#TheAccused: Social media goes mad for ‘unprecedented’ Channel 5 criminal law documentary

We spoke to the lawyer involved in the case about his client’s trial by Twitter

Image via Channel 5
Image via Channel 5

A crime documentary described as “unprecedented” by its broadcasters captivated social media last night.

Aired on Channel 5, ‘The Accused’ followed the story of Kenzey (pictured above), a defendant in a horrific child abuse case. The young mother was charged in January 2016 with allowing physical harm to her seven-week-old daughter, who suffered what 16 medical experts concluded was a deliberate assault. It left her child brain damaged and severely disabled. She was also accused of cruelty by not calling emergency services quickly enough after the injury occurred.

The prosecution’s position was that 23-year-old Kenzey had witnessed her boyfriend, Kyle, violently shake their daughter and had attempted to cover up his actions. Her boyfriend — who she stuck by and exchanged letters with during the documentary — was charged with grievous bodily harm.

Image via Channel 5
Image via Channel 5

Aided by GT Stewart barrister Ronnie Manek (pictured above), Kenzey maintained her innocence throughout the 90-minute show in a number of on-camera exchanges with her legal team. She looked visibly upset by what the prosecution was accusing her of. “All I can say, 100%, is it wasn’t me and neither would I have allowed that to happen,” she protested.

The ground-breaking documentary looks at what it is like to be accused of a serious crime and is shot in real-time. Usually programmes like this are is done retrospectively, and often with the aid of actors and reconstructions, but not in The Accused. This, Manek told Legal Cheek, provided viewers with a sobering dose of reality. He said:

People who have never been arrested will not understand how traumatic it is to be accused of a crime.

Viewers were invited to form their own thoughts on Kenzey’s guilt before the verdict was read out, and that they did. Using the hashtag #TheAccused, a number of tweeters lambasted Kenzey and sided with the prosecution.

Other viewers were more sympathetic to Kenzey’s plight, especially when they learnt Kyle had been abusive to her.

*SPOILER ALERT*


Both Kenzey and Kyle were found guilty and sentenced to prison for three-and-a-half-years and 18 years respectively. While the social media debate rumbles on as to whether this was the right decision, Manek told Legal Cheek he worries this “trial by Twitter” does not “truly reflect reality and the correct position”. He continued:

I’m not sure tweeters fully understood Kenzey’s charges and how they related to Kyle. He was facing an overwhelming case. If he had pleaded guilty to his charges, I don’t think there would have been a prosecution case brought against Kenzey. She was blinded by misguided loyalty.

You can watch The Accused here.

For all the latest news, features, events and jobs, sign up to Legal Cheek’s weekly newsletter here.

66 Comments

Ellie

This was a brilliant documentary. Kenzie came across like a lovely girl and I was so sad to see her convicted. I wish her all the best

(9)(33)
Me

A sad outcome for her, and she was obviously blinded by her abusive partner. She felt she wasn’t a DV victim, however the police had been called prior after he had struck her with the baby in her arms. Such a shame she prioritised him over her child. I wonder what examples she has seen in her life and I hope she can recognise what a real relationship should look like in the future. I don’t believe she was responsible ,however as a mother she should have put her child first. Her life from the point of her conviction is very over,because she will never be able to experience all the joys of watching your kids grow and flourish. For any mother that would be heart breaking.

(7)(13)
Not Amused

Again with this rubbish.

‘Women are victims’, ‘women care more’, ‘women are mislead by evil men’, ‘women automatically derive magic child care abilities or emotional bonds by virtue of their genitalia’.

It is just not true. What is worse is that it is part of a deeply ingrained misogyny which sees women as damsels to be rescued and protected by society. One that thinks women deserve special protection and special treatment. One which ultimately wants to keep every woman indoors (where it’s safe) popping out children like a cuckoo clock and not worrying their pretty little heads by thinking or risking frown lines.

It has to stop. Women are equal to men.

(19)(13)
KarenB

I’m a woman and I agree with you. I’ve witnessed many incidents of abuse on children by the so called gentle meek mother

(6)(3)
Anonymous

Seconded.

Some appear to think that gentle little girls are unable of harming children.

One just needs to go down to the family division for a day, and see the sheer number of women trying to prevent child access for the father, to see that this is the case.

