cannot be right these actions should go any further . . . It is a scandal that should not be allowed to continue.''

On another occasion he said it would have been better had the innocent men been hanged , as then there could have been no appeal. He was of course talking about the case of the Birmingham Six, one of the greatest miscarriages of justice of all time.

Of course, his 'much praised' Dutton and Anns judgments were subsequently overruled in Murphy v Brentwood District Council, with one judge going so far as to say: 'In my opinion there can be no doubt that Anns has for long been widely regarded as an unsatisfactory decision . . . I think it must now be recognised that it did not proceed on any basis of principle at all, but constituted a remarkable example of judicial legislation.'

If he was one of the 'good' judges, what are the bad ones like?

Sam Webb


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