On 11 January 1994, John Purbrick lost his life from injuries he received outside his flat Grangetown, Cardiff.
John was murdered after he asked his black neighbour if he could turn down the sound of the reggae music which was constantly being played at all hours. Upon hearing John's request, Michael Gilfilan went beserk, attacked him, threw him down the stairs, smashed his head on the ground and, finally, stamped on his chest.
John was taken to hospital in a semi-conscious state but died 12 hours later. Doctors said his injuries were equivalent to those sustained by a road accident victim.
Gilfilan denied murder at Cardiff Crown Court but was found guilty and sentenced to life imprisonment in July 1994. However, this was overturned on 7 December 1998, by the Lord Chief Justice, Thomas Bingham, and two others.
In his judgement, Bingham ruled that the original conviction should be quashed and a verdict of not guilty of murder be recorded. A verdict of guilty of manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility was substituted, based on psychiatric evidence that Gilfilan is a schizophrenic.
During Gilfilan's trial, a witness was jailed for refusing to give evidence.
His solicitor said he had been threatened with 'dire consequences' if he turned up at court.
So, THEY can imprison us if we refuse to give evidence in a murder trial because we don't wish to suffer the 'dire consequences' promised by the bad guy if we do.
Not wishing to go to prison, we give evidence and the 'dire consequence' person gets locked up. We heave a sigh of relief.
However, a little way down the road, THEY decide he's not a murderer after all, he's just a nut. A nut who, when THEY've fixed him, will be let out a lot sooner than he would have been when he was still a murderer.
Nice one, Judge. I bet it's pleasant out there in leafy-suburbian, gated-sommunity-land. Come to think of it, your Lord Chief Justices live in castles, don't they? You know, those things protected by moats and drawbridges and a whole lot of stuff the Gilfilans can't get past?
Wherever they hang out, they don't have to live in a Grangetown high-rise with the 'dire consequence' folk, that's for sure.