Latest: July 30, 2018
Dear Backers and Supporters,
Thank you for your support and interest in our case concerning the lack of disclosure and police misconduct in Farah Damji's criminal trials. We are now aiming for t...Read more
"It is only the master's tools that can dismantle the master's house,"
- Naomi Wolf from Fire with Fire
Those tools include understanding the law, exerting our rights and knowing how to challenge injustice and legal processes, to take back and own the narrative of entrenched abuse and harassment of women in the criminal justice system.
In February 2015, Farah was convicted of harassing and stalking a man who claimed to be a property investor, who was a serial predator and abuser of women, under The Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 which created two new offences of stalking by inserting new sections 2A and 4A into the PHA 1997. He claimed he wanted to invest in her property company, providing housing to the most vulnerable women.
Following some research into his background, Farah sent a total of 7 emails about his background of harassing and abusing women and also vulnerable homeowners, to the police, his investor and the CiC Regulator at Companies House containing publicly available information and questioning his suitability to run a CiC, a hybrid charity model, for his housing company. This led to the allegations of harassment and stalking.
Farah maintains that everything she said about him was truthful - so how can this be harassment? The Crown's case was that she had made everything up to 'impugn his character' (sic) because she was angry that the complainant had delinked her on the business networking site, LinkedIn. The indictment was not properly signed by an officer of the court or particularised. You can see that here. The truth was that Farah found out about allegations and possible convictions for domestic violence, mortgage and bankruptcy fraud and the serial abuse of his former partners. She was trying to protect herself and others from his damaging behavior. She did what any woman would do.
The Investigating Officer (IO) for the Metropolitan Police was inexperienced and also the Disclosure Officer for the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). He refused requests for disclosure consistently. He did not investigate the according to the Attorney General's Code. He has lied in court under oath about being supervised by an inspector, who had left the Metropolitan Police before the case came to trial. He lied about the existence of CRIS and case notes that would have substantially aided the defense case, had they been disclosed. He repeatedly denied that they existed. He willfully and deliberately ignored evidence of allegations of domestic abuse, mortgage and bankruptcy fraud, committed by the complainant in the US. No background checks were ever done to confirm the complainant's credibility. He even claimed at one point to feel harassed by Farah's complaints about him. He was not impartial, he was determined to secure a conviction at any cost.
Farah's legal team asked for proper disclosure via Letters of Request , (as early as the initial defense statement in September 2014) to be raised by the CPS to the Corresponding Prosecuting Authority in the US, this was never done.
The complainant's previous criminal history in the US was never obtained. However the IO sent an email to deputy legal attache at the US Embassy requesting the complainant's criminal record. This document consisted of a forwarded email of a "rap sheet" purportedly showing the complainant's full criminal history in the US. It has several dates of birth and aliases on it. It mentions battery on a spouse and the violation of domestic violence restraining orders. No definitive confirmation of his identity for a background check was ever made, using his DNA, although it was held by the US Authorities. You can see the rap sheet here. There is enough on this document that it should have triggered further lines of inquiry such as verifying the allegations being made by Farah to see if there was any veracity in the emails that formed the basis of the indictment.
The jury were not allowed to see the US rap sheet about him. Farah was sentenced to 18 months in prison for this offence. An appeal on the sentence was not successful. An application to the CCRC was not successful. However, we do not feel the Court of Appeal has looked at Farah's case impartially or fairly, given the fresh evidence that has come to light of the complainant's previous history of lying to the courts and domestic and emotional violence against women, by whom he feels slighted.
We need your help to raise funds to secure a top QC to help fight Farah's case against all the machinery of The State, including
imprisonment on remand
unlawful deprivation of liberty, during pregnancy which caused her to miscarry in police custody
deprivation of mental health treatment in custody for 22 months
constant and unlawful interception of her legally privileged post in prison to courts and legal representatives
breaches of her Article 8 rights to privacy and family life
"ghosting" to a prison hundreds of miles from her partner and support network
and harassment by the OI of her mother, now 78
This abuse and State endorsed harassment has been hurled at her since 2014. We seek an advocate who is both ruthless and fearless and who understands coercive control and DV and how predatory and damaged men use the courts to abuse and silence women. We are speaking with several who are interested in this brief.
We want to instruct a full review of the case papers with a view to making an application based on fresh evidence to the Full Court of Appeal.
