MP Meg Hillier snubbed as Hoxton man Sam Hallam’s murder conviction is quashed
Freed Sam’s family tell MP: ‘We don’t need your help’
Hackney MP Meg Hillier has been delivered a snub by the family of Sam Hallam, the Hoxton man whose conviction for a murder was recently quashed after serving seven years in jail.
They are angry after claiming the Hackney South and Shoreditch MP turned up univited at his home in Burtt House on the Pitfield Estate, amid the media frenzy following his release, to announce she had arranged a meeting between the family and the Metropolitan Police.
They say they were surprised because up until then they describe her as being unsupportive, plus puzzled as to why they would want a meeting with the police when they are seeking to sue the Met.
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Sam, now 24, was just 17 when he was convicted of the murder of Essayas Kassahun in 2004.
He was freed on May 17 after a Criminal Cases Review Commission offered fresh evidence and the Crown Prosecution Service decided not to contest his appeal.
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The man responsible for the campaign to free him, veteran miscarriage of justice campaigner Paul May, is now helping Sam decide what legal action to take, but said his family did not welcome Ms Hillier’s “intrusion”.
“This is the first time in 25 years a constituency MP has refused to have any dealings with us,” said Mr May. “I’m used to MPs who have done very little claiming credit.
“I accompanied Wendy five years ago to an appointment at Ms Hillier’s constituency surgery, but she refused to allow me to ask any questions and said she wouldn’t deal with third parties.
“That’s her right, but what we would like is for her to continue to be uninvolved.
“The Met police are waiting for a writ from us and quite frankly we don’t want to speak to them at the moment.”
Ms Hillier wrote to Sam’s mother, Wendy Cohen, saying he would be entitled to compensation, and offered her help to ensure he gets it quickly.
However, Mr May said nowadays it is virtually impossible for miscarriage of justice victims to gain compensation since the rules were changed when Labour was in power.
Ms Hillier told the Gazette she never discusses personal cases, adding: “I’m clear the family want privacy, the campaign have done a fantastic job, to get to this point you need a lot of forensic legal work done, I can only applaud their work.
“The Met are very much at fault and Sam hasn’t even had an apology and that’s a very sad point.”