News and Other Busyness
Exodus Dread Cleared Of All Charges
Squall 14, Autumn 1996, pg. 7.
ONE of the core luminaries of the Exodus Collective has been cleared of all charges after originally facing prosecution for murder. Paul Taylor was charged at the end of last year after, James McNeilly, the man he helped eject from a Luton pub, was later found dead in a local park (see Squall 12).
Up until a couple of days before the trial held at Luton Crown Court in September this year, the prosecution was to press murder charges. This was then dramatically reduced to three counts of GBH with intent, ABH and GBH, after the prosecution considered its case too weak to press for murder.
The police prosecution case was immediately further weakened when one of their witnesses, brought in to describe the fight between Taylor and McNeilly, told the court how police suggested he should not mention that his girlfriend was with him on the night. The girl in question refused to back up her boyfriend’s statement that Taylor had deliberately hit James McNeilly with a bottle. When another policeman was asked in court whether this direction to a witness was unlawful, he replied it was.
The trial lasted less time than expected and after just over a week, the jury found Taylor not-guilty on all counts.
The Exodus Collective cite the murder charges as one more malicious police prosecution in a long line of such manoeuvres.
Paul Taylor had previously been prosecuted for the possession and distribution of Ecstasy after police raided his home a couple of years ago (see Squall 8). After waiting with these charges hanging over his head for more than a year, the jury threw the case out without Taylor even appearing in the witness box. Glaring inconsistencies and contradictions in the police account of how they found the alleged Ecstasy tablets was sufficient to persuade the jury that the prosecution was malicious. Bedfordshire County Council subsequently voted for a full scale public inquiry into police operations against the Exodus Collective, although the Home Office have denied the funding necessary to conduct the inquiry.