Preamble

If you read certain left wing publications, certain ethnic publications, or certain publications devoted, ostensibly, to race relations, then you may have read about the case of Satpal Ram. If you search for the term “Satpal Ram” on the WorldWideWeb, using the Yahoo! directory/search engine for example, you will find literally hundreds of sites which report on the conviction and imprisonment of Satpal Ram. This case has also been fairly widely reported in the mainstream media, including by the Guardian newspaper, national television and BBC radio. Almost without exception, it is touted as a long-running miscarriage of justice cast from the same mould as the Guildford Four and Birmingham Six cases.

An in-depth article in one of the Sunday heavies in January 2000 claimed that “The facts of the case are deeply disturbing.” (1) According to Ram’s supporters, by November 2000, well over fifty thousand people had signed a petition supporting him, a petition the campaign said it would submit in a picket of Downing Street on November 16 that year. (2)

Following a big feature on the case in the Asian Times, (3) “Shah” of Bradford wrote in to the paper to express his approval of its coverage and of the campaign to win Ram his freedom. (4) The following issue contained a rant by the left wing comedian Mark Thomas calling for support for the forthcoming Downing Street picket. (5)

Ram’s campaigners and supporters include the bands Asian Dub Foundation, Chumbawumba, Massive Attack, and Primal Scream. Individuals who have leant support to the campaign include Lord Waheed Alli, the solicitor Imran Khan, the well known disc-jockey Annie Nightingale, and the poet Benjamin Zephaniah. Solidarity events for Ram have been organised around the world as far afield as Tokyo! (6) Everybody it seems believes Satpal Ram to be the victim of an ongoing miscarriage of justice. Everybody that is except the people who know the true facts of his case and who have seen the evidence of his crime tested in the courtroom. This factsheet is an attempt to present these facts and this overwhelming evidence of Ram’s guilt to those sincere, well meaning people who have been duped, or in some cases have allowed themselves to be duped, by the Free Satpal Campaign.

The Case Against Satpal Ram,
And The Campaign - In Brief

Briefly, Satpal Ram killed a stranger in a frenzied knife attack in an argument about music in the Sky Blue restaurant, Lozells, Birmingham, in the small hours of Sunday, November 16, 1986. He gloated over his victim before leaving the scene of the crime. After trying, unsuccessfully, to obtain a passport to flee the country, the British-born Ram gave himself up to the police accompanied by his solicitor. He was charged with murder, remanded in custody, and committed for trial at Birmingham Crown Court, where in June 1987 he was convicted by a jury after a fair trial. He appealed his conviction; his first appeal was dismissed by the Court of Appeal in 1989. Under pressure from his noisy and largely dishonest campaigners, his case was referred back to the Court of Appeal by the Criminal Cases Review Commission. [Erratum!] His second appeal was dismissed in a strongly worded judgment handed down November 24, 1995.

At the time of writing, January 2001, Ram’s campaigners have presented another dossier to the Criminal Cases Review Commission. Because the case against their hero - and this is what some people call him (7) - is watertight, they have been attempting to undermine the prosecution case by fabricating evidence, in particular by trying to persuade Asian witnesses who didn’t give evidence at the original trial to disown their witness statements.

The current writer has been researching this case since about August 2000. I have read dozens or hundreds of diatribes on behalf of Ram on the WorldWideWeb, and many newspaper and magazine articles, which basically all parrot the same lies. I have also researched the original press reports of the murder of Clarke Pearce, including of the trial. (8) I have read the Court of Appeal judgments, and I have spoken to various people connected with the case, in particular with the chambers and son of the late Douglas Draycott, Ram’s leading counsel, and with Mrs Nadine O’Neill, who was with Clarke Pearce the night he was murdered by Ram, and who saw her brother’s neck gashed open. Below are ten of the lies and ten of the distortions most frequently touted by the Free Satpal Campaign along with their refutations.

