Law students beat Home Secretary into submission in false imprisonment case

Law students from Northumbria University have successfully sued the Home Secretary on behalf of a man who was wrongly imprisoned for a robbery in 1991


Teams of final year students from the university’s student law office have been working on the case since 1997 in a bid to clear and compensate Alex Allan of robbing a Post Office van – a crime he has always maintained he did not commit.

Students Sue Hirst and Jennifer Blewitt broke new ground two years ago when they took the conviction to

the Criminal Cases Review Commission and secured a second appeal. The Court of Appeal quashed the sentence and denounced the conduct of the police officers involved.

The case was taken on by a second pair of law students, who applied for compensation for Allen’s time behind bars from the Home Secretary. After the Home Secretary initially refused to pay out, current law students Terry Cape and John Morgan applied for a judicial review and a High Court judge agreed to schedule a hearing. The Home Secretary then reconsidered and has since agreed to pay costs.

Cape and Morgan said in a joint statement: “Our client has had the consequences

of his wrongful conviction hanging over his head for nearly 13 years, and we’re happy that he can finally see some vindication.”

Allen, who is expected to receive tens of thousands of pounds from the Government, added: “Nothing can bring back all the years in prison or erase what I went through, but it’s all thanks to the students and lecturers at Northumbria that I did get some justice in the end.”