JUSTICE FOR MARK BARNSLEY CAMPAIGN BULLETIN - MARCH 2002 DAY OF ACTION IN SOLIDARITY WITH MARK BARNSLEY Demand that Home Secretary and Sheffield MP David Blunkett takes action in the case of Sheffield man Mark Barnsley, the victim of an appalling miscarriage of justice. David Blunkett talks a lot about justice for the victims of crime. What about Mark Barnsley? First the victim of a vicious assault by a gang of drunken yobs. Then the victim of a deliberate fit-up by criminals in uniform and a corrupt and biased judiciary. Mark Barnsley should never have been convicted in the first place and it is criminal that the Home Office continues to ignore his case. His former life in ruins, Mark has so far spent nearly 8 years of a 12 year prison sentence in the worst conditions that the prison system has to offer. Until justice is done, we will hold David Blunkett and the Home Office responsible for the continuing nightmare which Mark is been forced to endure. We invite everyone who supports Mark's struggle for justice to join us in Sheffield on April 13th. Help us make the most of this day of action by bringing banners, placards and friends. Mark Barnsley has been a tireless fighter for social justice. Its time he received some solidarity in return. Justice for Mark Barnsley is long overdue. DAY OF ACTION - SATURDAY APRIL 13th. 2002 PICKET THE HOME SECRETARY/ SHEFFIELD MP DAVID BLUNKETT. MEET AT 11AM (PROMPT!) AT MEADOWHALL BUS STATION (Near Sheffield) Trains, Buses (inc. National Express) & local Trams all stop there. M1 junction 34 for anyone whoís driving. FOLLOWED BY INFORMATION STALL AND MASS LEAFLETING IN SHEFFIELD CITY CENTRE 1.30PM ONWARDS ON FARGATE- (MAIN SHOPPING STREET) - SHEFFIELD CITY CENTRE. OTHER EVENTS MAY BE ANNOUNCED ON THE DAY. You can write to David Blunkett (in Braille if possible) at: 50 Queen Anneís Gate, London, SW1 9AT e-mail: gen.ho.@gtnet.gov.uk You can send a fax to David Blunkett via the internet by going to: www.faxyourmp.com Where it asks for your postcode put ëS5 6QGí. WHAT TIME IS IT ? TIME FOR JUSTICE ! Set Back On The Legal Front. It is the nature of miscarriages of justice that most of them share certain common features- corrupt police officers, withheld evidence, dubious ìexpertî witnesses, biased judges, and incompetent defence lawyers. Certainly, all these factors were ingredients in my own case, and while the details of all of them make for appalling reading, it is perhaps the incompetence of my own lawyers that is the most shocking. Without the flagrant incompetence of so many defence lawyers the State could not get away with fitting-up so many innocent people so easily. Fifteen months ago I was pleased to receive a letter from London solicitor Vicky King, offering to take on my case, together with her assistant Daniel Guedalla. It was an offer I readily took up in the belief that an enthusiastic and diligent legal team could make a crucial difference in ending the nightmare of my miscarriage of justice. Because I had submitted my application to the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) 18 months prior to this, there was in fact relatively little obvious work to do. It was mainly a question of tying up a few 'loose ends' with the material supporting my application; a few witnesses to speak to and a report to commission. Unfortunately, Vickyís initial enthusiasm proved to be short-lived, and while she insisted that she was certainly very much involved in the handling of my case, my letters were being replied to (though not actually answered) by her assistant. Neither Vicky nor Daniel have visited me at all, and basically I have been 'fobbed off' with excuses, while the reality is that NONE of the work essential to my CCRC application has been done at all. Then, towards the end of January, I received a letter from Vicky informing me that because Daniel was moving to another solicitors she no longer had time to deal with my case. Therefore 'it has been decided' to transfer my case to another solicitor. The letter actually makes appalling reading, particularly coming from someone I have known for some years, and who I had basically entrusted my life to. There is not even the slightest hint of an apology. This could not have occurred at a worse time because the CCRC are finally due to begin investigating my case at any time, and I need to have all my supporting evidence in place, and someone who is reliable and well-informed to liaise with them. Even with the best will in the world it could take weeks for a replacement solicitor to read up on my case, and at the time of writing I am yet to hear from them. Bearing in mind my treatment during the past 7 and 3/4 years, I am used to being ill-treated, betrayed and kicked when I am down, but this latest saga represents an extremely low blow. Bearing in mind that the past year has effectively been wasted, and my legal affairs are in a bigger mess than ever, I obviously very much regret that I placed my trust in Vicky King in the first place. Mark Barnsley - HMP Whitemoor - Feb. 2002. Mark's