Alexander Baron,
Sydenham,
London,

January 15, 2001

TEN LIES SPREAD BY SATPAL RAM AND HIS APOLOGISTS,
AND THE REFUTATIONS OF THEM

Lie Number 1: Satpal Ram was attacked by six white men who racially abused him.

This was the claim made in a recent left wing magazine article. (9) Usually though these mythical six white men are referred to simply as six white people or as racists, as for example in the leaflet (10) reproduced in the Appendix to this pamphlet and to which I will refer throughout.

The truth is that Ram was dining with two friends, and his victim, Clarke Pearce, was dining with five other people: his fiancée, his sister Mrs Nadine O’Neill and her husband, and another couple. None of the other people attacked Ram, and Clarke Pearce, unlike Ram, was not armed with a knife.

According to Mrs O’Neill, she and her brother had dined at this restaurant many times before and were well known there. The further claim that the group was racially abusive to the staff should be seen in this context. Would they have been welcome in this restaurant if they were such overt racists?

Lie Number 2: Ram was backed into a corner, in fear of his life, and warned Pearce not to come any closer.

This scenario might occur in a Jackie Chan film, but Ram’s campaigners have made much of the fact that he was five inches shorter and four and a half stone lighter than his victim. Regardless of that, this is not the way the murder happened. Clarke Pearce was attacked from behind: compelling eyewitness and forensic evidence attests to this, and has not, and never will be, refuted.

Lie Number 3: Ram stabbed Clarke Pearce with a pen-knife, in the words of the leaflet: “a small knife that he used in his work”.

Ram stabbed Clarke Pearce with a flick knife. Mrs O’Neill is adamant that he opened it with one hand. It is a criminal offence in Britain to carry any offensive weapon without a lawful excuse. Almost anything from a Bowie knife to a nail file can be classed as an offensive weapon, so this is undoubtedly a bad law, but a flick knife is an illegal weapon per se. According to statute: “a flick knife is made for the purpose of causing injury to the person”. (11)

The weapon was never recovered, for obvious reasons. Such a weapon could not have been purchased openly, and leaving aside the oftentimes unfortunate fact that ignorance of the law is no excuse, it is inconceivable that Ram did not know that he was carrying an illegal weapon.

Read the leaflet in the Appendix and ask yourself how, if Ram was carrying a pen-knife, was he able to ward off the much taller and heavier Clarke Pearce while at the same time opening a folding blade.

Lie Number 4: Clarke Pearce pulled out his drips, went home and died.

When the current writer contacted the Ram Campaign the person I spoke to - a young Asian girl who said her name was Lesley - said that she couldn’t understand how this claim had got into the leaflet. (12) She sounded sincere, but sincerity is not difficult to fake. This damned lie - for that is what it is - is repeated on the website of the Student Assembly Against Racism, in a briefing which bears the logos of the National Assembly Against Racism and The 1990 Trust. This was downloaded by the current writer on November 12, 2000 from:

http://www.saarnews.fsnet.co.uk/satpal.htm

The murder of Clarke Pearce was reported in the local press the following day. He was said to have died in Birmingham General Hospital half an hour after the attack. (13) According to a lengthy E-mail received by the current writer from Lesley, he was pronounced dead at 4.23am.

In spite of this concession, Ram’s supporters will doubtless continue to spread this lie to whomever they think is gullible enough to believe it; they are certainly continuing to blame the victim for his own death, (see Distortion Number 2 below).

Lie Number 5: Police racism and incompetence led to Ram being charged with murder.

Ram stabbed his victim in the neck with an illegal weapon, gloated to Clarke’s party, then left the scene of the crime. The five witnesses in this party and other, independent witnesses, all made statements to the police. The incident happened quickly, and as always in such cases, or indeed in any incident which is witnessed by several different people, the perceptions of the individual witnesses varied slightly, but the weight of the evidence at the time of the investigation, and at the trial, indicated that Ram stabbed Clarke Pearce in circumstances which any reasonable person would consider to be murder. After giving himself up, Ram was questioned under caution in the presence of his solicitor, and was subsequently charged with murder. What has this to do with police racism? What has it to do with police incompetence?

