Help us get justice for Jourdain

by Centre for Women's Justice

Help us get justice for Jourdain

by Centre for Women's Justice
Centre for Women's Justice
Centre for Women's Justice, a charity committed to securing justice for women when men are violent towards them, are working with Jourdain's mother, Tracey John-Baptiste.
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pledged of £50,000 stretch target by 189 people
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Centre for Women's Justice
Centre for Women's Justice, a charity committed to securing justice for women when men are violent towards them, are working with Jourdain's mother, Tracey John-Baptiste.
Pledge now

This case is raising funds for its stretch target. Your pledge will be collected within the next 24-48 hours (and it only takes two minutes to pledge!)

Latest: Oct. 31, 2018

Permission to proceed granted!

A quick note to let you know the fantastic news Tracey and Jourdain's family have been granted permission to proceed with their challenge of the CPS.

We couldn't have done this without you! ...

Read more

In the early hours of Friday 21st August 2015 a flashing blue light broke through the darkness forcing my eyes to open. What followed next was every parents’ nightmare. "Your daughter Jourdain has been involved in an incident", the police officer said, "and she is in a critical condition in hospital". 

We raced to be by her side but the doctors were unable to save her. She had suffered catastrophic head injuries and was pronounced brain stem dead just a few hours later. 

Jourdain had fallen from a balcony after an argument with her boyfriend. Her boyfriend was arrested at the scene and their followed a detailed police investigation which was referred to the CPS for a decision on charging him. Initially, the CPS said there was not enough evidence for a prosecution. We were devastated and appealed that decision. The CPS then indicated they would prosecute for manslaughter. But to our horror, they then reversed that decision yet again claiming the original decision was correct. 

No family should have to go through what we have gone through. We believe the assesment of the CPS is wrong and that it should be for a jury to decide. Our only option now to get justice for Jourdain is to bring a judicial review to challenge of the decision of the CPS.  We, Jourdain’s family, need your help to fund this challenge. 

This isn't just about Jourdain

This is about all women killed by violent men.On March 8th 2016, International Women’s Day, Jess Phillips MP was applauded in parliament when she spoke to highlight the appalling number of women killed at the hands of violent men. She read out a list of 105 names which included women and girls aged 13 and over killed in the past year where a man has been convicted, charged or are considered by police to be the primary suspect. 

Jourdain’s name was among them.  

Our campaign for justice for Jourdain is important not only for our family but for all those who have lost friends or family to domestic homicides. All too often we are seeing such cases dropped by the CPS due to their complex nature. Too many women die each year from this terrible crime and all too often no-one is held to account. We are challenging the decision by the CPS not to prosecute and we need your support. Please contribute and share this page now. 

This is why we are sending out this heartfelt plea to ask for your support.

We have been working very closely with the Metropolitan police and our lawyer Harriet Wistrich, the founder of the Centre for Women’s Justice. We strongly believe that there is enough circumstantial evidence to take this case to court and get justice for Jourdain. Despite the fact that our daughter lost her life, this is something we are being denied the opportunity to do by the CPS. 

How much do we need to raise and why? 

No family should ever have to go through what we are going through, therefore we are asking for your help. 

Our initial target is set at £5,000, to enable our lawyers to prepare the challenge. However, once the case is lodged in court we become at risk of having to pay the CPS for their costs if we don’t get permission from the court to proceed or ultimately lose. We have therefore set a target of £50,000 to help pay for our lawyers and to protect us from incurring any risk of paying the CPS’ costs. 

How can you help?

Please contribute what you can - everything makes a difference. 

Most importantly please post about this campaign to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and tell your followers that you have already given.  

Thank you for your support and for helping us make this campaign a success. We can't do it without you!

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Update 3

Centre for Women's Justice

Oct. 31, 2018

Permission to proceed granted!

A quick note to let you know the fantastic news Tracey and Jourdain's family have been granted permission to proceed with their challenge of the CPS.

We couldn't have done this without you! Thanks so much for the incredible support you have given us to get this far. We need to continue to spread the word about this case.

**Will you share the good news on social media and ask email friends asking them to join the campaign? www.crowdjustice.com/case/justice-for-jourdain**

Karon Monaghan QC, argued on Tracey's behalf that there is compelling evidence to support a prosecution and that the CPS in balancing alternative explanations for the death have failed to apply a merits-based test.

In granting permission, Mr Justice Julian Knowles noted that there were several key areas of evidence that the CPS head of appeals and reviews responsible for the final decision had failed to grapple with.  These included inconsistent accounts given by the suspect, a proper consideration of bad character in the context of domestic violence and a lack of consideration as to the physical evidence which tended to undermine the CPS alternative hypothesis as to cause of death.  In those circumstances he said it was arguable that the decision not to prosecute was irrational.

This has always been about more than the tragedy of Jourdain's death. It is about how women are treated by the CPS in our justice system. And now thanks to you we have the chance to make a real change.

Tracey John Baptiste, mother of Jourdain stated, “This was no attempted suicide, no accident. Jourdain would never take her life in such a dramatic way. We are asking the court to listen to our concerns. We want a jury to hear all the evidence. We went through the Victim Right of Review process believing this had some meaning, only to have a decision to prosecute overturned. It makes a mockery of the whole process. We will not give up. We just want the justice Jourdain deserves.”

