George Davis wasn’t as innocent as all that
Presumably we will read more in one of the Sunday tabs about George Davis, the man who became the most popular slogan ever to emerge from London’s gangland. The case dates from those ‘Life on Mars’ days when judges, juries, journalists and the public assumed that if a police officer said something on oath, it must be true.
There is at least one site in East London where you can still see the slogan ‘George Davis is Innocent – ok’ on the wall where it was painted some time in the mid 1970s. By running such a determined campaign in defence of one of their own, London’s criminal fraternity drew attention to the fact that there was something rotten in Scotland Yard’s Robbery Squad.
There are others who emerge well from the story. Yesterday’s hearing was a “nice moment” for David Whitehouse QC. One of the first cases he took as a young barrister, 36 years ago, was defending George Davis. He has now reached retirement age. Yesterday was his last day in court.
Detective Chief Superintendent Jack Moulder, from Hertfordshire police, investigated the case after Davis’s trial in 1975. His report to the Home Office, in 1977, was so damning that for 34 years the Home Office refused to let anyone, including Davis’s lawyers, see it. One of the people who provided Moulder with ammunition was Inspector Brian Reynolds, who led the original investigation into the Essex payroll robbery, before the Robbery Squad moved in. He did not like their methods, but was hauled into Scotland Yard and warned by someone very high up not to do anything that might impede Davis’s conviction. The head of the Robbery Squad in those days was none other than the legendary Jack Slipper, ‘Slipper of the Yard’, the man who rounded up the Great Train Robbers. Frank Goodwin, a Case Review Manager at the Criminal Cases Review Commission also put together evidence that helped bring abotu yesterday’s ruling that davis’s conviction was unsafe.
Davis did not help those who campaigned for him by getting arrested in 1977, a year after he had been released under a Royal Pardon, when the police caught him red handed during an attempted bank robbery. There is a suspicion that they let the plot to rob a bank take fruit just to get Davis. However, by his own actions he demonstrated that he was not as innocent as all that. When Mr Whitehouse was asked outside the courtroom why it had all taken so long he replied, in Davis’s hearing, that “If George Davis had not been so stupid as to rob a bank I might have got the conviction quashed” in 1977.
I asked Davis how he liked being called stupid. “He can call me what he likes after he’s done for me,” was the answer.
I asked him why he tried to rob that other bank. “I can’t tell you that,” he said.
Maybe whichever tabloid he has sold his story to can prise something more out of himTagged in: crime, george davis, miscarriage of justice
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