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

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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.


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.

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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



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.


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.



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




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.



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.



Straw(wo)man arguments help no one.


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”.


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



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,



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.



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



what an uneducated comment



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



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.


Andrew K

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



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.



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



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






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.



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.



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?



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….



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.



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



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

I must be a tin foil hat wearing loo


Andrew K

You are indeed a tinfoil hat wearing loon.



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



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


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).



she wanted the public to know her case and hear her 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.


Ciaran Goggins

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



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.



Scum of the earth



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.



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 … 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 .



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.



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 – chilling.



I was married to one.

Most people don’t know these personality disorders exist.



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



Sick b**tch!!!



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 .



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.


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…..



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



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.



Narcissistic yes mad yes weird yes and a lot more



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.



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 ?


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