Lie Number 6 : Ram’s barrister was incompetent.

Ram had the best defence Legal Aid can buy. As usual in such a case, the defendant had not one but two barristers. Ram’s leading counsel, Douglas Draycott QC, was called to the Bar in 1950. He took silk in 1965 and was Recorder of Shrewsbury from 1966-71. He was leader of the Midland and Oxford Circuit (an elected post) from 1979-83. In April 1995, at the age of 77, he was the longest practising barrister in the Midlands. (14) Douglas Draycott died in December 1997, and his contemporaries continue to speak well of him. Ram’s junior counsel, Stephen Linehan, took silk in 1993. The clerk of the late Douglas Draycott’s chambers dismissed the suggestion that he was incompetent, (15) as did the Court of Appeal in its 1995 judgment.

Lie Number 7: Ram had only one 40 minute consultation with his barrister prior to the trial.

This claim is made in the leaflet and has been made in many other places, most notably in the Observer. (16) However, it is contradicted by the Campaign’s own propaganda.

In a lengthy E-mail sent to the current writer November 8, 2000, it was claimed that Draycott and Linehan visited Ram in prison on June 1, 1987, and again before the trial “briefly”.

It remains to be seen if either Draycott and/or Linehan visited Ram at any other time, but it is customary for an accused to be represented by Counsel at the committal and pleas and directions stages, where surely they would have introduced themselves. It is in fact inconceivable under the English legal system that in a murder case where an accused intended to plead, was pleading, or had pleaded not guilty, that he would not have been represented by Counsel at previous hearings. (17) It is clear also that Ram was visited while in custody by other members of his legal team.

Lie Number 8: Ram’s witnesses were not called; those who were called were not provided with interpreters.

Ram appeared in the dock along with Narvinder (18) Shinji, who was charged with assisting him to avoid arrest. Shinji was cleared on the direction of the judge but was gaoled for eighteen months for possessing a flick knife after the murder. (19) Ram’s German girlfriend Evelyn Schneider appeared as a defence witness, and apparently did not impress the jury, but the other witnesses, who were not called, were not defence witnesses but prosecution witnesses.

According to the law report of Ram’s first appeal: one of the witnesses “tendered by the Crown(20) was so unintelligible that Ram’s counsel abandoned attempting to cross-examine him. The man had, of course, made a statement. “In so far as this application was in effect one to call fresh evidence the court had examined the witness statement and did not consider that the effect of the evidence sought to be called made the conviction unsafe or unsatisfactory...” (21)

The suggestion, or inference, has been made, that the statements of the waiters were made up out of the whole cloth by the police. This sort of thing does happen; it is an unfortunate fact that in criminal proceedings witness statements (including confessions) are generally written by police officers rather than by the witnesses themselves. The Police And Criminal Evidence Act introduced a number of safeguards to protect an accused against police misconduct; the practice of “verballing” suspects has now all but disappeared. Verballing though is not really an issue in this case, nor is any other form of police perfidy, because as well as the waiters and the five people with Clarke Pearce, there were other, independent witnesses, who saw the incident. Their evidence was apparently accepted by the jury.

Lie Number 9: Ram was ignorant of the law.

This is Ram’s and his apologists’ excuse for his accepting the supposedly bad advice of his supposedly incompetent legal team. In fact, Ram had previous convictions. The current writer was told by Ram’s solicitor that he had at least two convictions which she described as very trivial. According to the blurb I received from the Campaign, Ram chose his solicitor, John Morgan, because he had represented him previously in “petty matters”.

