In March 1975, a mini-cab driver from Bow was jailed for 20 years for alleged armed robbery and wounding a policeman on 4 April 1974. George Davis’s family and friends were convinced of his innocence; their campaigns against his arrest and conviction formed the basis of this play. Much of the material, witness’ reports, judge’s summing up etc., was verbatim.
The evidence against George Davis consisted of identification evidence, without any corroborative evidence of any kind, apart from police ‘verbals’. Conviction on identification finally aroused sufficient concern for the government to instigate an inquiry headed by Lord Devlin. The organisation, JUSTICE, supplied evidence to the Devlin Commission in which they listed numerous cases of men convicted in the most dubious circumstances on identification evidence only. The most notorious case of mistaken identity was the identification of George Ince by the Patience family for the Barn Restaurant murder. They were proven wrong and Ince was eventually acquitted. To clear himself, Ince had to take on the judicial system single-handedly. He was lucky enough to be able to do it. George Davis had the support of his family and friends in the fight for his release. But there were too many others unable to plead their case and without anyone to fight on their behalf.
At the time George Davis is Innocent, OK was described as a “Dramatised Documentary” and “Living Newspaper” in The Stage.
Nora Connolly was an actor who was involved with Half Moon Theatre in its early days. She remembers one of the early productions which drew in a different audience.
Writer, Shane Connaughton talks about his production of George Davis Is Innocent, OK? and how this local news story was brought to the stage. He talks about the performance of the play after George Davis was released from prison.