AN IRISHMAN who claims to be one of Britain’s few double miscarriage of justice victims has been given a chance to clear his name once and for all.
Martin Foran, 69, was jailed for separate robberies in 1978 and 1985 after investigations by the notorious gang of police officers behind the conviction of the Birmingham Six.
The Manchester-based Limerick man got his first glimpse of justice last April when the 1985 conviction was quashed.
But this week he learned that his first conviction could also be quashed after being referred back to the Court of Appeal because new evidence has come to light.
“For years my only wish has been not to die a criminal,” Mr Foran told The Irish Post.
“So I am grateful that I have finally been given the chance to clear my name. But isn’t it sad that someone has to wait 36 years for this?"
If successful in his appeal, the father-of-five hopes to win an apology for his family.
He said they suffered “horrible” abuse ever since his first conviction because of the “hatred” of Irish people in Birmingham, where they all lived during the 1970s and 1980s.
Mr Foran served six years of the 10-year sentence he received in 1978 for four counts of robbery.
The Criminal Cases Review Commission said it referred the case to the Court of Appeal after new evidence raised “a real possibility that the Court will now quash those convictions”.
“The Commission's referral is based upon evidence relating to the credibility of officers of the West Midlands Police Serious Crime Squad, who were involved in the case against Mr Foran,” a spokesperson added.
The Commission refers around one-in-25 applications to the appeal courts.
Mr Foran’s 1985 conviction was also referred to the Court of Appeal because of concerns about the notorious gang of police officers.
Quashing the conviction, Lord Leveson said new evidence meant the testimony of the West Midlands Serious Crime Squad’s Detective Inspector Paul Matthews, who interviewed Mr Foran, was “called into serious question”.
In 1993, an inquiry found that the Serious Crime Squad had been involved in malpractice, including “physical abuse of prisoners, fabrication of admissions, planting of evidence and mishandling of informants”.
West Midlands Police has previously said that the officers involved in Mr Foran’s 1985 conviction no longer work at the force and “a number of lessons have been learned” since then.
"The public should be reassured that West Midlands Police expects the highest standards of professionalism from its officers and staff and as such we have robust management and anti-corruption measures in place,” added Assistant Chief Constable Sharon Rowe.
For the full story, and the reaction of Birmingham Six member Paddy Hill, a close friend of Mr Foran, buy next week’s Irish Post.