The main organiser for the Free Satpal Campaign appears to be a girl named Lesley Naylor. My only direct contact with the campaign was from a girl who phoned me at 22.14 on October 29, 2000 from a London number: 020 8522 1433.
I assumed she was an Anglicised Asian - she sounded Asian - as far as there is such a thing as an Anglicised Asian accent, although the surname Naylor indicates otherwise. The girl I spoke to did not give her surname, and identified herself only as ďa friendĒ; her voice was a clone of the voice on the Ram campaignís answerphone. In the absence of compelling evidence to the contrary it must be assumed that this Lesley and Lesley Naylor are one and the same person. We had a long conversation.
Lesley confirmed that Gareth Peirce was Ramís lawyer; she said that Ram was (at that time) in Full Sutton and had been there for some time. I told her I believed Ram to have been in Belmarsh but she said that was about a year ago, and that they keep moving him around. She sounded plausible enough, but like most people of my age I have learned that plausible liars are a dime a dozen.
She sounded a bit uncomfortable that I knew so much about the case. When I referred her to the original press reports she said I shouldnít place too much faith in them; I agreed, from personal experience, but couldnít see how the reports of the death of Clarke Pearce shortly after the knifing could be reconciled with the Free Satpal Campaignís claims that ďthe attackerĒ had refused medical treatment, pulled out his drips and died at home after discharging himself from hospital.
Lesley said that she would arrange for me to be sent extracts from the original trial transcripts, and in this respect if in no other she was as good as her word. Shortly I received by E-mail considerable documentation on the case, most of which I have not found on the web. I have to say though that the quantity of this documentation is far more impressive than its quality. In view of our lengthy conversation I was expecting to find all manner of things punching holes in the prosecution case, but for the most part it consists of rants and raves against the prosecution witnesses, the police, the lawyers, and the verdict. As Ramís Junior Counsel pointed out, the fact that an accused disagrees with the verdict is not sufficient grounds for appeal.
In our first telephone conversation, Lesley said that new witnesses had either been found or had come forward. These new witnesses hadnít given evidence at the trial because they hadnít been asked. She couldnít disclose any information about them at this stage or about the contents of their statements because they were too sensitive. There were also new statements from the Bengali waiters. To me this sounded a bit like the new evidence the defence attempted to adduce in the Abu-Jamal case.
Lesley said that Douglas Draycott admitted that he was wrong - referring, apparently, to his failing to put Ram in the witness box. I told her that Draycott is dead, and she said she believed so. Obviously she knew he was dead, and her claim that he had made any such concession is just as obviously a bare-faced lie. The only documentation she produced from Draycott and Linehan refutes this claim, and in its 1995 judgment the Court of Appeal ruled that Draycott had acted reasonably in his trial strategy.
A further refutation of this claim is the fact that Draycott actually brought a libel action against the BBC Today programme over allegations that he bungled the case! This action was settled to the late QCís satisfaction, and a report on its implications was published in a legal journal.
At the Court of Appeal in 1995, said Lesley, a great deal of new evidence had come to light. Again, this is clearly not the case.
One significant concession I obtained from her, and which she never tried to rebut, is that the claim Clarke Pearce pulled out his drips, discharged himself from hospital and went home where he died, was not true. She didnít know how this claim found its way into the campaign literature. Again, this is a bare-face lie; in all probability she wrote this leaflet herself, or had a part in it. Certainly neither she nor anyone else lobbying on behalf of this cowardly murderer has condemned this lie in forthright terms.
She reiterated the claim that Ram stabbed Pearce with a pen knife, which is of course yet another proven lie.
By December 3, 2000 I had digested the contents of Lesleyís package, and phoned her back. I spent fifteen minutes or so putting various points to her, trying to reason with her, and to explaining as diplomatically as I could that Ram was guilty of murder. When finally I told her this point blank she said she was going to hang up on me, and did just that.
Heís innocent, she screamed, I must be crazy to believe otherwise. I pointed out that itís not me whoís doing a life sentence. I might have added that if I am crazy then so were both the jury and the Court of Appeal.
Regardless of her hysteria and total and utter disrespect for truth she is obviously ignorant of both the rules of evidence and the law of murder.
Prior to hanging up on me she said a Channel 4 documentary on the case had recently been screened, and, she insisted again, Ram had used a pen knife rather than a flick knife.
Just before she put the phone down she claimed that Ram could have been out after seven years but insists on protesting his innocence. It is most unlikely that even a thoroughly penitent Ram would have been paroled after a mere seven years for a murder of this nature. And it is simply not true that Ram would not have been convicted of murder if he had been white.
She said too that the judge hadnít told the jury to ignore the evidence of Clarkeís fiancťe, in stark contrast to the claim made in her documentation.
She raised two other points: the Criminal Cases Review Commission had reserved its decision on referring Ramís case back to the Court of Appeal until January 2001. She said also that charges had been filed re allegations of brutality against Ramís gaolers, that the Free Satpal Campaign had had a meeting with Prisons Minister Paul Boateng earlier in the year, but that basically he had fobbed them off.
Obviously she didnít think much of Boateng. I must confess that he is far from my favourite politician either, but he is just about the last person in the world to cover up allegations of racially motivated physical and/or psychological abuse.
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