Google Helped An Innocent Man Clear His Name After 43 Years

The man had spent decades maintaining his innocence after being convicted of a crime he did not commit. Now, his name has been cleared thanks to Google.

Finger hoovering over Google app icon

A man in the United Kingdom may have been found guilty of stealing mailbags in the 1970s, but he always maintained that he was innocent. One day, he Googled the name of the corrupt police officer who arrested him, and his life was never the same again.

Stephen Simmons, 62, had spent eight months in a youth detention center in 1976 after a judge found him guilty of stealing mailbags from Clapham Goods Yard. However, he was wrongly convicted.

Ever since the time he spent in jail, he said he knew that he would eventually right this wrong by proving his innocence.

After discussing his case five years ago during a radio program that gives legal advice, he decided to Google the name of the officer who had arrested him. Thanks to his quick search, he promptly found out that the cop in question had been convicted of stealing mailbags and then framing people for his own crimes. As it turned out, Simmons had been one of the corrupt cop’s many victims.

Using what he found out, he presented his case to the Criminal Cases Review Commission, which then referred it to the Appeal Court where his conviction was ultimately overturned.

“I am bitter, absolutely bitter against him,” Simmons said about the officer who framed him just before the final court hearing. “I want to let it go, but I can't.”

After having his conviction overturned on Wednesday, Simmons said he was relieved.

“I can't tell you how relieved. It has only taken 43 years, but I have got there at last.”

As Lord Chief Justice Lord Burnett ruled in Simmons' favor, he announced: “We would wish only to note our regret that it has taken so long for this injustice to be remedied.”

It’s incredibly disheartening to think that it took this long for a man to clear his name after having been framed for a crime he did not commit. Thankfully, however, he was able to finally prove his innocence.

Hopefully, this case serves as a wake-up call to other UK law enforcers who may be on a corrupt path. What is done in the dark always comes to light, no matter how long it takes. 

Banner / Thumbnail : Reuters/Paul Hackett

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