Happy New Year
I thought it was time for another update and maybe share some stories and thoughts.
I and others passionately believe it was wrong that my mother went to prison in 1963, and this year, work continues to clear my mothers name. In 2021 we asked the then Secretary of State for Justice Robert Buckland, to consider a royal pardon for Christine Keeler.
In September there was a cabinet reshuffle and Dominic Raab took over the role as the new Secretary of State for Justice. Soon after his appointment we received a letter, the Pardon could only be considered if all other legal avenues had been attempted and it was their view we should go the CCRC (Criminal Cases Review Commission) first.
The CCRC (Criminal Cases Review Commission) are an independent body tasked with investigating alleged miscarriages of justice. So I am happy that my mothers case is with them, in fact just before Christmas they confirmed that they had all our information and it is currently under review. Hopefully we will have an answer early in the the new year.
If the CCRC decide that my mothers case may have been a miscarriage of justice, it would be much more significant, it would mean her conviction could be expunged.
In that trial in 1963, my mother wasn’t the only woman punished and sent to prison. Paula Hamilton Marshall also went to prison, and for exactly the same reason as my mother, she had not lied about witnessing my mother being assaulted, but she had lied about there being two more witnesses to my mothers assault.
Another wrinkle being, Paula was a new mother with a 9 month old baby, and she was still sent to prison.
I can’t be sure, but it is possible that Paula’s baby was at the flat the night my mother was assaulted this may explain why Olive Brooker, the housekeeper was there, because I always thought that Olive was really helping Paula as she was a new mum. It wasn’t mentioned in court so I may well be wrong.
My mother always thought it was particularly cruel for any mother with young children to be sent to prison. Unless of course their crime was particularly heinous. My mother remembers there being lots of woman in prison with young families and how cruel it was.
Just recently, Shadow Health Secretary Wes Streeting was interviewed by Nick Robinson for the BBC and he talked about his Nan Libby, and that she had shared a cell with my mother.
I had no idea Libby, my mums old friend was his Nan, until I heard the interview. They went on to be friends long after they left prison and I have memories of her from when I was very young. She was politically very active, a socialist to the core, and was one of the woman I met as a child, who was around my mother, that showed me that belief, conviction and integrity had nothing to do with someones gender.
It doesn’t matter what your politics, its a nice story, I can’t help but imagine how proud Libby would have been to see her grandchild become Shadow Health Secretary. I think my mum would have argued it was in the genes.
I note Wes said in the interview that his Nan always thought my mother shouldn’t have gone to prison, what a wonderful woman.