Page last updated at 08:44 GMT, Saturday, 20 December 2008

Council calls for justice inquiry

Archive: Three men were released on appeal in 1992 after their convictions for murdering Lynette White were quashed.

A council has called for a public inquiry into miscarriages of justice after three people were jailed for lying in a murder trial.

Mark Grommek, Leanne Vilday and Angela Psaila were each sentenced to 18 months for committing perjury at the Lynette White murder trial almost 20 years ago.

A motion tabled at a Cardiff council meeting also supported the call for an inquiry into Michael O'Brien's case.

He was wrongly convicted of the murder of Cardiff newsagent Phillip Saunders.

Ms White was found stabbed to death in a flat in the docks area of Cardiff on Valentine's Day in 1988.

Stephen Miller, Yusef Abdullahi and Tony Paris were wrongly jailed for the murder in 1990. They were later released after a hearing at the Court of Appeal cleared them.

At Grommek's perjury trial in October, the jury were told by the prosecution how his false evidence led these men being charged with murder.

It became one of Britain's most notorious miscarriages of justice and in 1992 the convictions of the three jailed men, who became known as the Cardiff Three, were quashed and they were freed.

Michael O'Brien
Mr O'Brien had a conviction for a newsagent's death quashed in 1999

The real killer - Jeffrey Gafoor, a security guard from Llanharan, near Bridgend, who was a client of Ms White - eventually admitted the murder in 2003 and was sentenced to life imprisonment.

The motion tabled at the meeting of Cardiff council on Thursday calls upon the councillors who sit on the South Wales Police Authority to request a report from the chief constable outlining what steps have been taken to ensure that no such miscarriages of justice reoccur.

In another miscarriage of justice case, Michael O'Brien served 11 years for the 1987 robbery and murder of newsagent Phillip Saunders, who was attacked with a shovel as he arrived home in Canton, Cardiff late at night.

But the convictions of the 'Newsagent Three' - Mr O'Brien and two other men, Darren Hall and Ellis Sherwood - were quashed by the Court of Appeal in December 1999.

Deputy leader councillor Neil McEvoy, who supported the motion, said he wanted a see a public enquiry into this case and others of a similar nature.

"The Michael O'Brien case is one of the most shocking miscarriages of justice I have ever come across," he said.

"To spend 11 years behind bars for a crime you didn't commit is beyond comprehension.

"Since his release Mr O'Brien has been a fervent campaigner against miscarriages of justice and I believe Cardiff council should be putting pressure on the authorities to examine this case and others of similar nature.

"Justice has to be done."

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