Timeshift (2002– )
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Re-Trial by Television: The Rise and Fall of 'Rough Justice' 



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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Robert Murphy ...
Himself - Narrator (voice)
Bob Woffinden ...
Himself - Journalist and Author
Martin Young ...
Himself - 'Rough Justice' Presenter, 1982-1986
Peter Hill ...
Himself - 'Rough Justice' Producer, 1982-1986
Brian Paddick ...
Himself - Former Deputy Assistant Commissioner, Metropolitan Police
Sam Poyser ...
Herself - Senior Lecturer in Law Studies, Canterbury Christ Church University
Roger Smith ...
Himself - Director, 'Justice'
Alfred Denning ...
Himself - Lord Justice of Appeal (archive footage) (as Lord Denning)
Simon Heffer ...
Himself - Associate Editor, Daily Telegraph
Peter Neyroud ...
Himself - Former Chief Constable, Thames Valley Police
Herself - BBC Newsreader (archive footage)
Mervyn Jock Russell ...
Himself - Wrongly Accused of Murder (archive footage)
John Smithson ...
Himself - 'Rough Justice' Producer, 1987-1988
Peter Snow ...
Himself - 'Newsnight' Presenter (archive footage)
Jean Seaton ...
Herself - Professor of Media History, University of Westminster


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Release Date:

3 April 2011 (UK)  »

Company Credits

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Did You Know?


Narrator: The idea that organisations improve by admitting their failings is a modern one. For a judiciary rooted firmly in the past, which didn't even have press officers until the 1980s, any form of media intrusion was unwelcome. And it wasn't just the legal establishment that preferred television to keep its nose out. The police, too, had much to hide.
Peter Neyroud - Former Chief Constable, Thames Valley Police: I joined in 1980 and very early on as a temporary detective I was very, very strongly told "confinement brings confession". In 1980, we pre-prepared ...
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Features The Court of Last Resort (1957) See more »

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User Reviews

Highly Biased And Selecitive Rewriting Of History
22 April 2014 | by (Isle Of Bute , Scotland) – See all my reviews

This is a look back to the famous intermittent BBC documentary show ROUGH JUSTICE . I remember it well . The music and title sequence alone will having you reaching for the anti-depressants but it sums up the tone of the show . Imagine a terrible crime has been committed . What can be worse than that ? How about finding yourself in prison for that crime knowing you're innocent and having nothing to look forward to except staring at a cell wall day after grim day as your reputation crashes in to the mud and anyone who can be bothered to remember does so with contempt or hatred . A terrible thing indeed and ROUGH JUSTICE tried to right these wrongs of innocent people imprisoned

What this documentary does very well is show the impact the show had on the viewing public . In those days there were only three TV channels and no one watched BBC2 . If you watched ROUGH JUSTICE in the company of someone then without fail you'd find yourself discussing with that someone the broadcast case which speaks well of the power of television . However very quickly this documentary cherry picks the good that it did and is very subjective about facts . It's interesting that the cases of Magaret Livesey , Ernie Clarke and George Beattie are never brought up . Probably down to the fact that none of these cases ended with an acquittal . One case that is brought up is Anthony Mycock who was sentenced to five years for aggravated burglary . The victim Ann Fitzpatrick wasn't a victim at all and she made up it all up and Mycock was released . The problem was that despite Mycock's conviction being quashed the producers of RJ were found guilty of breaking journalistic guidelines . In effect they blackmailed Fitzpatrick which led to the show being taken off air for a couple of years . RETRIAL totally downplays and sugar-coats this outrageous piece of coercive duress . It also feels the need to state the BBC offices were raided by Special Branch on a completely unrelated matter . When people start hinting about being victims of a conspiracy theory by an oppressive government then that's when they start loosing the argument . For some ridiculous reason RETRIAL then feels the need to bring up the subject of LIFE ON MARS and how popular it is with the public and insinuates this might lead to more miscarriages of justice in the future . Cause and effect ? I don't think so

What is brought up at the end is that now there's no protection against the double jeopardy rule . Nor can you be convicted on either heresay or anonymous evidence . It should also be pointed out that police interviews are recorded and that signing a confession isn't necessarily enough to secure a conviction . Add to this leap forwards in DNA testing and it means there's less chance of an unsafe conviction and for that we should be thankful . By a strange quirk of cruel irony the last edition of RJ centered around the case of Simon Hall who was convicted of murdering a pensioner while carrying out a burglary and claimed to be a victim of a miscarriage of justice and his case was quickly taken up with a small , vocal , self appointed , self publicists such as Dr Sandra Lean . As it turned out two years after RETRAIL was broadcast Hall confessed to the murder then a few months later committed suicide in jail . The problem with Lean and other self promoters is they're far too quick to take the side of people claiming innocence such as Jeremy Bamber , Adrian Prout and Luke Mitchell and are an absolute liability to anyone who feel they're a victim of a miscarriage of justice . I've no doubt there are innocent people doing long sentences but each case should be judged on its own . If you're too quick to say X.Y.Z is innocent and it turns out they're not you're tainted by association . The problem is compounded more in the internet age where supporters make constant dubious claims and risk every campaigner about a possible miscarriage of justice getting tarred with the same brush

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