On this day 19 October 1989, The Guildford Four were released after having their convictions quashed

The Guildford Four – as they were dubbed – were jailed for life in 1975 for bombing pubs in Guildford. The attacks left five people dead and over 100 injured.
In a bit more detail….
The Guildford Four were wrongly convicted of bombings carried out by the Provisional Irish Republican Army.
After their arrest, all four defendants confessed to the bombing under intense coercion by the police. These statements were later retracted but remained the basis of the case against them. They would later be alleged to be the result of coercion by the police, ranging from intimidation to torture—including threats against family members—as well as the effects of drug withdrawal.
Conlon wrote in his autobiography that a key factor in his purportedly coerced confession was the fact that strengthened anti-terrorism laws passed in the early 1970s allowed the police to hold suspects without charges for up to a week, rather than the previous limit of 48 hours and that he might have been able to withstand the treatment he had received had the original time limit been in effect.
The four were convicted on 22 October 1975 for murder and other charges and sentenced to life imprisonment.
In 1989, detectives from Avon and Somerset Constabulary, investigating the handling of the case, found significant pieces of evidence in relation to Surrey Police’s handling of the Guildford Four and their statements.
Typed notes from Patrick Armstrong’s police interviews had been extensively edited.
Deletions and additions had been made and the notes had been rearranged. The notes and their amendments were consistent with hand-written and typed notes presented at the trial, which suggested that the hand-written notes were made after the interviews had been conducted.
The notes presented had been described in court as contemporaneous records. Manuscript notes relating to an interview with Hill showed that Hill’s fifth statement was taken in breach of Judges’ Rules and may well have been inadmissible as evidence. The information was not made available to the DPP or the prosecution and the officers involved had denied under oath that such an interview had happened. Detention records were inconsistent with the times and durations of the claimed interviews, as reported by the Surrey police.
An appeal was already under way on the basis of other evidence. Lord Gifford QC represented Paul Hill and others were represented by human rights solicitor, Gareth Peirce. The appeal hearing had been adjourned to January 1990 at the request of the Guildford Four but once the findings of the Somerset and Avon report were available, the hearing was resumed, with the Crown stating that it did not wish to support the convictions.
The Lord Chief Justice, Lord Lane, concluded that, regardless of the impact of the content of the material discovered by Somerset and Avon or the alibis or additional evidence the appellants wished to introduce, the level of duplicity meant that all the police evidence was suspect and the case for the prosecution was unsafe.
Lane remarked
“We have no doubt that these events make the convictions of all of these four appellants in respect of the Guildford and the Woolwich events unsafe, even though the latest revelations have no direct bearing on the evidence relating to the Woolwich bombing”
The Four were later released.

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