London: A new study of more than one hundred women sentenced to long prison terms under joint enterprise has revealed that nine out of 10 engaged in no violence at all and half were not even present at the scene. The report calls for an immediate halt to the use of joint enterprise and secondary liability with women. Joint enterprise is a common law legal doctrine that allows for collective punishment of multiple defendants for a single offence often without taking account of the different roles played by the individuals. In 2016, in the case of R v Jogee, the Supreme Court found that the law had ‘taken a wrong turn’ when it came to joint enterprise. Lord Neuberger held that it was wrong to treat ‘foresight’ as a sufficient test to convict someone of murder.
The new report published by academics at Manchester Metropolitan University looks at the cases of 109 women sentenced to long prison terms for joint enterprise convictions. Despite the 2016 ruling of the Supreme Court, 16 women have been convicted under joint enterprise since 2016. Over three-quarters (77%) of the women subject to joint enterprise punishments have convictions for murder or manslaughter offences – as such, they are serving long or indeterminate prison sentences. Around 90% of the women convicted under joint enterprise did not engage in violence related to their conviction and there were no cases where the women used a deadly weapon such as a knife in the situations that lead to their convictions.
Read more: Zaki Sarraf, Justice Gap, https://is.gd/8CtRA5