Daly is proudest of Rough Justice case

Mark Daly Mark Daly 'mourns the passing' of Rough Justice

A BBC journalist who helped give Barri White his freedom, after he was wrongly imprisoned for murdering his girlfriend Rachel Manning, says it remains the 'proudest moment' of his career.

Mark Daly, who was a reporter on the BBC Rough Justice programme that proved White's innocence, says this week's conviction of restaurant worker Shahidul Ahmed for the 2000 crime is a 'dramatic and fitting conclusion' to the saga.

White was jailed in 2002 for the murder, while his friend Keith Hyatt was found guilty of perverting the course of justice.

A year later, Daly, who is now a BBC Scotland investigations correspondent, began investigating their case for Rough Justice with producer Louise Shorter.

'We knocked on hundreds of doors, chased down endless leads and, crucially, commissioned new DNA and forensic tests which would prove that it was impossible for Barri and Keith to have committed this crime,' Daly writes on the BBC News website.

Their two-year inquiry resulted in a 2005 film that discredited the prosecution's claims - based on the views of a forensic expert - that it was likely that Manning's body had been transported in Hyatt's van.

'His assertions were based on a series of scientific assumptions which were revealed by Rough Justice to be not just untested, but completely wrong,' says Daly, who has also investigated claims of sex abuse at a Catholic school, racism in the Manchester police force and financial troubles at Rangers FC.

'No greater honour'

The pair were subsequently freed by the Court of Appeal in 2007.

'For me, as a journalist, there could be no greater honour - playing a part in two wrongly imprisoned men being cleared. It was then, and still remains the proudest moment of my career,' says Daly.

It was the 17th conviction quashed by Rough Justice investigations and the last; the programme, which had been on air for 27 years, was dropped in 2007.

'I mourn its passing because victims of miscarriages of justice now have fewer places to turn,' says the correspondent.

It's a view shared by White, who spoke after Ahmed's conviction this week.

'If it wasn't for Rough Justice, I wouldn't be sitting here right now, a free man,' he said. 'The help they gave to me was amazing.

'All the help that programme gave to all those innocent people over the years was incredible. I still can't believe the BBC took it off the air.'

Life after life: Barri and Keith's story will be on Inside Out on BBC One in the East on Monday, September 9.

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