How much we are raising and why?
The stretch target of £25 000 will allow the legal team to look at obtaining further information from the California Supreme Court, research the criminal actions in the US further, trace other former partners of the complainant and obtain their statements. This will pay for getting the case ready and for appearing before the most senior judges in the land at the Court of Appeal.
The complainant's second American ex-wife, Dr S has recently provided a witness statement further to the one she provided in 2015 for the first application to appeal, court documents and sworn statements that confirm that he has used the courts to stalk, silence and intimidate her, and avoided his child maintenance responsibilities, for over 12 years. She provided evidence of false stalking reports, from the US, by him. She also confirms that she was a victim of domestic violence and coercive control and provided evidence of her former husband's criminal activities which led to his deportation from the US in 2006. Farah was telling the truth.
Yet, he has played the victim in all of this and pretended that Farah and Dr S caused him great psychological and financial harm. To date the CPS have produced no evidence of any actual harm caused. There is no evidence of this. Anywhere.
An appeal was heard before the Full Court of Appeal on 15 May 2018 with less than 3 working days notice. Farah had previously requested an adjournment for various reasons including time to instruct counsel, to obtain relevant paperwork and to raise funds for representation as well as dealing with her housing issues and in order to see her GP's mental health specialist, to whom she had been referred. The request for a 28 day adjournment was refused by the Registrar and the Full Court of Appeal. She was then notified 24 hours prior to the hearing that the CPS would be attending, (an unusual occurrence in the Court of Appeal). The hearing took place with all parties represented save for Farah, with no instructed representatives. To date, she has not heard any outcome in relation to the application that SHE lodged, and for which she sought to be represented. The Court has not provided a written judgement.
The Court of Appeal Registrar refuses to fund counsel for Farah's case before the Full Court and the male caseworker there is showing considerable bias towards the 'victim.' In the first appeal, the complainant’s Victim's Personal Statement was put before the Single Judge although it had not been tested for its content or its veracity at the sentencing hearing when Robbie Griffiths, counsel for the CPS produced it, at the eleventh hour. It goes into great detail about financial harm and medical conditions, all of which could have been particularized and verified but it was not. It was another device to ensure the worst possible sentence for Farah. She had no time to deal with the Victim Personal Statement although the CPS had had it for over 2 years.
Farah did what she did to protect herself and others, which is a valid defense yet she is the one being punished and gagged. She is not even allowed to write about her case or anyone involved, including Court staff, judges, lawyers and the police due to a restrictive restraining order imposed on her by the Judge at Kingston Crown Court. Farah has had no part in the setting up or content of this campaign and this campaign has been created through court documents that are available and in the public domain and through her solicitors.
What are they trying to hide? Have the Courts, CPS and the police colluded to cover up and protect an abuser? Even on the limited information available on the rap sheet, it is clear there was criminal action for breaches of domestic violence restraining orders and that he was deported by Homeland Security from California in 2006. Was she wrong to raise her concerns to the authorities and his investor? Why was the jury never allowed to see this document?
All this took place in 2014 and the trial was in 2015, before #MeToo and #TimesUp, before Women rose up against harassment, abuse and injustice, and FOR each other. Time's Up on when men could stand together and shut down a woman, take away her agency and lock her up. Let's show the criminal justice system that #MeToo is not just a hashtag but a movement for Social Justice and that women fight back!
The Fight for Justice
There may be people heavily influenced by the Wikipedia and tabloid version of Farah's life and crimes who think she may not deserve our support. Justice must apply to everyone, not the fragrant few who have lived unblemished lives. Farah has always faced her critics head on with personal responsibility for the crimes she committed. She has also repaid her debt to society. You can see her personal blog here and a bit of background about her here.
Farah has previous (spent) convictions dating from 2005 and 2009 for fraud, dishonesty and perverting the course of justice. Mental health reports by forensic experts identified episodes of a major depressive episodes and underlying trauma from childhood, domestic violence, sexual and emotional abuse. She has sought treatment and is an active campaigner for women and their mental health rights, particularly as they affect women in the criminal justice system.
Those convictions are now spent and she has spent her life since 2010 contributing to civil society by campaigning for women’s rights, mental health and gender equality, particularly in the criminal justice system. She is a woman who holds truth to power. Her latest report 'Beyond Reason' which is due to be published shortly, highlights her own struggle to obtain mental health services in prison, and those of 130 other serving women prisoners.
