A group of parents and legal professionals are campaigning to stop a law that they say is putting innocent young people in prison for crimes they did not commit. This week NOVA students were able to meet two of the campaigners.
Under UK criminal law when a violent crime is committed the main suspect can be convicted but so can those people who the court says have encouraged that person. This ancient law is called joint enterprise and in recent years it has been used to fight gang violence, with the result that many, mainly young people, are facing long prison sentences for crimes that they did not have a direct hand in.
Concern about how the law of joint enterprise is being used by the criminal justice system is growing, and a group of families and legal professionals have established the Joint Enterprise Not Guilty By Association (Jengba) group to campaign for the law to be changed and on behalf of those who have been convicted as a result of it.
Jengba recently became neighbours with NOVA New Opportunities in the office space both occupy in Portobello North Kensington. This was an opportunity for NOVA students and clients to find out more about joint enterprise and Jengba. Last Monday, Moira Conway, a literacy tutor at NOVA, organised a special presentation by two leading members of Jengba to talk about the work they do and their personal experience of this controversial law.
Moira said: “The passion and commitment of these two women really shone through. Several students who attended the event had personal experience of young people affected by this issue.
“All of us could appreciate the importance of increasing awareness about joint enterprise and of helping young people understand the risks under the current law.”
NOVA regularly organises workshops and events for students and clients that bring their local community alive and help raise awareness and practical knowledge. You can receive regular updates about NOVA events at NOVA’s Facebook page or visit our website.
For more information about Jengba’s campaign go to http://www.jointenterprise.co/
Read more about this area of the law here.