John Doe

Exonerated after five years in prison

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

John (not his real name) was represented by APPEAL’s founding lawyer, Emily Bolton.

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. 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.

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APPEAL is the working name of the Centre for Criminal Appeals, a Charitable Company Limited By Guarantee and a law practice authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

Registered Charity Number: 1144162 | SRA Authorisation Number: 621184 | Company Number: 7556168

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