Reports she has written and commissioned on violence against women by the State and its agencies in justice, housing and outsourcing have been published with cross party parliamentary support and used as evidence in select committees.
Women with convictions are an easy target for ambitious police officers, never mind what the evidence states.
Never mind the evidence.
This is a call to action to help Farah clear her name for false allegations and for the conviction to be quashed. Do whatever you can do, Tweet, Facebook and Blog about it. Get creative! We can help - let's organize a bake-off, art class or a poetry reading to raise funds so her solicitors can obtain the best representation possible.
Please help us by raising awareness or volunteering with the social media and press campaign with the hashtag #justice4farah.
Get in touch via email@example.com and thanks for reading and for your support.
With thanks to Andy Aitchison for use of the header image of the Royal Courts of Justice (c)
July 30, 2018
Dear Backers and Supporters,
Thank you for your support and interest in our case concerning the lack of disclosure and police misconduct in Farah Damji's criminal trials. We are now aiming for the stretch target of £25 000 and we need your support.
Here is a quick update on what has happened since we reached our target:
- So far the money has been used to secure counsel to look at the papers and to brief a PR firm.
- A leading legal PR firm will help highlight the case and the way in which Farah has been treated. She is still being bullied and harassed by the Metropolitan Police. Following the launch of the CrowdJustice page, she was questioned under caution at Charing Cross Police Station, where the concern of DC Rob Linus was only for the Investigating Officer (IO) who withheld evidence and did not offer disclosure, and his feelings, and not the 'victim.' She attended with her solicitor Sam Yazigi and we are waiting for the outcome of that interview.
- We are confident that with the support of the new PR team, we will be able to raise the profile of Farah's case which will concern the general public about the way disclosure failures are being used systemically to imprison and convict innocent people.
- The IO protests that she has breached the terms of the restraining order against her, in which she is not allowed to write about him, or contact him, directly or indirectly. He claims that the CrowdJustice site is "indirect contact" and that certain documents on the pledge page were not in the public domain. They were. So is this rather alarming picture of him, asleep outside Kingston Crown Court, Court 5.
Farah has had no involvement with the formation or content of the site. A fresh complaint about the IO has gone to the Commissioner's office but is being dealt with by Wandsworth Department of Professional Standards, again. We are asking this investigation (the way the original complaint about the lack of disclosure and Chan lying under oath about the existence of CRIS notes etc) should go to another force.
- We have given the Commissioner 7 days to address the issues of disclosure failings and to allocate the complaint to another force, and then we intend to seek Judicial Review if she decides to allow the DPS at Wandsworth to retain the complaint. Given that the fresh complaint includes Wandsworth DPS, it would be an abuse of process for them to continue to investigate.
- There have been concerning developments about ministerial interference and threats by minister Rory Stewart MP and Minister for Prisons and Probation, has written to Sir Bill Cash, Farah's MP claiming that her complaint to him, as her MP about the behavior of the police officer (who continued to harass her while she served her sentence, interfered with her post etc), could be a breach of the restraining order. A prisoner (constituent) enjoys legal privilege in her correspondence with her MP. We have reported Mr Stewart to the Parliamentary Standards Committee.
- Sir Bill was concerned enough to look at the case and make representations. Subsequent to his representations, Lord Keen QC (Justice Spokesperson in the House of Lords) has referred Farah's case to the Attorney General's Office, concerning disclosure failures.
- There has been significant interest from the press and also MPs including Barry Sheeran the Chairman of the APPG of Miscarriages of Justice.
Thanks again for your support. Please continue to pledge, tweet, Facebook and email your friends about the case...every bit of support really matters. We will keep you updated on any further developments.
June 18, 2018
We've reached the initial target
Thanks to an anonymous donor who has donated offline, we have reached our initial target. The CrowdJustice page will be updated later today.
Thanks to your support, we are talking to barristers who would be appropriate to take the case forward and scrutinise the papers.
We want to reach the stretch target and ask that you Tweet, Facebook and help raise the profile of this campaign as much as possible. The issues it highlights concern every person who might find themselves a defendant in criminal proceedings. Unless we all challenge this now, it continues to happen.
There are no public comments on this case page.