Andrew Malkinson criticises apology from Criminal Cases Review Commission after he was wrongly jailed for 17 years

A man wrongly jailed for 17 years for a rape he did not commit has said it is "too little too late" after receiving an apology from the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC).

Andrew Malkinson was jailed in 2003 but eventually released in December 2020.

His charges were quashed last year after new DNA evidence potentially linked another man to the crime.

The CCRC has now offered Mr Malkinson an unreserved apology after the completion of a report from an independent review by Chris Henley KC into the handling of the case.

But reacting to the apology, Mr Malkinson said the time for CCRC chairman Helen Pitcher OBE to apologise was when he was exonerated last summer.

"The CCRC's delay in apologising to me added significantly to the mental turmoil I am experiencing as I continue to fight for accountability for what was done to me," Mr Malkinson said.

"The CCRC's failings caused me a world of pain. Even the police apologised straight away. It feels like Helen Pitcher is only apologising now because the CCRC has been found out, and the last escape hatch has now closed on them."

He said his lawyer had written to Ms Pitcher last September requesting an apology, to which she refused.

He added: "It is hard for me to see the sincerity in an apology after all this time - when you are truly sorry for what you have done, you respond immediately and instinctively, it wells up in you."

Earlier on Thursday, Ms Pitcher released a statement saying: "Mr Henley's report makes sobering reading, and it is clear from his findings that the commission failed Andrew Malkinson. For this, I am deeply sorry. I have written to Mr Malkinson to offer him my sincere regret and an unreserved apology on behalf of the commission.

Addressing beliefs that she was unwilling to apologise, Ms Pitcher added: "For me, offering a genuine apology required a clear understanding of the circumstances in which the commission failed Mr Malkinson. We now have that.

"Nobody can ever begin to imagine the devastating impact that Mr Malkinson's wrongful conviction has had on his life, and I can only apologise for the additional harm caused to him by our handling of his case."

Mr Malkinson had applied for his case to be reviewed by the CCRC in 2009, but at the conclusion of its review in 2012 the commission refused to order further forensic testing or refer the case for appeal, amid concerns over costs.

A second application was rejected in 2020.

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Critical DNA evidence had been available since 2007, but no match was found on the police database at the time.

Since Mr Malkinson had his conviction quashed, dozens of rape and murder convictions from before 2016 are set to undergo fresh DNA testing to identify potential miscarriages of justice.

The CCRC said it has re-examined nearly 5,500 cases that it previously rejected in the light of improvement in DNA analysis techniques.

Its initial trawl last summer found around a quarter of the cases are those where the identity of the offender is challenged.

Focusing on those, it says there are potentially several dozen cases where DNA samples could be retested using the DNA 17 technique, first introduced in 2014.