This campaign is being launched from our kitchen table, in the middle of a pandemic, with a new baby – we hope you will join us as we take our very first steps on this journey!
In 2017 one of the projects founders Liam Allan was accused of multiple rapes and sexual assaults that was widely publicised at the time due to police withholding the evidence that eventually proved his innocence. Our project will provide practical and emotional support to defendants like Liam struggling to navigate the criminal justice system, via a website and a helpline.
Before Coronavirus, there was a backlog of 37,000 cases waiting to come to trial. Now the backlog is 40,500 cases. For the next five years at least, people accused of crimes will be waiting YEARS in legal limbo. This means people held in prison on remand without being convicted of any crime – and people given bail (as Liam was) having their lives placed on hold for all that time.
Now more than ever before, accused people need information about procedure and timelines, they need mental health support and they need to learn how to ensure that the evidence in their case is secured before it is too late. Solicitors and barristers working under the legal aid scheme simply do not have the resources to provide this level of support.
There is just so much that people accused of crimes don’t know, and need to know.
With your funding we will launch first a website and then a helpline to deliver the information that the accused need to know from the moment an investigation starts, to the end of their trial.
This is not just about people knowing where they stand, how long their lives will be on hold and providing mental health support. What happens between an accusation being made and a trial commencing makes all the difference to whether you are found guilty or acquitted. Making sure that your legal team has investigated your side of the story and secured evidence is vital. The criminal justice system does make mistakes, especially now with underfunding and delays so widespread.
Our goal with this Crowdfund is to raise the funds we need to be able to build the website and run the helpline.
Our website is www.thedefendant.org.uk (content coming soon!)
For any queries please email [email protected]
Our current Trustees are: Christian Weaver, Freya Wood and Ella Blake