(6)(2)
Anonymous

Hum but women on average do take on more caring responsibilities than men and often develop an extremely close bond with their babies (again, on average more than men). I’d agree that this is social and not biological (or magic), and therefore not fixed. And I’d agree that both women and men have to be given the opportunity to live their lives not according to this pattern. But for me the main work to be done is to enable men to embrace caring responsibilities more, not discouraging women from doing so. It’s men who are missing out here I think. Denigrating caring responsibilities and instincts as evidence of inequality plays into the narrative that traditional women’s work is not valuable or meaningful – and that doesn’t help women who still do that work and men who might very well flourish if they took more of it on. Denigrating women’s own experiences of motherhood on apparently feminist grounds can have a profound anti-feminist effect: I found Maggie Nelson’s discussion of motherhood in The Argonauts particularly good on this.

(1)(3)
Anonymous

But this has nothing to do with the fact that some mothers aren’t fit to be mothers, and shouldn’t be given a free pass just for being a “mother”.

(7)(2)
Angel

Seriously ..have you got eyes and ears and a brain. She is a sociopath and absolutely knew her child not only was in danger but also had been severely shaken and had been brain damaged – AND DID NOTHING

(32)(9)
agnes

i could not agree more,made me sick to my stomach when heard her sentence,my friend & i were texting late into the night talking about the brill documentry,i think she was guilty as hell by waiting to ring nhs,then put her panic act on,she gave that interview with a sweet little voice ,YEH RIGHT,BS,which change qiuck when her bad langue came in,she has the front to still be in contact with kyle,knowing full well what he done to that poor child,monsters both of them should have got life without parole,what life has that poor baby now,fell asleep late into night so sick over her sentence,1st thing on mind when woke,horrified ,hope she gets locked in a cell 24hr daily,even thats to good for her,bet she aint sweet spoken in there,let the women in there at her,she is still in denial over kyle doing that,of course she is,as they were both in it together,my blood boiling just thinking about it again,

(13)(8)
geoff

I don’t believe you are taking a reasoned view of this and some of the things you suggest are quite aggressive and rather nasty. I know you are angry, the heat of it is in your post, but anger unrestrained is not the way forward.

(10)(1)
Anonymous

Painfully obvious, she’s protecting him because deep down she knows she shook that baby and tried to carry on as normal .

(4)(2)
Anonymous

I think she got off easy because of her good looks:(

(2)(14)
Anonymous

My heart goes out to this girl. She comes across as a lovely young lady unfortunately I think she is naive regarding her boyfriend. Blinded by him.
It’s quite clear from the programme and all the evidence that he is guilty.
Hopefully kenzy will realise this.
I wish her all the best for the future.

(3)(8)
Andrew K

Actually it was the baby that was blinded by the boyfriend. And left spastic and epileptic.

(8)(1)
Nightnurse

My heart goes out to her poor baby who will suffer for the rest of her shortened life. She failed to protect her baby from harm and put herself behind a kitchen door leaving her baby to the murcey of an abusive adult.

(10)(0)
Anonymous

this is a nice change, normally channel 5 puts out nothing but unmitigated sh*te

(10)(2)
Anonymous

Only 3 and a half years? Absolute joke, would it have been more if she was a man?

(22)(8)
Anonymous

On a point of order, Mr Chairman, I thought he was described as her “barrister” in the programme – an unusually good one by Channel 5’s usual abysmal standards. Now he’s being described as a solicitor-advocate. The GT Stewart website describes him as a “barrister in Crown Court jury trials”. Which is it? The website says he qualified as a solicitor in 2004 and was called by Middle Temple in 2014. Has he done a pupillage?

Shame she didn’t go in the box. I think she would have come across quite well to the jury.

(3)(10)
Anonymous

He started as a solicitor, did his Higher Rights, hence solicitor advocate as listed on GT Stewart’s website. He was later called to the Bar, which explains why the program referred to him as “barrister”. In reality, no difference, he still does the same job.

(5)(1)
Anonymous

he has clearly been misquoted as a solicitor-advocate, not that it matters. he was granted a pupillage waiver by the Bar Council based on experience and references from Queens Counsel and Judges. anyway isn’t this about ‘the accused’ and kenzey’s case which is the eye catching focus?