What these petty matters were exactly was not specified. The fact that Ram had previous convictions does not of course make him a murderer, even if these convictions involved violence. Ordinarily they would not have been put before the jury. The point though is that if Ram had appeared in court before on at least two occasions, he was not, as his supporters would like the public to believe, some innocent little Indian peasant straight off the boat from Bombay. Ram was born in Britain, was fairly Anglicised, and would have been as familiar if not more so than the proverbial man on the Clapham Omnibus with the “do’s and don’t’s” of the law of the land and with criminal evidence and procedure. And he would most certainly have known that carrying a flick knife was illegal, and that if he slashed a man’s neck open with such a weapon under any circumstances, he would find himself in serious trouble.

Lie Number 10: see end of next section.

TEN DISTORTIONS
SPREAD BY SATPAL RAM AND HIS APOLOGISTS,
AND THE REFUTATIONS OF THEM

Distortion Number 1: Both men sought medical treatment after the incident. Ram left Pearce still shouting racial abuse and went to have his wounds treated.

This is more of a lie than a distortion. Clarke Pearce did not seek medical treatment after the incident because he was in no condition to; he was taken to Birmingham General Hospital by ambulance as he lapsed in and out of consciousness. He had been lying in a pool of blood. (22) As Ram left the restaurant he asked if Clarke was dead, (see Distortion Number 3 below); he would hardly have asked this if his victim was conscious and shouting abuse. Ram did indeed seek medical treatment after the incident. According to a contemporary newspaper report, he turned up at a (different) hospital with a friend several hours later (23) where he sought treatment for a wound to his cheek, “But he was so drunk and abusive that doctors could not attend to his injury”. (24) It is reported on at least one website that “both men were taken to hospital”. (25)

Distortion Number 2: Clarke Pearce died because he refused medical treatment. (See also Lie Number 4 above).

Although the Campaign admitted to the current writer that Clarke Pearce did not discharge himself from the hospital, they still persist in blaming the victim for his own death.

The website of the band Asian Dub Foundation states baldly that “The attacker” refused medical treatment.

In her lengthy E-mail, Lesley claimed that “...we have strong reason to believe that the time at which the deceased died was indeed different to that originally claimed. Whether it was days later or on the same day I’m not sure. I haven’t seen the proof - nor is this a point that many are concentrating on. From a legal point of view, it is possible that the deceased died because he refused vital medical treatment and this is a view which has never been challenged.”

As stated, the murder was reported in the local press of November 17, 1986; very likely it was reported on local radio prior to that, so this claim or inference that the police, the hospital staff and Uncle Tom Cobleigh and all, conspired to conceal the time of death is too stupid to comment on. The claim that the deceased’s “refusal” of medical treatment is an important legal point is likewise garbage, and Ram’s supporters would do well to read a little criminal law, like this: “It has long been the policy of the law that those who use violence on other people must take their victims as they find them.” (26)

It is also well known that the mens rea (ie the state of mind) for murder does not require an intent to kill, only an intent to cause serious bodily harm. It is extremely doubtful if in the recent tragic case of Damilola Taylor, that the boy who stabbed him intended to kill him, but the police immediately launched a murder investigation. (27)

But did Clarke Pearce refuse medical treatment? Here is what the Campaign sent me. Quoting Dr Jeanne McGivern, who tried to save him: “He was shouting at the top of his voice, thrashing around the trolley, and was being held down by a porter, some ambulance men and some nurses. On closer assessment the patient appeared alert, although he smelled of alcohol and was extremely uncooperative.”

And: “I made the decision that the patient must go to the theatre urgently for a thoraco-laparotomy. He was therefore transferred up to the operating theatre. By the time I arrived in the operating theatre the patient was on the operating table and had been intubated with an endotracheal tube. Apparently he had pulled his lines out on the way up to the theatre, and by the time he was on the table he had once again become profoundly shocked, and had an unrecordable pulse and blood pressure.”

Even from this heavily edited account of the victim’s last moments, it is clear what happened. Clarke Pearce had been unconscious, and, just as clearly not master of his own mind, reacted violently when he came round in the hospital. Mrs O’Neill said he probably thought he was still in the restaurant and being attacked. She was disgusted at this attempt to blame her brother for his own death and said that the Court of Appeal was equally disgusted. One might just as easily blame Damilola Taylor for failing to seek medical treatment.

