THE FAMILY of a pensioner who sexually abused a three year old have hired a leading barrister to try to clear his name
Retired mechanic John Manvell, 70, was jailed for seven years in 2014 after being found guilty by a jury of sexually assaulting the girl at his home in Steyning as well inciting her to engage in sexual activity.
Manvell, previously of Mill Road, Steyning, has tried and failed to appeal against his sentence and crown court judge Shani Barnes said he had shown no remorse and posed a serious risk to children but his family has maintained his innocence.
Manvell’s daughter Clare Ralston launched a petition earlier this year and has now hired a leading barrister to fight their cause.
The family had complained that they had to travel five hours to visit him in prison and said Manvell’s grandchildren were traumatised by having him removed from their lives.
Barrister Mark Barlow has taken on Manvell’s case and is making an application to the Criminal Cases Review Commision to have his case reviewed. his case.
Mrs Ralston said: “We are as confident as we can be that the CCRC will refer my father’s case back to the Appeal Court. Even before Mr Barlow had finished reading the trial transcripts he told me that he had discovered a significant point that could prove valuable in a future appeal.
“Obtaining the services of a barrister of this calibre is a tremendous step forward for us. He is recognised as one of the leading counsel in complex allegations of historic sexual abuse. He also has extensive experience of miscarriages of justice in and has a very good track record in getting wrongful convictions for sexual offences overturned in England and Northern Ireland,”
Manvell’s family claimed his conviction had been unfair as there had been “no medical evidence” to prove the assault and the young victim “was not allowed to be vigorously cross examined” because of her age.
At the time of his conviction Detective Constable Dani Flude praised the little girl’s bravery in giving evidence in court.
When Manvell’s seven year sentence is up he will have to complete a further three years on extended licence.
He is also subject to an indefinite Sexual Offences Prevention Order prohibiting having unsupervised contact with anyone under the age of 16 and will be on the Sex Offenders’ Register for life.
Source: The Argus