Swansea lifer speaks from jail – UPDATE

The programme on Swansea’s Richard Davies, who is serving a life sentence for murder, is now available to watch on the internet.
If you would like to see it go here and follow the link for Wales This Week, March 17, 2008.
Richard’s family – along with the family of John Roden, convicted of a double murder in Risca – last night attended a meeting of South Wales Against Wrongful Conviction (formerly South Wales Liberty).
This campaigning group is always looking for new members. If you might be interested post here and I’ll put you in touch.

Ama’s death "on Britain’s conscience"

The death of cancer patient Ama Sumani will be on the conscience of this nation, according to the Archbishop of Wales.
Ama Sumani, 39, died yesterday in Korle-Bu hospital, Accra, Ghana, after she had been forcibly removed from Cardiff’s University Hospital of Wales in January.
The widowed mother-of-two had been taken from her hospital bed in Cardiff while undergoing treatment because her visa had expired.
The Archbishop of Wales, Dr Barry Morgan, said today: “I am enormously sad to hear of the death of Ama Sumani.
“I believe her death is on the conscience of this nation because we removed her when it was against every humanitarian instinct to do so.
“My thoughts and prayers are with her family.”
:: Ama’s deportation and the treatment of asylum seekers, refugees and immigrants in Wales has been discussed extensively on What Is Wales?

Poor Position On Poverty

Ten years ago Britain had the worst record on child poverty of any major European nation.
At the time the numbers living in poverty had soared over the previous two decades.
Since then the trend has been reversed.
According to a new report from the House of Commons Work and Pensions Select Committee there are now around 2.8 million children living in poverty. This is down from 3.4 million in 1999 when Tony Blair announced a plan to halve child poverty by 2010.
But the new figures show the Government is well off target to reach its overall aim of eradicating child poverty completely by 2020.
The committee reported: “There is a mass of evidence…that poor children have constrained lives, poorer health, worse diets, colder and more dilapidated housing conditions, higher risks of accidents and injuries, experience more physical abuse and more bullying and have less access to childcare. They also do less well at school, and their outcomes in terms of skills and employment are worse.”
So what’s the situation in Wales?
Welsh Liberal Democrat MP Jenny Willott, who is a member of the select committee, says: “There are still around 140,000 children in Wales living in poverty.
“Poverty is particularly high amongst children of lone parents and disabled parents and within ethnic minorities.”
One-in-five families with a disabled child are so hard up they cut back on food.
The issues behind poverty are complicated but one thing the committee’s report throws up is public attitude.
There’s a perception that because our country is economically stable that there is no excuse for poverty.
Sympathy for the poor, the committee notes grimly, is at a “low level”.
And as the Joseph Rowntree Foundation reported recently the public are a “long way from supporting an anti-poverty agenda in the UK”.
Quite astonishing, but that is Britain in 2008. Nearly three million children in poverty – and a large number of us don’t particularly care.

Another Commons’ committee has highlighted the “serious mismanagement” of a compensation scheme for sick miners.
In 1998 a court ruled that the British Coal Corporation – therefore the Government – was liable for lung disease caused by coal dust and hand injuries relating to the use of vibrating equipment.
Over 10 years the Government has settled 650,000 claims, leaving 128,000 outstanding.
Lawyers loved the scheme.
While ex-miners have received £4.1bn in compo, solicitors and administrators have received £2.3bn for handling the claims.
Solicitors have now been ordered to pay back millions.
Labour MP for Islwyn Don Touhig has highlighted the case of one miner given just 50p in compensation.
The miner in question was marked down because he was a smoker who only worked underground for two years.
The lawyers who handled his claim, though, still rubbed their hands.
A root through the report reveals their pay for handling the 50p payment came in at £1,974.
::Big Issue Cymru, March 10-16, 2008

Swansea lifer speaks from jail for first time

Wynford and Joan Davies believe their son is innocent of the murder for which he is serving life in jail.
Richard Davies was jailed six years ago for the 2001 killing of his friend Jason Williams in Loughor. Williams’ body has never been found.
The couple spent the first few years of his sentence in a state of shock but, after attending a meeting of Liberty, they learned of the Innocence Project at Cardiff Law School.
Lecturer Julie Price is overseeing the only such project in Wales. On it, law students give their time to investigate possible miscarriages of justice.
After reading notes on Richard’s case they took it on.
What Is Wales? reported on the case last year. This Monday, ITV Wales’ Wales This Week programme continues to follow the students as they work to uncover fresh evidence.
There are major developments – including a five-figure reward for new information and the first ever interview with Richard Davies as he talks from Gartree Prison about coping inside and about the night he is alleged to have killed his friend.
::Wales This Week, ITV Wales, Monday, March 17, 8pm

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