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The Littlehampton LibelsA Miscarriage of Justice and a Mystery about Words in 1920s England$
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Christopher Hilliard

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198799658

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198799658.001.0001

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Reopening the Case

(p.5) Prologue
The Littlehampton Libels

Christopher Hilliard

Oxford University Press

The prologue introduces the reader to the early phases of the case by relating the responses of senior government lawyers to what they suspected was a miscarriage of justice. Rose Gooding had twice been convicted of libelling her neighbour Edith Swan and was serving a sentence of a year’s imprisonment. When new evidence was discovered by the West Sussex police, it was referred to the Director of Public Prosecutions, Sir Archibald Bodkin, and the Home Office’s lawyers, led by Sir Ernley Blackwell. They quickly came to believe that Gooding had been wrongly convicted, and enlisted George Nicholls of the Metropolitan Police to investigate under the ‘Police Aid’ scheme, whereby the Metropolitan Police lent detectives to provincial forces (about a third of which had no investigative units of their own).

Keywords:   Home Office, Director of Public Prosecutions, Court of Criminal Appeal, Metropolitan Police, West Sussex, private prosecutions, criminal justice, Archibald Bodkin, Ernley Blackwell

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