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Beyond Reasonable Doubt Cover front 249w.jpg

paperback £5.99

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isbn 9798372550933

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pages 130

Most people will have heard of the murder of 13-year-old, Billie-Jo Jenkins in February 1997, in Hastings, East Sussex, and the discovery of her body by her foster father, Sion Jenkins. Everyone will have their own views as to what happened on that fateful day. This raises two pertinent questions. Where do we get our views from? And, what makes us think that we can possibly have any idea as to what actually happened?

The chief suspect, Billie-Jo’s foster father, Sion Jenkins, was subjected to a ‘lynch mob’ mentality, largely fuelled by the media and to seemingly endless legal processes. It became increasingly obvious that the police and some members of the judiciary, together with people that Jenkins considered friends (including his ex-wife) had a large part to play in what became a nightmare which Jenkins had to endure. This lasted from the day he discovered the body of Billie-Jo until he was finally acquitted, after having faced six years in prison, two appeals, and three criminal trials.

This work exposes the deep failing of the criminal justice system. The deliberate tainting of the Jenkins children’s evidence by the police, the failure by the police and CPS to disclose relevant information, together with attempts by the police at putting ideas into the head at Lois, Jenkins’ ex-wife. Most people have faith in the criminal justice system, hence the saying ‘mud sticks’, because they cannot imagine that it can get it so wrong. Yet, the criminal justice system is damaged as is clearly demonstrated in this work.

In this work, the reader is presented with the opportunity of experiencing a case which has become one of the greatest ‘causes celebre’ in British criminal history. The reader is invited to consider their own verdict based upon all the evidence presented to the juries in the three criminal trials. In arriving at their own conclusions, the reader will be able to balance the effects of ineptitude, confirmation bias, media ‘hype’, innuendo and misinformation, all of which were in plentiful supply in this case. This book brings into sharp focus the fact that it is unquestionably preferred to have all guilty people walk free than to have one innocent person in prison. At the heart of this case lies the truism that as soon as assumptions are made which are not supported by evidence, then the defendant in any criminal case faces an uphill struggle to obtain justice. Guilt must always be proven ‘Beyond Reasonable Doubt’.

Dr David Holding studied history at Manchester University before entering the teaching profession in the 1970s. He taught in both state and independent sectors. During this time, he continued historical research culminating in both a Master's degree and a Doctorate. Having previously studied law, David gained a Master of Law degree in Medical Law, which enabled him to transfer to teaching legal courses at university. Since retiring, David has concentrated his research and writing on various aspects of local history, legal trials, forensic science and medico-legal topics.


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