Distortion Number 3: Incriminatory statements attributed to Ram were “obviously” fabricated by the prosecution witnesses.

In the mailing the current writer received from Lesley, the stark claim is made that: “So far as the alleged statements such as, ’I hope I’ve killed him’ are concerned, these are part of the evidence of witnesses who were clearly fabricating evidence in order to make things look as bad as possible for Satpal.”

For Ram’s supporters to make such sweeping statements shows a complete lack of understanding of the legal process as much as their innate dishonesty. The rules of evidence are extremely complicated, so much so that even High Court judges frequently get them wrong, and it is not unknown for a decision of a lower court to be reversed by the Court of Appeal then reversed again by the House of Lords, but basically, if evidence is deemed probative and relevant and is not excluded by the judge for some other reason, it can be given under oath. It can then be tested by cross-examination. If under cross-examination, a particular witness admits that he or she is lying, or might be mistaken, then the judge can take appropriate action, which might be directing the jury to ignore that part of the evidence. In a rare case, the judge might stop the trial and order the jury to return a verdict of not guilty.

Imagine for argument’s sake a rape trial in which the only issue is consent, and the defence barrister says to the only prosecution witness, Miss X: “You had sex with my client willingly, didn’t you?” to which she replies: “Yes, he didn’t rape me”. Under those circumstances, there would be little else the judge could do but to halt the trial and invite the prosecution to discontinue its case, which it would surely do. Another, and probably more frequent occurrence, is that at the end of the prosecution case, the defence can make a submission of no case to answer.

Indeed, this, or something similar to it, actually happened during Ram’s trial: Ram’s co-defendant Narvinder Shinji was cleared of assisting his friend to avoid arrest before the end of the case.

If a witness stands up to cross-examination and is unshaken, or relatively so, then the evidence will go to the jury. It is simply not good enough for Ram’s supporters to claim that this prosecution witness (or all of them) were lying because of bias, emotional involvement, racism, or whatever. If that were the case nobody could ever be convicted of any crime. Another point the reader might like to ponder is that if the prosecution witnesses were fabricating their stories as Ram’s supporters claim, why didn’t they incriminate Narvinder Shinji as well? In his statement, one of the Indian waiters said that he saw Shinji holding Ram back. In fact, apart from his later act of crass stupidity, (28) Narvinder Shinji doesn’t come out of this horrible incident too badly. He can hardly be held responsible for the actions of his psychopathic friend, and one should not condemn him too harshly for failing to turn Ram in to the police.

Distortion Number 4: Ram’s barrister changed his defence from self-defence to provocation.

The implication of this claim, which has been made repeatedly, is that Draycott did so without consulting his client. This is nonsense. A barrister is instructed by a solicitor, who is in turn instructed by the client. It is possible for a barrister to “stitch a client up” by acting in a manner of which his client does not approve; this is rare, but it does happen. Barristers are also human and can be incompetent, unenthusiastic, and so on, but this clearly was not so in Ram’s case.

Douglas Draycott and Stephen Linehan could not have changed Ram’s defence without their client’s consent. Ram could have put forward any defence he wanted; he could have denied stabbing Clarke Pearce; he could even have denied being at the restaurant that night, and however ill-considered his defence, his Counsel would have been obliged to represent him in said manner to the best of their abilities subject only to the caveat that an advocate must not wilfully mislead the jury.

But as the Court of Appeal pointed out in its 1995 judgment: “It was clear that counsel made a much deeper appraisal of the implications of the evidence likely to be given and concluded that self-defence could not be argued...The evidence of the weapon used by the appellant and the stab wounds in the back were quite inconsistent with self-defence as was the evidence of his aggressive behaviour and words.” (29)

Draycott and Linehan were defending a hopeless case, but even so they advised their client to adopt a defence strategy which maximised their chances of success. Ram accepted their advice, and must live with the consequences, the same way he must live with the consequences of his crime.