General Situation. Regular readers of this bulletin will be well aware of the lengths and depths to which the Prison Service have gone in trying to break Mark. They've tried everything on Mark from long periods of solitary confinement, constant transfers and on occasions actual physical violence. In fact harassment of every kind on a daily basis. All have failed to break Mark's resolve to carry on fighting the injustice of his imprisonment. This may explain why, since Mark's arrival at HMP Whitemoor last year, the Prison Service seem to be pursuing a policy of 'containment'. Basically this means Mark is just kept in his cell all day, he is denied access to all education (in fact he's been denied this for most of the past 2 years) and is also being restricted in terms of access to the gym, getting only 1-2 hours a week. The wings at Whitemoor consist of small units of only 40 cells, and most days Mark and other prisoners don't even get the statutory minimum of half an hour exercise (this is on a small yard where the sun never shines). It should be obvious that warehousing people in these conditions can only worsen the physical and psychological effects of long-term imprisonment. But perhaps that is the intention? Mark now has hundreds of correspondents, but because of all the recent additional legal work, he may not have been able to reply to some as promptly as he'd like. Whilst he obviously appreciates the letters and expressions of support, he hopes that people will understand his need to prioritise his legal work at themoment. Mark gives a big thanks to everybody who is involved in supporting the campaign and to those who take the time write to him. Despite everything he says heís keeping well and remains strong. Recent Campaign News.... Since the last bulletin weíve been busy promoting and shifting copies of the new book 'In The Hands Of The Enemy- Mark Barnsley's Struggle For Justice'. Feedback from those who have read the book has been mainly positive and it has hopefully stimulated some new interest in the campaign. Whilst the national press continue to ignore Markís situation, we have seen interest from other quarters such as magazines like Red Pepper and The Big Issue. We would still like to see the book reach a wider audience and ask that supporters try and get their local bookshop or library to stock it. Also out now is the long awaited music CD: 'One Law For Them. Another One For Us.' The CD features 22 tracks of punk/street music delights from: Contempt, The Warriors, Reazione, Blyth Power, Gundog, Norm Rejection, Scum, Riot/Clone, The Templars, Violent Affray, Guet Apens, Funeral Dress, Red London, The Business, The Pints, Red Alert, Attila The Stockbrokerís Barnstormer, Dogshit Sandwich, The Pink Torpedoes, Chester, The Hippy War Generals and Who Moved The Ground. Maybe not one for your gran but popular with the kids! See enclosed flyers for further details. On November 18th 2001 there was a protest picket in support of Mark Barnsley in the Czech Republic. The action aimed at the British embassy in Prague was held by about 20 Czech supporters of the campaign. This was despite the picket being banned by local authorities on the grounds that it broke a law against the holding of gatherings near the Czech Parliament building. On the day Police stated that after twenty minutes the action would be dispersed. Speeches were made supporting Mark Barnsley and condemning his and other cases involving reprisals by EU member countries against political activists. The Police then started harassing the participants as is usual in Prague and we later heard that several people had minor charges made against them. Markís home city Sheffield came alive on 30th of November when local supporters put on a benefit gig for the campaign. Whilst only being a small gig it was well attended and raised a few (much needed) £ís for the campaign. Thanks to the bands who played and those who turned out to show support. Speaking of campaign funds, we could really use some help with fund-raising. Whilst we've so far managed to avoid asking people for money all the time, the reality is that despite doing everything as cheaply as possible, the campaign has inevitably cost a fair amount of money over the years. As the legal side of Markís struggle progresses, the cost of one legal report alone would probably wipe out our funds as they are at present. Weíve managed to get by so far on peopleís good will, one-off benefit gigs like the one above and the little money raised from selling our campaign t-shirts, pamphlets etc. Over the last few years we've raised a large proportion of our funds by providing volunteers for the Workers Beer Company at the Leeds Festival. This takes place on the bank holiday weekend at the end of August. Basically our volunteers serve drinks to festival goers in their beer tents for about 6 hours a day. In return the campaign gets paid their ëwagesí. If you want to help the campaign and get into this festival for free then this is an ideal way to do both. Anyone in the North