Aberavon MP, Stephen Kinnock, has expressed his dismay at the Ministry of Justice’s decision not to grant Dic Penderyn a posthumous pardon. In July Mr Kinnock led a delegation which included descendants of Dic Penderyn and campaigners from Aberavon and Merthyr to present a petition calling for the Aberavon-born miner to be exonerated.
In the letter to Mr Kinnock the Ministry of Justice said, ‘The 600 signatures show the clear feeling on the issue within the local community but you will be aware that any petition seeking a debate in Parliament requires 100,000 signatures.
‘I have considered your letter and the petition. I am sorry that I am unable to add anything further to the Government’s Hansard response.’
In October 2015 the Minister for Policing, Crime and Criminal Justice told the House of Commons, ‘By convention, the Royal Prerogative of Mercy (RPM) is only used to grant a pardon where evidence has come to light which demonstrates conclusively that the convicted individual was innocent and that the relevant appeal mechanisms have been exhausted.’
Commenting on the response Mr Kinnock said, ‘This is a disappointing response from the Ministry of Justice. Dic Penderyn was the victim of a grave miscarriage of justice. At the time of his conviction there was no right of appeal and he went to the gallows insisting his innocence.
‘Dic’s descendants and campaigners have fought for years to clear his name and we will not give up now. We will not let this rest, we will not let this injustice continue, we will carry on with this fight until we have secured a posthumous pardon for Dic Penderyn.
‘There is evidence that casts serious doubts over his conviction. The fact that this injustice took place nearly 200 years ago does not make it any less important.’