SCOTLAND’S prisons inspector has pledged to investigate the “extraordinary” decision by jail bosses to allow killer Luke Mitchell to make a video behind bars protesting his innocence.
The footage, which was posted on YouTube at the weekend, shows Mitchell passing a lie detector test in which he denies killing girlfriend Jodi Jones in 2003, when they were both 14.
Mitchell was convicted of the murder in 2005 and ordered to serve at least 20 years.
The Scottish Prison Service (SPS) admitted it had given permission for the video, but claimed it did not know it would be posted on YouTube.
Brigadier Hugh Munro, HM Chief Inspector of Prisons, said he would be raising the issue today with managers at Shotts prison, where Mitchell is being held and where the video was made.
He said he did not know the full details of the case but his initial reaction was that the decision was “extraordinary” and likely to be “extremely upsetting” for Jodi’s family.
He said: “I am surprised by this and will be following it up during a visit to Shotts prison.”
The SPS confirmed it had given permission for the video and said it had “no objection to release of the footage with the consent of Mr Mitchell”.
A spokesman said: “Permission was not given for the footage to be posted on YouTube and we were not aware that it was to be made public.”
He said the SPS could not do anything to take it down.
“We live in a free society and while people are entitled to protest their innocence and take steps to try and establish that, I do think it was insensitive to the victim’s family.”
In the 16-minute film, Mitchell is wired up to a lie detector and denies killing Jodi or being present when she died.
Jodi was brutally murdered near her home in Easthouses, Midlothian, after she had gone out to meet Mitchell. Her throat had been slit and her body was mutilated.
Mitchell has consistently denied the murder. In 2008, he lost an appeal against his conviction.
The video made Mitchell the first UK prisoner to be allowed to post footage of a lie detector test on YouTube. He answers a series of general questions about himself and others directly related to Jodi’s
Jodi’s grandmother, Alice Walker, has condemned the video. She said: “It doesn’t prove anything. He is a lying, cheating murderer. He’s scum. It makes me very angry”.
Politicians also criticised the decision to allow the video. Scottish Tory spokesman John Lamont said: “It is insensitive in the extreme. Clearly there has been no thought of how the victim’s family would feel”.
Labour MSP Graeme Pearson, former head of the
Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency, said the SPS should review its policies. He said: “It seems a strange decision. The SPS says the video was released ‘with the consent of Mr Mitchell’ but what about the consent of the family of Jodi Jones?”
Polygraph tests are not admissible as evidence in Scottish courts, but a report on Mitchell passing the lie detector examination has been included in his submission to the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission commission, which is investigating his case.
The commission looks into potential miscarriages of justice and can recommend a fresh appeal.