who's interested in being considered as a volunteer please get in touch. Since places may be limited please bear in mind that we are only looking for people who can make a firm commitment. The Workers Beer Company actually provides beer tents at all the major festivals (Glastonbury etc). Maybe you are interested in organising your own group of volunteers on behalf of the campaign. Again please get in touch. What the campaign could really do with is some well known/popular bands or comedians to do a decent sized benefit gig for us. Not only would it sort us out financially but perhaps more importantly it would raise the profile of the campaign. Any takers out there...? Failing that thereís plenty of smaller scale ideas for fund-raising which should be easy to organise. Things like collections at gigs or public events (combined with some leafletting), sponsored events organised around just about anything: a long distance swim, bike ride, silence, abseiling down a tall building, sitting up a tree with a banner... Jumble and Car Boot Sales. Benefit events like gigs, video showings or dinners combined with an info. stall or speaker from the campaign. All it takes is a few committed people with some realistic ideas. You can have a good time into the bargain! A few days before Christmas, on December 20th, a small group of campaign supporters in London braved the usual bad weather to hold a picket at the Home Office in London. As Mark's 8th year behind bars approached, they sent a clear message to David Blunkett in his first year as Home Secretary that this is one miscarriage of justice he wonít ignore! Saturday 3rd of February saw one of the most breathtaking mobilisations for Justice in Ireland. Around 40.000 people gathered in Derry City for the commemoration of the 30th anniversary of 'Bloody Sunday'. The Ireland Support Group ran an info stall on Mark's case at events celebrated in the city as people from many different countries were going to be there for the weekend. Situated at the 'Pilots Row' community centre, the campaign support group managed to hand over many leaflets and to speak to others there about the great miscarriage of justice that our friend Mark is suffering. As solidarity has no frontiers they took the occasion to also distribute info on comrades in Turkey on hunger strike over prison conditions and the Spanish political prisoners and their struggles. Like Mark they are all fighting against tyranny, exploitation and injustice. That's why they were imprisoned. Our Irish friends point out that 'whilst Mark is fighting to prove his innocence this doesn't mean he fights just for himself. His struggle is a struggle for the benefit of all those working class activists that are not going to give up the fight for decent lives and justice, as the families of those killed on 'Bloody Sunday' have been continuously doing. That's the message that we want to put across in order to try and build consciousness and solidarity links among all those who suffer the most brutal consequences of State terrorism.' Contacts have been re-established in Dublin and Cork but we know that a greater effort has to be put into the campaign in order to get Mark closer to achieving his freedom. The 'Starry Plough' newspaper which is published every two months and distributed throughout Ireland and parts of England, has started to enclose an information leaflet on Mark's case in every issue. It is this kind of support which helps the campaign, as news about Mark's situation reaches many more hundreds of people. We hope to encourage many more to take an active roll in the campaign and to deliver effective support for Mark's struggle for justice. UPCOMING EVENTS MONDAY - MARCH 18th Justice for Mark Barnsley PUBLIC MEETING 8PM - THE ALBERT (Upstairs) TRAFALGAR STREET, BRIGHTON. MONDAY - APRIL 8th Justice for Mark Barnsley WEST YORKSHIRE SUPPORTERS MEETING 7.30PM - THE ALBERT HOTEL HUDDERSFIELD. (top side of main town library) All campaign supporters from the area encouraged to attend. SATURDAY APRIL 13th DAY OF ACTION- SHEFFIELD PICKET HOME SECRETARY DAVID BLUNKETT 11AM (PROMPT!) meet at MEADOWHALL BUS STATION (near Sheffield). Trains, Buses (inc. National Express) & local Trams all stop there. M1 junction 34 for anyone whoís driving. FOLLOWED BY A STALL AND LEAFLETTING from 1.30PM onwards ON FARGATE (Main Shopping Street) SHEFFIELD CITY CENTRE. We strongly urge all campaign supporters to come and take part in the days activities. Show David Blunkett that there are some local issues he can't continue to ignore. YOU CAN CONTACT THE CAMPAIGN AT THE FOLLOWING: Write to: Justice for Mark Barnsley - PO Box 381, Huddersfield, HD13XX, England. J.f.M.B. (South Yorkshire) c/o above or e-mail: email@example.com J.f.M.B. (London) Tel: 07944 522001 J.f.M.B. (Ireland) have a NEW ADDRESS - PO Box 1981, Derry, Ireland. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: http://www.freemarkbarnsley.com You can write to Mark directly at: Mark Barnsley WA2897 HMP Whitemoor, Longhill Road, March, Cambs, PE15 OPR, England.