Victims of miscarriages of justice have been
diagnosed with the most severe form of post
traumatic stress disorder, according to an
organisation that supports them.
The Miscarriages of Justice Organisation (MOJO) held a one-off benefit night at Seel Street’s Zanzibar in the hope of raising enough money and awareness to establish a specialised retreat.
The retreat will look to support the victims of injustice when they find themselves in the daunting position of being reintroduced into society.
John McManus, MOJO benefit night project co-ordinator, said: “So far all of our clients have been diagnosed with the most severe form of post traumatic stress disorder.
“This is mainly due to being kept within the trauma area for years on end. Sudden release back into society compounds this trauma, leaving victims with a feeling of utter hopelessness.
“In a perverse way, we would be better leaving them in prison, as all of them within a short space of time of release, feel either suicidal or wish to return to prison.”
One of the ‘Birmingham Six’, Paddy Hill poured all of his efforts and considerable funds into setting up MOJO upon his release from prison in 1991 after 16 years behind bars. Hill was wrongfully convicted of the murder of 21 people in the 1974 Birmingham pub bombings and has always maintained his innocence.
He said: “Something needs to be done, in respect of the way that we’re thrown back out onto the street. It is a bigger injustice to us than the manner in which they drag us off the streets and frame us.”
One case which MOJO supports is the Shrewsbury picket in 1972, when 24 trade unionists were imprisoned following a national Building Workers' Union strike, including a young Ricky Tomlinson, better known now for playing the part of Jim Royle in the popular TV show, ‘The Royle Family’.
Paddy Hill spoke of his feelings about the Shrewsbury case: "This was very obviously a miscarriage of justice. It was a political trial. Information has come out about communications between the government and judges at the time. For that reason alone it should be deemed a miscarriage of justice."
Gerry Conlon, a member of the so-called 'Guildford Four' and wrongly imprisoned for 15 years, was also present at the MOJO benefit in Liverpool.
He said: “The judiciary have at their fingertips, the ability to try and help heal the scars. Our ordeal still continues. We’re not political, we’re humanitarian. We want to stop what happened to us, happening to anyone else.”
John McManus added: “We would like to thank everybody for coming along to this benefit gig. We want to raise awareness about a fundamental human right; that of freedom.”
By Liz Hewitt
Patrick Maguire, Gerry Conlon and Paddy Hill talk to JMU Journalism: The MOJO campaign continues