Maguire family tell of lasting miscarriage-of-justice trauma

Posted By: November 13, 2018

  • ” A Great British Injustice” will be shown on BBC One on Monday at 9 pm, and repeated on

    BBC2 on November 25 at 10pm.   

    Allison Morris. Irish News. Belfast.Tuesday, November 13, 2018

    A FAMILY at the centre of what was described by a senior British judge as the “worst miscarriage of justice” he had ever seen have spoken about the ‘lasting trauma’ caused by their wrongful convictions.

    Annie Maguire, her husband Patrick and children Vincent and Patrick were arrested in 1974 along with four other people.

    The arrests followed forced confessions made by Mrs. Maguire’s nephew Gerry Conlon and friend Paul Hill – who would later become part of what was known as The Guildford Four.

    Guiseppe Conlon, the father of Gerry Conlon, had travelled to London to try and secure a solicitor for his son. He was one of those arrested from the Maguire house and later imprisoned.

    Despite searches of the Maguire home and the surrounding area, no bomb-making paraphernalia was ever found.

    However, the Maguire Seven, as they were later called, were charged based on the discovery of what was claimed to be the explosive substance nitro-glycerine on their hands.

    Mrs. Maguire and her husband were jailed for 14 years each.

    Patrick, who was just 13-years-old at the time, and his brother Vincent aged 16, were given sentences of four and five years respectively.

    Mrs. Maguire’s brother Sean Smyth, brother-in-law Guiseppe Conlon and family friend Patrick O’Neill, all received 12-year-sentences.

    They all served their full sentences apart from Guiseppe Conlon, who died in prison in 1980.

    In October 1989 the Guildford Four convictions were quashed by the court of appeal.

    That same year Sir John May was appointed to chair an inquiry into both that case and the related case of the Maguire Seven.

    In 1991, after a lengthy campaign, the Maguire Seven also had their convictions quashed by the Court of Appeal after the forensic evidence was discredited.

    Sir John May, called the case the “worst miscarriage of justice” he had ever seen.

    Former British prime minister Tony Blair apologised to the family in 2005, following a lengthy campaign by The Irish News.

    A Great British Injustice, to be screened next Monday, looks at the story of the Maguire family.

    BBC presenter Stephen Nolan, left, asks Annie

    Maguire, now and her sons about the lasting legacy of their wrongful imprisonment.

    Anne Marie Maguire, who was just eight-years-old when her parents went to prison, reveals the devastation the events had on all their lives.

    Nolan also interviews a forensic expert from the May inquiry and the Maguire and Guildford Four’s appeal lawyer Alistair Logan, asking why police and the British justice system got it so terribly wrong.

     A Great British Injustice will be shown on BBC One on Monday at 9pm, and repeated on BBC2 on November 25 at 10pm.