The inside story on the new Andy Malkinson documentary

APPEAL’s Lizzie Norton is behind-the-scenes

A documentary telling the story of APPEAL’s client Andrew Malkinson’s fight for justice airs on BBC Two and BBC iPlayer on Thursday 6 June at 9pm.

 

‘The Wrong Man: 17 Years Behind Bars’ gives Andy’s firsthand account of the shock he experienced on arrest and then conviction for a rape he didn’t commit in February 2004. The film meets Andy on his release from prison in late 2020 and follows him to his eventual exoneration in July 2023. The intimate film is a product of years of work by directors Fran Robertson and Jemma Gander of Two Step Films, who closely followed developments in Andy’s battle for justice as well as his struggle to rebuild his life after so many years wrongly imprisoned.

Following a letter from Andy’s ex-partner and good friend Karin Schuitemaker, APPEAL took on Andy’s case in 2017. Through years of investigation, APPEAL’s James Burley (Investigator) and Emily Bolton (Lawyer) uncovered evidence that proved Andy’s convictions were unsafe on multiple grounds.

On Andy’s behalf, APPEAL initiated court proceedings twice to get access from Greater Manchester Police to undisclosed evidence relating to the credibility of two key prosecution eyewitnesses. APPEAL also succeeded in commissioning DNA testing that showed the presence of unidentified male DNA in multiple significant locations on the victim’s clothing. On his third application to the Criminal Cases Review Commission, the statutory miscarriage of justice watchdog, Andy’s case was finally referred to the Court of Appeal in 2023.

Two Step Films first met Andy in December 2020, when he was released from HMP North Sea Camp. Fran filmed his first hours outside prison, when he was released under the conditions of his life licence. James, Emily and Andy’s mother Trish met Andy outside the prison gates. He still had a long way to go before being considered a truly free man, and there was no guarantee that the appeal system would recognise that an innocent man had been wrongly convicted. However, public interest in his case began to grow thanks to the work of journalist Emily Dugan, then at The Sunday Times and later at The Guardian, who was also there to interview Andy at the prison gate.

Over the next few years, Fran and Jemma filmed footage in London, Dorset, Greater Manchester, Grimsby, Bristol, Devon and the Netherlands. Interviews with Andy’s mother and his sister, as well as his ex-partner, show the brutal collateral damage caused by his wrongful conviction. James Burley and Emily Bolton explain what they can about APPEAL’s legal work on Andy’s case. Andy speaks candidly about fearing for his life in prison, and the Catch-22 he was put in by the system: if he falsely ‘admitted’ committing the offence, he could have become eligible for parole years sooner. The documentary captures the poignant moment that Andy finds out he has been granted a fresh appeal, as well as the day that his name is finally cleared, nearly 20 years after his arrest.

From the beginning, Fran and Jemma were dedicated to making a film telling Andy’s story, even without any guarantee they would ever be commissioned by a major broadcaster, or that the criminal justice system would recognise that the wrong man had been convicted. They shared many moments of hope and pessimism with Andy, his loved ones and his legal team. APPEAL is grateful to Two Step Films and the BBC, which ultimately commissioned the film for BBC Two and iPlayer, for the sensitivity and care they have taken in developing and telling this story that is so important to Andy but also to the criminal justice system as a whole.

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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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