Witness Confident was set up as an independent charity to take a stand against a walk-on-by culture and to campaign for a more enlightened Criminal Justice System. It launched on 9 September 2009 with plans to refresh the Criminal Justice System so it better serves victims, witnesses and the wider public. The charity’s approach has been that
- victims will not report crime if they lack confidence in the justice system,
- witnesses will not come forward if the police do not make them feel welcome, and
- crime will not be deterred if the courts treat offenders with more respect than victims and witnesses.
The charity set up Just Evidence, a social enterprise and limited company (reg. number 8314323), in 2012. The company developed the Self Evident App, employing new technology to help transform the way the police engage with the public. Witness Confident was set up as a registered charity (number 1131106 and limited company number 6917476) but was removed from the registers in May 2020 – it remains a charity.
The director of Just Evidence is Guy Dehn, a barrister with a background in criminal law, consumer policy, whistleblowing and governance. Matt Hale lead the community engagement work and the hate crime project, Geoff Tibbs was services manager, Rosie Beauchamp strategy officer and Evelyn Oakley handled the admin. Adam Evans, Richard Groves, Martin Kolar and Matthew Mauger are the IT experts behind the Self Evident app.
The charity’s trustees were Richard Barron (sociology), George Gross (defence solicitor), Andrea Parry (consultancy), Shonali Routray (regulation) and Anthony Heaton-Armstrong (chair and barrister & expert on witness evidence).
The Nuffield Foundation provided a three year start-up grant. Other trusts who have funded the charitable work include the Allen Lane Foundation, the Hilden Trust, the Wates Foundation and the Wyseliot Trust. Individuals and organisations, including Google, provided welcome support. Thanks also to Mayer Brown who advised on intellectual property, privacy and corporate structures, and Rufus Leonard who advised on our design and branding and incubated Just Evidence.