There will be no action taken against witnesses in one of the most notorious miscarriages of justice from the 1980s.
The Crown Prosecution Service has been considering action against a number of civilian witnesses who gave evidence in the hunt to find the killer of Cardiff newsagent Philip Saunders in 1987.
Three men, Michael O’Brien, Ellis Sherwood and Darren Hall, were wrongly jailed for the murder and spent more than a decade behind bars.
At their successful appeal the credibility of more than one witness was called into question. One had admitted telling “a pack of lies from start to finish”.
But the CPS has now decided not to take action in the case.
“[I] have now completed my review of the evidence obtained during the investigation that took place following allegations against civilian witnesses who gave evidence at Mr O’Brien’s trial at Cardiff Crown Court in 1988,” says a Crown Advocate in a letter to Mr O’Brien’s legal team.
“I have decided that there is insufficient evidence to charge any of those individuals with the offence of perjury or perverting the course of justice.”
The letter adds: “I have carefully considered all of the available evidence and whether it is sufficient to provide a realistic prospect of convicting any person of either offence.
“All of the suspects have given starkly contradictory and inconsistent accounts at different times. In order to prove the offence of perjury or perverting the course of justice it is necessary to prove, to the criminal standard, which of the accounts of each suspect is false. The absence of any significant independent evidence means that it is not possible to do this.”
* The story of the Newsagent Three case is told in the book, The Death of Justice.