[Today’s edition of The Times contains a brief article (behind the paywall) about the new musical based on the Profumo affair and the Stephen Ward trial. It reads in part:]
Profumo-linked trial is centre stage again
It is, a leading barrister will claim today, “the worst unrectified miscarriage of justice in modern British history”. It is also the subject of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s latest musical. The life and death of the society osteopath Stephen Ward and his connection with a scandal that brought down the Government 50 years ago continues to fascinate.
Geoffrey Robertson, QC, will today call for the release of court papers in the National Archives and will claim that Ward was the victim of a smear campaign by the British Establishment, embarrassed at a sex scandal involving John Profumo, the Secretary of State for War.
Ward died in August 1963 after an overdose of sleeping pills on the last day of his trial at the Old Bailey on charges of living off the alleged prostitutes Christine Keeler and Mandy Rice-Davies. As he lay in a coma, the jury reached a guilty verdict. In a book, Stephen Ward was Innocent, OK, Mr Robertson says this should be overturned.
“His trial was a farce,” Mr Robertson wrote in a newspaper yesterday. “There was no real evidence against him. Appeal judges hid evidence of his innocence and the trial judge improperly directed the jury to convict him on speculation.”
[The worst unrectified miscarriage of justice in modern British history? The Stephen Ward trial? Really? While the conviction of Abdelbaset al-Megrahi for the Lockerbie bombing remains unrectified? Mr Robertson seems to me to have gone overboard in his attempt to plug his book. But he has always been curiously ill-informed and wrong-headed about the Megrahi case.]