(5)(0)
Anonymous

It was the wrong call not to have her give evidence… her decision of course but she would have come across well… have seen this happen often….

(1)(5)
Trumpenkrieg

Scraping the toilet of grabage television. What was the solicitor thinking advising her that this was a good idea?

Every day the more and more I feel like I’m living in Weimar Germany.

(1)(7)
Anonymous

don’t assume its anyone else’s fault. it was her own choice .

(8)(0)
Trumpenkrieg

You mean she wasn’t talked into it by unscrupulous TV people?

I must be a tin foil hat wearing loo

(0)(2)
Anonymous

again lack of insight and education causes this comment. obviously didnt go to school trumpenkrieg or just a trumphead?

(0)(1)
Anonymous

You cant shout spoiler alert when the first tweet revealed that she was guilty! :/

(3)(0)
Ciaran Goggins

She was found guilty of being a chavette. Questionable that someone’s life is dragged out for entertainment, yet she courted the TV, without having the nous to see that verballing herself up was unwise. “The greatest poverty of the British working class is the poverty of their aspirations” (Nye Bevan).

(6)(4)
Anonymous

she wanted the public to know her case and hear her voice..it was completely her choice it must seem. im sure Channel 5 would have got her to sign a consent form. she must have been advised of all her options. you cannot blame the broadcaster.

(6)(0)
Ciaran Goggins

I am not really blaming Channel 5, and as she discovered publicity works both for and against.

(2)(0)
Anonymous

She was just as guilty as the bloke, She deserved to be sentenced to be honest. (Not long enough in fact) she showed no remorse.
And that poor child will never have a normal life. Makes me so angry.

(19)(4)
Angel

This young woman is a narcissistic, uneducated sociopath. I believe she should have received a longer sentence. But then according to her who are we to judge her.

(11)(6)
Anonymous

She seemed to be blaming everyone else complained about only seeing her children 3 to 4 times a year ….denied the boyfriend had ever hit her saying ” I would never tolerate that kind of abuse ” and when confronted with the evidence that the boyfriend eccepted a caution for the incident when she was holding her baby she looked a little surprised but tried to explain it away …..my observation of her was one of how controlled she was I looked at her face and thought to myself there is something going on behind that face …could not quiet put my finger on it but definitely something was not right with her demenur .

(20)(1)
Anonymous

For me, the telling moment was early on, when she describe how she had been in the kitchen making a feed, leaving the boyfriend looking after the baby. The door was shut. She thought she heard the baby crying and opened the door to enquire, and the boyfriend said it was nothing, just something on the telly. She then went back into the kitchen and closed the door again. Difficult not to conclude that this might have been a case of ‘see no evil, hear no evil’, and the baby bore the brunt.

(18)(2)
Proelia

This individual is a narcissistic sociopath.

The awful reality is that in due course she is likely to have more children but will those tasked with child protection duties have enough awareness to ascertain what she is and do something about it? The fact is people like her, those with NPD and those with with NPD and ASPD are all around us, but people just do not realise.
See here narcsite.com – chilling.

(4)(1)
Man

I was married to one.

Most people don’t know these personality disorders exist.

(1)(0)
KarenB

From the word go, I was of the opinion she is guilty. Lack of emotions or remorse. She deserves many more years.

(10)(2)
annon

the whole time inside I was thinking she is guilty, the poor little children I hope they go to a good home, I was appalled to see how dolled up she was in all her finery whilst her children were at such high risk by some bloke of hers stupid cow, she should have gotten a longer sentence , shameful .

(5)(1)
Gadfly

The Police Entrance Exam.
Final question;
You return home to find your mother committing a crime,
Tick A, B, or C
A; Arrest or have your mother arrested ?
B; Help her to conceal the crime ?
C; Turn a blind eye ?

Police officers are a breed apart and a law unto themselves.

(2)(1)
Toni Fluin

I too thought there was something not quite right from the off…..why have the kitchen door shut? she wasn’t in there on the telephone or listening to the radio, but just making a feed up….opens the shut door when she thinks she hears the baby cry but after hearing from Kyle that it was a noise from the telly, she shuts the door again…why?
But the thing that stood out the most through the whole programme was her lack of sympathy or any emotion towards the sick baby, in fact the baby was hardly ever mentioned, she was all about Kyle. So so sad for that dear 7 week old innocent baby girl. She’s the one with the real life sentence bless her heart…..

