Miscarriages of justice, similar to the Guildford Four case, could be repeated with Muslims as the new victims, a high-profile barrister has warned. Michael Mansfield QC said Muslims were being “criminalised” in the UK in the same way as the Irish community living in Great Britain in the 1970s.
He was speaking after the death of one of the Guildford Four, Gerry Conlon. Mr Conlon and his three co-accused spent 15 years in jail after they were wrongly convicted of IRA pub bombings. Their convictions were quashed in 1989, following a long campaign for justice. Mr Conlon, 60, died at the weekend after an illness. His family said his fight for justice had “forced the world’s closed eyes to be opened to injustice”.
Mr Mansfield, who represented the Guildford Four for a time, has also worked on a number of high-profile campaigns for justice including Bloody Sunday and that of the Birmingham Six. He has also represented the families of the murder black teenager Stephen Lawrence, police shooting victims Jean Charles de Menezes and Mark Duggan and the relatives of those who died in the Hillsborough football disaster.
The barrister told BBC Radio Ulster that he was concerned future miscarriages of justice, similar to the case of the Guildford Four, could happen today. “If you look at the attitude to the Muslim community, it is almost exactly the same as the attitude that was struck in relation to the Irish community in the 1970s,” Mr Mansfield said. “They are, in fact, being tarred with the same brush, they are being criminalised.”