Harriet Wistrich said: “We are delighted that Tracey has been given this opportunity, after so many setbacks, to continue with her fight for justice for Jourdain.  The CPS final decision, particularly in the light of an independent review that recommended prosecution, was inconsistent with its stated commitments to tackle violence against women and girls.  We have always argued that this should be a decision for a jury assessing live evidence and wrong for the CPS to deny a proper trial of live evidence"


Update 2

Centre for Women's Justice

Oct. 18, 2018

High Court to decide whether proceedings will be heard

In September, a Judge in the High Court refused Jourdain’s mother permission for her legal action against the Crown Prosecution Service to be heard. Tracey has one last chance at justice: applying for a one-day hearing in open court so that each party’s lawyers can outline their case. The court will then make a final decision: whether her legal action can proceed to trial.

Last week, Tracey John-Baptiste applied for a hearing and has now been informed that a date has been scheduled. If she takes this final opportunity to justify her claim, there is an increased risk that she could have to pay legal costs. If she does not, she will never see her daughter’s case go to trial.

Please support Tracey John-Baptiste's campaign for a more accountable criminal justice system - and justice for Jourdain.

Update 1

Centre for Women's Justice

July 9, 2018

High Court Proceedings Issued Against the CPS

Tracey John-Baptiste, Jourdain’s mother, has issued High Court proceedings  against the Crown Prosecution Service for refusing to bring criminal charges against a suspect in connection with her daughter’s death in August 2015.

Tracey John-Baptiste said: “This was no attempted suicide, no accident. Jourdain would never take her life in such a dramatic way. We are asking the court to listen to our concerns. We want a jury to hear all the evidence.”

See the full press release below: 


PRESS RELEASE 2.7.18 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 

mother of 22-year-old victim challenges decision not to prosecute suspect for her death 

Legal action issued against Crown Prosecution Service by family of 22-year-old Jourdain John-Baptiste in relation to 2015 balcony death

Family’s crowdfund campaign calls for public support

 

July 2, 2018

Jourdain John-Baptiste died following a fatal fall from her fourth-floor flat in London, Enfield. Her then boyfriend, who was present at the flat at the time of her death, was arrested at the scene on suspicion of causing the fall.

Now, Tracey John-Baptiste, Jourdain’s mother, has issued High Court proceedings  against the Crown Prosecution Service for refusing to bring criminal charges against a suspect in connection with her daughter’s death in August 2015.

Tracey John-Baptiste said: “This was no attempted suicide, no accident. Jourdain would never take her life in such a dramatic way. We are asking the court to listen to our concerns. We want a jury to hear all the evidence.”

Almost three years following her death, the Crown Prosecution Service informed the family that it had made a final decision not to prosecute the suspect in connection with her death.

This decision was made despite the assessment of police who investigated the case and interviewed the suspect and despite evidence revealed at Jourdain’s inquest that witnesses heard screams suggesting she was in fear of her life in the moments leading up to her fall, and that she had cried out for somebody to help her. The family firmly believe that Jourdain’s boyfriend by his actions that night caused her to fall to her death.

However, in a letter received in March 2018, the Crown Prosecution Service stated that it had been unable to establish that an initial decision taken in August 2016 not to charge the suspect had been wrong.  The letter stated that despite a reviewing CPS lawyer and experienced Queen’s Counsel concluding that there was sufficient evidence to bring criminal charges, a final decision by the area manager confirmed that the original decision that the case did not meet its evidential standard for prosecution was not wrong.

Ms John-Baptiste’s family believe that there were serious flaws in the initial decision taken by the Crown Prosecution Service not to charge the suspect, which have never been addressed. If granted permission by the court, they will seek to argue that a jury should be allowed to decide whether her daughter’s boyfriend was criminally responsible for her premature death.

In a letter before claim sent to the Crown Prosecution Service in May 2018, Ms John-Baptiste’s solicitors at the Centre for Women’s Justice argued that the CPS decision was “irrational”, in light of evidence available about the circumstances of Ms John-Baptiste’s death.  In its reply the CPS declined to respond to comments made about the weight of evidence against the suspect but upheld its March decision.

Tracey John Baptiste stated, “After the devastating death of our daughter Jourdain we have fought tirelessly for justice. We have been shocked at the way the CPS have dealt with us as a family, we are shocked at the time each decision has taken and completely disagree with their assessment of the evidence. We went through the Victim Right of Review process believing this had some meaning, only to have a decision to prosecute overturned. It makes a mockery of the whole process.
We will not give up. We are not looking for blame. We just want the justice Jourdain deserves.”

Kate Ellis, solicitor at Centre for Women’s Justice said,  “When we considered all the admissible evidence available relating to Ms John-Baptiste’s death, and the views of police officers investigating the case, we could not understand why the Crown Prosecution Service had refused to bring criminal charges. This is, quintessentially, the kind of case that should be put before a jury.”

Harriet Wistrich, director of the Centre for Women’s Justice, stated of this first case launched by the Centre, “This case should be seen in the context of state failings in tackling the prevalence of domestic abuse. With recorded figures demonstrating that more than two women a week are killed by violent partners, we are very concerned that the CPS has denied this family an opportunity for justice.”

A crowdfund launched by the family to support their legal claim is currently live on CrowdJustice, a crowdfunding platform dedicated to raising funds and awareness for legal cases:

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/justice-for-jourdain

ENDS


Notes for Editors

The John-Baptiste family are calling on the public to back Tracey John-Baptiste’s challenge via crowdfunding site CrowdJustice:

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/justice-for-jourdain


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