(13)(0)
Nightnurse

From the first day that you give birth you always know your own child’s cry..to say she thought it was the to is b.s.

(3)(0)
Anonymous

I agree that she is a narcissistic sociopath. I think that this is the only explanation as to why she would agree to this, or any kind of television programme in the first place. I think she deludedly believed it would help her case – why would she do this if she wasn’t innocent?
She clearly has a toxic, intense relationship with the father of her children and thinks that she is clever enough to fool us all- her legal team; the police; the TV company; us as viewers. She has no remorse, no empathy for her child and the only time this calm facade she is presenting to the world, is broken is when she is confronted with the truth.

(5)(2)
Gadfly

The social services didn’t deem Kyle as a risk to the child (implicit) They could not have predicted the subsequent harm. Therefore, how can the prosecution possibly claim Kenzey could have in anyway of predicted the harm, it alleged Kyle caused.

If Kenzey is guilty then the Social Services must be guilty too.

The most Kenzey could have been charged with was perverting the course of justice, However, there’s no proof (evidence) to suggest Kenzey did in fact witnessed the assault.

(6)(4)
Gadfly

If your neighbour assaulted you whilst you were holding your child in your arms, What would you be guilty of ?

If your neighbour assaulted you for a second time whilst you were holding your child in your arms, What would you be guilty of ?

What if there were no witnesses other then you and your neighbour ?

(0)(1)
Top Cat

She would have been appalling in the witness box.

I found it puzzling that Manek and the other lawyers were so supine in talking to her – on many occasions she needed a firm dose of reality rather than be talked to sympathetically – they simply allowed her to carry on with her delusional nonsense.

And why on earth didn’t they forcibly tell her to wear sober clothes to court,rather than turn up looking like Alice in Wonderland.

Not a good advert for GT Stewart…

(9)(1)
Toni

There was a lot wrong with this doc..but when her mad boyfriend posted on facebook his confession.and she still found excuses for him would not exept his guilt.that was it for me.i married very young but the thought of standing by a man who admitted hurting my child,a hurricane would not have stopped me from making sure he went down forever,child abuse is going on all the time ,that poor child ,he called the baby a greedy c…t.what is wrong with that girl ,I can not put it into words it would not be printed .

(4)(0)
Anonymous

its called legal professional privilege which you may not understand. any advice given in robust terms cannot be disclosed. im sure the legal team did and Mr Manek did but wasnt filmed for legal reasons. if you knew how behind the scenes worked you will understand not every conference with client is filmed and what robust advice was probably given. dont blame the lawyer topcat..it was clearly her choice. sometimes people must take responsibility for their own actions and choices.

(3)(0)
Motherprotector

I feel that this is one of the most disturbing documentaries I ever watched. There was something fundamentally wrong with her attitude towards the harming of the baby by her boyfriend, a refusal to admit it took place even when presented with the facts and an admittance of guilt by him. Good mothers are nurterers and protectors and will do anything to keep their babies from harm. Who knows what her childhood must have been like in order for her to exhibit and play out this very odd behaviour, and misguided loyalty to clearly an abusive boyfriend, all supported by her own mother. All she seemed to do was talk about herself and her relationship with (him) dressed up in a fashion parade for the cameras. I saw no remorse in her, no caring, no emotional empathy for her surviving severely disabled child. I am not a psychiatrist so can’t comment on why she is the way she is. But I am a adult child of a narcissistic mother, a survivor of an unconventional childhood, with my own children, who knows the difference between right and wrong. I would never let ANYONE harm my children. On reflection, I think that she deserves this sentence, perhaps longer. Hopefully, in the future, she will be prevented from having access to the children she has, and anymore should be taken away from her.

(6)(0)
Gemma x

I watched this last night and found it very upsetting . Kenzie appeared to be in denial . As a mother you know when your child is not right and the child comes first . Clearly not in this case . She was more concerned about protecting Kyle . Plus they went on to have another child after!!! Also taken off her . She is just as guilty as Kyle . Those poor babies x

(3)(0)
Anonymous

If the mother admitted she knew the father was violent she’d have condemned herself for doing nothing to protect her child. She had to keep up the charade to protect herself. That poor, unlucky child, born to such dangerous parents. A dear hungry baby called a ” greedy cunt” by its father was truly shocking, now that child has to be fed through it’s stomach for the rest of its days….

