John Doe

“John Doe” spent more than five years in prison for a rape he did not commit. 

John's real name was ordered unreported by the Court of Appeal at his request to protect John on his return to the community. 

John was represented by APPEAL’s founding lawyer, Emily Bolton, as a test of the case investigation and presentation methodology derived from her work in the Deep Southern United States. Emily worked on the case while at the law firm Scott-Moncrieff and Associates, while working on establishing APPEAL.

John was convicted of rape on the basis of an accusation from a vulnerable and mentally ill young girl, who had accused other relatives, teachers and fellow students of abuse, but only the accusation against John was acted upon by the police. The prosecution disclosed this history to the trial solicitors but they did not act upon it. Emily followed up the leads and found that not only had the complainant told others that she made the account of the rape up, but there were also other key inconsistencies in her account of events. 

The Criminal Cases Review Commission referred the case to the Court of Appeal on the basis of this new evidence. Several brave young witnesses made the journey to London to testify at the Court of Appeal.

John’s conviction was overturned and he was compensated for his ordeal at the highest rate available under the statute operational at that time. He leads a quiet life, forever tarred by the accusation made against him, struggling to trust his fellow humans, but loved and supported by those who know him well. 


Several years after securing the quashing of John’s conviction, we brought the case of another prisoner convicted of rape to the Criminal Cases Review Commission, “Jim Doe,” but the Commission declined to do the investigation that we requested.  The case was not referred to the Court of Appeal. Jim has since died in prison.

While he was still alive, he made APPEAL its first doorplate out of matchsticks and glue in his prison cell. 


John Doe hugs his family after his conviction was quashed by the Court of Appeal

John Doe hugs his family after his conviction was quashed by the Court of Appeal

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