Distortion Number 5: Ram could not tell his side of the story at the trial.

Ram could have told his side of the story, and did. He attended the police station with his solicitor after giving himself up, and was questioned at length by the police. This evidence was put before the court. Ram was advised by his legal team not to give (live) evidence. The opinion of the current writer is that an innocent man should always give evidence, but that is as far as my sympathy goes. If Ram had given evidence, he would have also had to submit himself to cross-examination. How would the verdict have been different?

Distortion Number 6: Because of Ram’s failure to give evidence, the actual nature of events was not discussed. Instead, the main evidence came from friends of Satpal’s attacker who painted Clarke Pearce as an innocent victim rather than a violent racist.

Again, the record of Ram’s questioning by the police was put before the jury. One of Ram’s companions gave evidence; the other, Narvinder Shinji, who didn’t, was a minor co-defendant, and was cleared by the judge. There were other, independent witnesses. The prosecution witnesses were cross-examined and their versions of events tested.

Clarke Pearce was 22 years old, and had his neck torn open with an illegal weapon by a total stranger in a frenzied knife attack. Are they saying he wasn’t a victim? Even if Clarke Pearce had attacked Ram, in English law a man is entitled to retaliate only with reasonable force. The question of what constitutes reasonable force in any particular case is a matter for the jury to decide; the jury did decide. If Clarke Pearce had attacked Ram, the correct thing for Ram to do would have been to call the police, not to retaliate in such a lethal fashion.

Distortion Number 7: Ram’s trial was unfair because the jury was all white.

This year, Ram will begin the fifteenth year of his life sentence; he and his supporters have blamed everyone under the sun for his current predicament, everyone except the real culprit that is - Ram himself. Most sickeningly they have blamed and continue to blame the victim, but also the racist and incompetent police, the racist prosecution witnesses, the incompetent advocates, the biased judge, the ignorant Court of Appeal, so why not the bigoted jury too? There is no requirement in England that a jury should conform to a particular racial make up. Certain categories of citizens are excluded from jury service, police officers for example, but apart from that, the main requirement of a jury is that it should be random.

The current writer was informed by Mrs O’Neill that the defence objected to two jurors; Ram’s campaigners say he challenged one. It is not simply an insult to white people to suggest that they must by nature be biased against non-white defendants, it is also wrong. For what they are worth, opinion polls show consistently that blacks in particular are less liberal than whites, and favour the death penalty for murder more than whites; the working classes are also less liberal than the middle classes. Jurors of all races are capable of making mistakes, but they didn’t in this case.

Distortion Number 8: The judge’s summing up was unfair.

This is simply not true, even from the carefully edited soundbytes that were forwarded to the current writer by the Free Satpal Campaign. According to Lesley, the judge asked the jury to disregard the evidence of the deceased’s fiancée on the grounds that she was emotionally distraught. The judge also warned the jury to be careful when assessing what he referred to as “the family evidence”. He gave a similar warning with regard to the defence witness Evelyn Schneider. The Campaign clearly didn’t like this, and suggested that the judge should have excluded the evidence of Clarke’s fiancée in total. This is frivolous nonsense; had there been any suggestion that the judge’s summing up had been unfair, this would have been immediate grounds for appeal. Ram has to date had two appeals on other grounds, both of which have been rightly dismissed.

Distortion Number 9: Ram was not permitted to speak at his appeals.

A claim of this nature is wilfully ignorant, if not outright mischievous. Unless there is significant new evidence, there will be no live witnesses at an appeal against conviction from the Crown Court to the Court of Appeal. We have already covered the case of the unintelligible waiter, (see Lie Number 8 above).

