POETRY //

Tryptych of poems about Innocence Network UK (INUK) and reflections on its member innocence projects

The following three poems are linked in the order that they appear and the dates that they were written. They express:

  1. Poem 1: my response to a series of published articles when Innocence Network UK (INUK) was terminated that made false and misguided accusations that I, 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;
  2. Poem 2: my 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?;
  3. Poem 3: my overall reflections on Innocence Network UK (INUK) and decision to no longer be involved with the politics and in-fighting of the alleged miscarriages of justice/wrongful conviction community, which was a most pernicious experience, in the hope that innocence projects would then have to step up and 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

Michael Naughton
December 2014

 

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?

Michael Naughton
January 2016

 

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 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

Michael Naughton
May 2016

 

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