The following three poems were written by INUK founder and director, Dr Michael Naughton. They are linked in the order that they appear and the dates that they were written. The reasoning is as follows:
- Poem 1: his response to a series of published articles when Innocence Network UK (INUK) was closed down that made false and misguided accusations that he, personally, had somehow abandoned innocent victims of wrongful conviction and imprisonment when, in truth, Innocence Network UK (INUK) was a mere training and case referral service to member innocence projects in UK universities for them to further investigate identified lines of inquiry. Indeed, Innocence Network UK (INUK) was not, itself, an investigatory body and, moreover, Innocence Network UK (INUK) was closed down because of a general lack of interest and progress with case investigations by its members as it was deemed to be unethical to continue to refer cases to innocence projects who were not working on them sufficiently or, indeed, at all;
- Poem 2: his thoughts on the general lack of progress of cases that were referred in good faith by Innocence Network UK (INUK) to its member innocence projects, the majority of which seemed to have put the education of students ahead of case investigations and justice for innocent prisoners and their families: but how can students be educated about wrongful convictions if they are not working on cases; what can they actually learn?; and,
- Poem 3: his overall reflections on Innocence Network UK (INUK) and the decision to no longer be involved with the politics and in-fighting of the alleged miscarriages of justice/wrongful conviction community, which he found a most pernicious experience, in the hope that innocence projects in the UK would then have to step up and not hide behind Innocence Network UK (INUK) and that innocent victims of wrongful conviction and imprisonment and their families might be better served by those that did.
1. Innocence lost?
- Shallow and begrudging platitudes only thinly veil personal attacks.
- A convenient scapegoat for the dim-witted herd.
- Character assassinations from would be rivals will not distract from their own deficiencies and defamations.
- Plagiarised discourse passed off as their own.
- Unable or unwilling to look in the mirror.
- Bandwagon jumpers know no other way.
- Garrulous chatter in the extreme.
- Less talk and more action required.
- A hope that such shamefulness pays off for those languishing wretches desperate for their help.
- Time will tell which truth will out.
2. Let down and betrayed?
- Innocence projects in the UK seemed such a fine idea.
- Inundated with requests from alleged victims of wrongful convictions, the need for help and hope could not be any more clear.
- A student army wanting a pro bono experience to strengthen their CVs.
- Could be harnessed for good and social justice, as opposed to the mere “what’s in it for me’s.
- But that was the theory that didn’t turn out to be real.
- Little institutional interest in progressing casework, no investigatory zeal.
- A few notable exceptions aside, a lack of progress with cases turned out to be the norm.
- Willing and eager students not supported, just could not weather the storm.
- So here we are, ten years has past.
- We have an additional part of the legal landscape that looks likely to last.
- But what of the innocent prisoners and their families you might ask.
- Let down and betrayed by an educational mask?
3. The Engineer
- There was an engineer.
- Who had a good idea.
- That wasn’t very clear.
- It nearly cost him dear.
- Many others got on-board.
- For reasons untoward.
- Who might best have been ignored.
- But he wasn’t so self-assured.
- Then he had a true belief.
- That the people needing relief.
- Might be better rescued from their grief.
- If he was no longer seen as Chief.
- It was hard to walk away.
- And even to this day.
- He struggles not to have his say.
- To stay out of the affray.
- But it’s really for the best.
- It’s now gotten off his chest.
- It’s now over to the rest.
- It’s time for them to pass the test.