In 1982, John McGranaghan, a career criminal who was fitted up by a police/prosecution conspiracy for a series of sex attacks, (30) went before the Court of Appeal. This appeal, which was purely on procedure, was rightly dismissed in summary fashion; there were no live witnesses. At McGranaghan’s 1991 appeal however, new forensic evidence, which had been suppressed by the authorities, was put before the court, and there were live witnesses as far as the testing of this new evidence was concerned, but McGranaghan himself did not give evidence; the evidence he gave at his trial was a simple denial; because of the time lag involved between the commission of the offences and his arrest he wasn’t even able to provide meaningful alibis. At his trial in 1981, he had simply not been believed by the jury; nothing he said subsequently could have altered the quality of his original evidence.

Ram is in a similar position to McGranaghan; the transcript of his questioning by the police (which would have been edited) was put before the jury. Like McGranaghan he was not believed, but unlike McGranaghan he is guilty. Nothing he says now can in any way make the verdict unsafe; only new evidence from fresh (in his case) perjured witnesses can do that, and that is not going to happen.

Distortion Number 10: Retired Chief Justice Lord Lane said that increasing Ram’s tariff was unfair.

This claim appears in the Briefing article Self Defence is no offence... (alluded to above) as well as many other places. For example, in the E-mail the current writer received from Lesley of the Free Satpal Campaign it is claimed that: “The original tariff was set for 10 years by the courts subsequently increased by the then Home Secretary to 11 years. Retired Chief Justice, Lord Lane advised that this, amongst many other disturbing factors, was wrong because it amounted to political interference. A position he continues to re-iterate, the respective roles of politicians should not extend to sentencing. Sentencing should be left up to judges to make and not politicians.” (31)

Lord Lane is far from the only senior judge to take such a position, and he is undoubtedly correct, but he was just as undoubtedly not commenting on Ram’s case, because it was Lord Lane who as Lord Chief Justice presided over Ram’s first appeal! The reference to “many other disturbing factors” is a clear fabrication.

The case which provoked this debate was a far more notorious one than that of Satpal Ram, in particular that of the killers of two year old James Bulger: Robert Thompson and Jon Venables.

On their conviction, amidst worldwide publicity, Thompson and Venables were ordered to be detained for life; in view of their age - surely the only mitigating factor in this appalling crime - they were each set a tariff of eight years by the trial judge. Many people, including, naturally, the parents of the victim, believed this to be far too lenient; it was increased by the then Lord Chief Justice to ten years and then by Home Secretary Michael Howard to fifteen. Howard actually justified his position on television. While many people, including the current writer, sympathise with both Howard and the parents of James Bulger, his decision was rightly overturned by the House of Lords as unlawful, and the European Court of Human Rights ruled that such an increase was a breach of their human rights.

Another notorious case which has provoked similar heated debate is that of Moors Murderess Myra Hindley, who has been trying to win her freedom for many years, and the tabloid press has been doing its best to make sure that she never does, and rightly so.

Granted that increasing a sentence or a tariff is wrong, even for ostensibly bona fide reasons, what is often forgotten here is that a tariff is not a sentence, it is the minimum period to be served before a life sentence prisoner is to be considered for release on licence. (32) In practice, a tariff is fairly meaningless, especially for somebody like Ram, who will not even be seriously considered for parole until he faces up to his crime, calls off his lapdogs who have repeatedly libelled and slandered both the victim and his family, (33) and stops acting in a disruptive and uncooperative manner. Whatever, none of this has any bearing on Ram’s guilt, which has been established and re-affirmed twice by due process of law.

LIE NUMBER 10,
AND THE BIGGEST LIE OF ALL:
THE FACTS OF THIS CASE
ARE DEEPLY DISTURBING.

This claim was made in the Observer on January 30, 2000, (see above). The journalist credited with this story, Jay Rayner, has no excuse for writing such drivel. Most people accept that what they read in the newspapers or see on TV or hear on the radio is not necessarily accurate. There are bona fide reasons for this. We live in an age when news is transmitted globally at the press of a button. If somebody is misquoted, a document misread, an incident misinterpreted...the falsehood concerned can literally travel around the world while the truth is still lacing up its boots, as the saying goes. Journalists who are reporting on news stories and current affairs can and do mislead the public for totally innocent reasons. But feature writing is different.