(3)(0)
Anonymous

social services and police thought he was safe to go home….they are paid specialists. so why are they not on trial for failure to protect the child?

(4)(1)
Georgie

I think he controlled her to the point she was afraid of him but social services was aware of Kyle’s violent outburst so why declare him as fit when really it should have been stipulated that in order for her to stay with child he had to go a written agreement should have been put in place and supervised contact between kenzie her child and Kyle should have been arranged so kenzy could have continued to parent her child she would of been made to choose her child or her partner social services didn’t do enough in the way of continued support and supervision of the child and the volatile situation that kenzy was placed in with Kyle I think he was clever manipulative and calculated he was the abuser she was in a dv relationship and more should have been done to protect her and that of the child I blame social services as they allowed it too continue knowing that she had not long become a new mum she doesn’t actually know herself as adjusting to a whole new routine I actually feel for kenzy and I think she should appeal as authorities didn’t do enough to protect her and her child this would have been prevented if they stepped up not stepped back

(1)(3)
Truthseeker

Very compelling documentary. I had her sussed from the off. Lie after lie – I can read the signs having dealt with people like this many, many times. But again, why can’t the authorities see the signs – scruffy house, disfunctional, volatile relationship – and yes, the lie about being in the kitchen with the door shut – why? Why shut the door? Personally, the first time anyone called my child a c**t would be the last time I ever clapped eyes on that person again. Right verdict, uselesss sentence but I guess her true punishment will come later in life when she grows up and realises what she’s lost.

(2)(0)
Kitty

Shocking by defending her boyfriend the father of the child she is as guilty as him. She knew that poor baby was in danger and even if she didn’t she is still defending him!!! She should have got a longer sentence the child has a life sentence . I hope the other child is far away from this family as possible.

(0)(0)
Anonymous

The fact she lived in a tiny studio flat, lounge with a kitchen off it. Sofa is their bed, so you are more or less in an open plan, BUT on the night the baby takes Ill you happen to shut the door while preparing the bottles…. WHO SHUTS THE KITCHEN WHEN PREPARING A 2 MIN BOTTLE???
That poor baby was getting a proper beating and Kenzey knew, but didn’t care. Makes me sick.
Those female prison lags will use her like their bitch, and give her that treatment too.
Terrible liar, mother and actress.

(0)(0)
Anonymous

I came across Kenzie whilst I was in prison people of her criminal nature are given so much protection from officers its unreal but eventually I’m sure she will get her just desserts

(0)(0)
Karen

This is so sad. I feel Kenzey is brainwashed into thinking her boyfriend is not at fault through fear from him. I do believe she saw nothing. But she would of stood a chance of being believed had she showed any emotion to his 2 confessions of shaking her baby. Do feel for her though. The more baffling is her mother’s reaction to Kyle as a person!!!!

(1)(0)
Anonymous

People need to understand that SBS cases are supported by a theory that is not backed up by science or evidence. Medical experts are divided on SBS. Sweden has recently publicly announced they no longer accept SBS in their country. Medical experts and scientists are saying more than two thirds of parents and carers accused are innocent. Until you do the research thoroughly on SBS and controversies worldwide I don’t think anyone is educated enough or experienced enough in the scientific or medical expert field to comment here. Those who are knowledgable in this field will know theres a chance this case was not substantiated with evidence around SBS. Its all based on a theory, a possibly, maybe. Even many medical experts are using out of date theories, 50 years old wheb theres more modern scientific evidence in the last 15 years showing SBS mimics the same symptoms of numerous other illnesses in babies. There have been cases brought back to court of appeal and those accused then cleared. The Jayden Wray case is a typical example, very similar to this case, almost identical. They were later found innocent and their child had rickets.

(0)(1)
Anonymous

i came across Kenzie in hmp send she shows no remorse for anything and comes across exactly as she did on the programme she was housed in j wing which is known for holding child abusers after the accused was aired she was ghosted out to hmp bronzefield she deserves no sympathy at all

(1)(0)

Comments are closed.