93c Venner Road, Sydenham, London SE26 5HU. 020 8 659 7713 E-Mail A_Baron@ABaron.Demon.Co.UK December 8, 2003 Dear Simon Hattenstone, I hope you will forgive me writing to you about two articles that were published more than a year ago and two years ago respectively, but there are a number of points I would be grateful if you could clarify. The later article is called Ditching our rights won't make us safe, and was published November 19 last year. I found it recently on the Guardian website. The second, far more substantial - and earlier - article - was published in the Guardian supplement September 20, 2001. Both articles concern convicted murderer Satpal Ram, albeit one peripherally. The November 2002 article says Ram killed a man in 1987. Actually the murder of Clarke Pearce was in the small hours of November 16, 1986. You say Ram insists he killed in self- defence, which is true, he did and does so insist. The fact is though that the jury convicted him of murder having accepted the prosecution case. At his trial Ram did not plead self- defence but provocation, on sound legal advice. You say the judge accepted that Ram had been "the victim of an unprovoked racist attack". Which judge might that have been? Mr Justice Ognall, who sentenced him to life imprisonment? Lord Chief Justice Lane, who dismissed Ram's first appeal at the leave stage in 1989? Or Lord Justice Beldam, who dismissed his second appeal in a strongly worded judgment six and a half years later? You say "Bengali-speaking witnesses were never interviewed". Which witnesses might they be? The restaurant manager who appeared as a prosecution witness and who gave damning testimony? Or the waiter Abdul Mozomil who was likewise a prosecution witness? You say Ram is still fighting to have his conviction overturned. That was and probably still is true, but this fight is hopeless, and is based like Ram's appeals - to both the court and the public - on lies and deceit. You say that Ram served longer than his tariff because he refused to accept his guilt. That is undoubtedly one reason, but a tariff is only a recommendation, as you surely know, and the fact that Ram was so disruptive in prison may also have had something to do with it. If, as you say, Ram wasted many years of his life, that was a free and voluntary choice. His victim never had that choice. Regarding the first article, you will find a very full critique of this on the website: http://www.geocities.com/satpalramisguilty/ It would be tiresome to rehash this critique in its entirety here so I will confine myself to the following three points: 1) Why do you accept Ram's uncorroborated claim that he stabbed Clarke Pearce with a pen knife when the forensic and all the other reliable evidence indicates clearly that the murder weapon (which was never recovered) was a flick knife? An illegal weapon, be it noted. 2) Why nowhere in this article did you mention the salient fact that Ram was drunk at the time of the murder, or that he cursed his victim as he lay mortally wounded on the floor? 3) In its November 1995 judgment, the Court of Appeal reported that "the judge, misled by a diagram...made a significant mistake but one which could only have assisted the defence". According to the pathologist's report, Clarke Pearce was stabbed twice or possibly three times in the back. His injuries included "A complex double incised wound" to the lower chest. Can you please explain how it is possible to stab a man twice, possibly three times in the back, in self-defence? Yours Sincerely, A Baron cc Mrs Nadine O'Neill
The above letter was posted as dated and E-mailed December 19, 2003. No reply was received from either missive. At the time it was written, Ram was unlawfully at large, although probably Simon Hattenstone was unaware of this.
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