Even though the law tries to be fair to everyone, the ‘system’ still ends up punishing the innocent at times. It’s estimated that over 10,000 people are wrongly convicted every year, which is 10,000 too many for us. Have a look at these unfortunate souls who were wrongly convicted and had to go through miserable times, sometimes even worst.
Wrongly convicted of tax fraud
Rick Hone was one of the directors of Abbey Forwarding, a warehousing firm in London. His life took a turn for the worse when he was called to his office by 20 officers of the tax authorities of England, HMRC (Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs). The officials decided to lockdown the entire firm even before Hone could reach his office.
Hone was stunned when the tax officials told him that he owed them 5 million pounds, which he needed to clear, or face liquidation of the company. Confused by the accusation, Hone tried explaining that his company had already been audited by one of theirs.
The officials didn’t have any of it. And broke the poor guy’s will when they told him that he has been removed from the company his grandfather had founded. To add to his woes, they had also gone ahead and frozen his personal bank accounts leaving him penniless.Unbeknownst to Hone, the case was handled by Louise Brittain, a highly controversial liquidator. She had a history of waging revenge on the victims, by impacting them where it hurts the most. Which in Hone’s case was his company.
The liquidator had planned the ordeal and achieved her whims by exploiting the Britain’s law, which required the accused ‘violator’ to clear the fine first, before they can contest it.
To put it briefly, Hone was already a convict for the liquidator, and she along with the officials made sure it seemed like that to the rest of the world. The officials used every loophole in the system, even going as far as lying in their reports of suspicious activities (3 became 303 activities), to convince the judge to rule in their favor.
The hell she unleashed on Hone made him depressed to the extent that he even contemplated suicide. For the next 18 months, he had to rely on loans from friends to support his family’s daily needs. But fate finally favored him, when a different judge went through the files and didn’t find a single evidence of fraud. Hone was given his life, and his company back.
He is now suing the HMRC and we hope he gets the liquidator sacked for her smug look and vengeful behavior.
Wrongly convicted of killing his family
Science has been the worst enemy of David Lee Gavitt, which he now refers to as “Junk” Science… for pretty good reasons.
Just hours after his wife and two little girls died in a house fire, he was accused of starting the fire. After a thorough investigation including the study of burn pattern, it was determined by “experts” that the patterns suggested intentional arson fire. Based on this theory, he was charged with murdering his entire family and was convicted.
Gavitt maintained that he was innocent all 25 years in prison, but other inmates found it extremely hard to believe that he was not a “child killer.” He also wrote countless letters to various criminal justice organizations, but all of them fell through cracks. Until the case was picked up by Innocence Clinic of University of Michigan in 2010.
While going through the case, they found that Gavitt had indeed been a victim of flawed science. They fought hard and with the help of the county’s prosecutor, Ron Schafer, were able to prove that the burn pattern found in Gavitt’s house was not caused by arson.
The case and finding led to the reinvestigation of many other cases of arson fire, leading to the freedom of many… all thanks to Gavitt’s persistence.
Wrongly convicted of murder
The wrongful conviction of Jonathan Fleming would make you think twice about the judicial system of US. Fleming was convicted of killing his friend, Darryl, in spite of all the evidence pointing otherwise.
The evidence not taken into account by the court included ignoring his claims of being in Disneyland, Florida, further going on to dismiss the plane tickets, hotel, restaurant bills as part of a hatched conspiracy. To add to it, Fleming was convicted solely on the testimony of a single girl, with a shady record.
Fleming, in his desperation, appealed to higher courts but they upheld the judgement… even after the girl retracted her statement, and confessed to lying about Fleming (so that police drop charges against her in an unrelated case). At this point, Fleming was stuck in jail as he had run out of appeals.
It was not until 2013, that the DA’s office started opening cases related to wrongful confessions by forced testimonies, which is when they found about the prosecutors hiding evidence in Fleming’s case. The prosecutors had intentionally hid the testimonials of several servers of the hotel and the hotel’s receipt which would have proved Fleming’s innocence.
Fleming was set free after spending 25 years of his life in prison for no reason. He is now suing the NYC for $162 million and we don’t think that’s enough… those prosecutors should also be forced to spend 25 years in prison for their lies as well.
Wrongly convicted of raping his daughter
Thomas Edward Kennedy got the shock of his life, when his daughter, Cassandra Kennedy, 11, accused him of raping her multiple times. The father denied the charges, but the jury convicted him based on the graphical description given by Cassandra and because of the trauma on her body, which pointed to sexual contact.
Not known to others, Cassandra was making up the story all along. She was inspired by her friend whose stepdad was sent in prison for a similar crime. In her naiveté, she thought this would be a “perfect revenge” on her father, who she believed didn’t love her. Since Cassandra was sexually active from 2nd grade, the trauma marks on her body was due to her intimacy with her boyfriend and not from rape.
It took 10 years for Cassandra to come out with the statement confessing her lies. She claimed that the guilt was too much for her to handle, and she just wants her father to be “set free.” The cops decided not to press charge on Cassandra, as they concluded that it might have a negative effect on the “genuine” victims who try to come forward.
Wrongly convicted of being a serial sexual offender
Clarence Elkins entire life was destroyed when he was accused of rape and murder of his mother-in-law. His niece, 6 at that time, also accused him of the dirty deed. Based on the niece’s testimony, Elkin was convicted and sentenced.
His niece later changed her statement, and insisted that she meant that the person just looked like her uncle. Yet, Clarence was not let out as he had already used up all his appeals. It seemed that he will be stuck in prison for a long time… till his wife decided to take the case in her own hands.
She first approached the case by appealing with the DNA evidence. But the appeal was denied, as the judge believed that the jurors did not make the decisions based on the DNA. She quickly realized that the only way out of the mess was finding the real killer, with evidence proving involvement beyond a shadow of a doubt.
The couple then started their own investigation and identified their neighbor, Matt, a sexual predator, to be the likely mastermind of the crime. Incidentally, Matt was serving his time in jail and Clarence wasted no time in collecting Matt’s DNA sample, through his cigarette butts. Matt was found to be a perfect match and the judge accepted the appeal… presumably under the fear of Mrs. Elkins uncovering hidden corpses of his closet if he denied it once more.
Shortly afterwards, Clarence was a free man.
Wrongful conviction of a 14-yr old boy
Geroge Stinney’s conviction is one of the worst thing that ever happened in US history. George was only 14 when he was accused of murdering two preteen girls. Since he was African American and the girls were white, his destiny was written the moment authorities discovered the bodies of the girls in a nearby ditch.
They quickly arrested George as people saw the girls ask him directions. The teenager, scared and afraid of authorities, confessed to his crime while in police custody. To add to the woes, George’s family had fled the town as life became extremely difficult for them. This left George with no support, or proper guidance to fight his case.
When the trial began, George had already spent 81 days inside prison. The counsel picked for him was a white man with a political agenda. He didn’t question George’s motives, didn’t present his alibi nor question the environment in which the confession was forced.
Though George kept on denying any involvement, the all-white jury decided against him and he was electrocuted on June of 1944. The case was reopened in 2004, on a request of a lawyer who read about George and spent countless hours researching about him that led to George’s execution getting posthumously vacated.