The Observer is widely respected as a quality newspaper; a journalist who interviews a man in prison who is protesting his innocence should be especially weary, even more so when the conviction is for as serious a crime as murder, and when that conviction has been upheld not once but twice by the Court of Appeal. Although Rayner’s feature on Ram bears the hallmarks of sloppy research and even sloppier fact checking, (34) it also bears the stamp of dishonesty.

Any intelligent, open-minded person reading the leaflet produced by the Free Satpal Campaign (see Appendix) or any of its other self-serving propaganda has only to apply a little critical faculty to realise that the incident could almost certainly not have happened as Ram’s supporters claim. And anyone with any legal training at all will realise that the public is being seriously and wilfully misled.

The most deeply disturbing fact about this case is the ease with which a small but well organised and highly dedicated team of liars has hoodwinked large tranches of a well meaning public by convincing them that the case of Satpal Ram is yet another of those long-running miscarriages of justice that have been so well documented in Britain throughout the 1990s. In this enterprise they have been aided and abetted by the uncritical and often dishonest reporting of the case by agenda driven special interest publications such as the Asian Times, CARF, Labour Left Briefing, and Socialist Worker; and more frighteningly by mainstream and supposedly unbiased media outlets such as the Observer newspaper which report the gospel according to St Ram just as uncritically.

One might also ask in this connection where is the Daily Mail which has done so much to expose the lies and lunacies of the politically correct brigade, or for that matter where is the News Of The World, or the other Sunday tabloids who thrive on scandal and dishonesty? Ram’s supporters are not only well organised they are well funded; they are running an ongoing appeal, and are in effect taking money from the public under false pretences, namely to proselytise blatant lies, to defame the dead and living alike, and to attempt to secure the freedom and acquittal of a cold-blooded killer.

Conclusion

In the court of law there are rules of evidence that must be adhered to, in the court of public opinion there are no such rules. In the court of law, we find that there is no evidence or testimony that points to Satpal Ram’s innocence. Therefore, Ram and his apologists have chosen to try this case in the court of public opinion. (35)

Among the fifty thousand and more people we are informed have signed the petition for Ram, there are some surprising names, none more so than those of the solicitor Imran Khan, and Mrs Sukhdev Reel.

Imran Khan has made a name for himself representing Doreen and Neville Lawrence. Whatever one may think of the behaviour of the Lawrences over the past few years, they are bereaved parents, and victims of a senseless crime, the murder of their favourite son. As a solicitor, Khan cannot be ignorant of the blatant, lying propaganda with which Ram’s supporters have been deluging the public. Yet his uncritical endorsement of the Ram Campaign gives these lies and distortions spurious credence. (36)

Sukhdev Reel is the mother of Lakhvinder (Ricky) Reel, who died in uncertain circumstances in 1997. (37) One would have expected her to empathise with the elderly mother of Clarke Pearce (38) rather than with a cold-blooded and totally unrepentant killer like Ram. But for Mr Khan and Mrs Reel, misplaced tribal loyalties appear to be more important than truth and justice.

Ram’s supporters have played the race card shamelessly and are continuing to do so; they have even had the audacity to compare Ram with Stephen Lawrence. There is indeed a similarity with the Lawrence murder here. Like Stephen Lawrence, Clarke Pearce was cut down in the prime of his life and left to bleed to death by a cowardly knife-wielding thug who disappeared into the night; the only difference is that his killer was brought to book.

In spite of the continued whining by Ram’s supporters about racism, this case has nothing to do with race. Ram killed a stranger who happened to be white in an argument over music. Did you ever hear of anything so pointless or so senseless? It is true that Ram has suffered and is continuing to suffer for his crime, but he is the author of his own misfortune. (39) In spite of his bizarre elevation to cult status and international fame, he is a non-entity, a nasty little man whom nobody would ever have heard of if he had been a drunken white thug rather than a drunken Asian thug.


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