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Monday, 7 August, 2000, 17:51 GMT 18:51 UK
Compensation for wrong conviction
Ellis Sherwood, Darren Hall, Michael O'Brien
The Court of Appeal quashed their convictions
A man wrongly convicted for the killing of a Cardiff newsagent 12 years ago is to receive interim compensation of 100,000.

Michael O'Brien - one of the so-called Cardiff Newsagent Three - will be compensated by the Home Office for spending nearly 10 years in prison.

The payment is likely to be followed by an eventual pay-out of up to 750,000.

Mr O'Brien, Ellis Sherwood and Darren Hall were wrongly convicted in 1988 for the death of Philip Saunders in Canton, Cardiff.

He plans to sue the police separately in order to gain exemplary damages from them.

Mr O'Brien said he will put the money he receives towards studying for a law degree.

Michael O'Brien
Michael O'Brien: Inquiry demand
Last month, he made a fresh appeal for the inquiry to be re-opened - on the anniversary of his wrongful conviction.

Mr O'Brien has also claimed that he was denied a copy of a report compiled for the Police Complaints Authority on the conduct of police officers in the case.

Murder convictions against Mr O'Brien, Mr Hall and Mr Sherwood were quashed by the Appeal Court in December, 1999.

Serious questions were raised during the hearing about the conduct of investigating officers from South Wales Police who were alleged to have shown a "systematic disregard" of the rules governing interrogation of suspects.

But after a nine-day hearing, the Appeal Court judges took just three minutes to make their decision to free the men.

Shortly after the hearing, Mr O'Brien called for a full inquiry - headed by a High Court judge - to look into their case and other investigations carried out by the force.

'Personality disorder'

"I want a totally independent review of the South Wales Police force's handling of our case and all the other miscarriages of justice," he said.

"They (South Wales Police) don't seem to learn from their mistakes."

The "Cardiff Newsagent Three" were released on bail in 1998 after their case was taken up by the BBC Wales current affairs TV programme "Week In Week Out".

During the Appeal Court hearing, the judges heard that crucial confessions made to detectives - but since retracted by Mr Hall - could not be relied on because he was suffering from "anti-social personality disorder".

The court was told Mr Hall was living a "Walter Mitty" fantasy life and showing some of the attributes of a pathological liar.

Even the prosecution's own psychiatric expert conceded that his admissions were "at risk of being unreliable".

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Wrongly jailed Michael O' Brien
"By going to college and studying law it can only help other victims"
BBC Wales' Penny Roberts
"He vowed to clear his name"
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