No Comprendo

  • 18th Oct - 22nd Oct 2022
  • Project Space

© Bukola Bakinson

A short-authored documentary about language and communication in the criminal justice system.

‘No Comprendo’, translating to “I don’t understand”, is an authored documentary regarding the experiences of individuals and their stories within the justice system. We focus particularly on the language used in court and how the quality of communication has affected those convicted and their understandings.

On one side, there are white, privately educated, privileged male, and a select few women, with generations of an established presence in the UK. On the other hand, there are people from an ethnic minority community in Britain, publicly educated and mostly raised by single working-class mothers, whose parents more than likely migrated to the UK – all embroiled in the criminal justice system.

Narrative Statement:

In February 2019, 19-year-old Kamali Gabbidon-Lynck was stabbed to death in a street fight between two groups of boys who had a long-standing feud between them, the feud was the talk of the town in Wood Green and Tottenham. Later that year in July, Shane Lyon was stopped and searched by police officers and later arrested for Kamali’s murder. Shane was only 15 years old and the murder happened near his home. Scared and confused, Shane barely said anything to the police or his solicitor; he thought someone had made a mistake and the police would soon figure it out. Shane appeared in youth court for the first time and was linked to the crime; he was joined in enterprise with 4 other boys who came from a different area the murder took place in. Shane was denied bail and remanded to later appear at the Old Bailey Court in November 2019. According to common law, joint enterprise is where an individual can be jointly convicted of the crime of another, if the court

decides they foresaw that the other party was likely to commit that crime. Andrew Stewart, Shane’s solicitor, has applied for Shane’s appeal based on the grounds that Shane’s needs were disregarded in pursuit of the courts aim to convict. We believe Shane was not given fair access to justice, he did not understand the concept of the law used against him and was misunderstood which led to him receiving a sentence of 21 years in prison; more years than Shane has lived so far. Shane’s mother, Eloise, tells us about her fight for true justice, for Shane to be exonerated and to shed light on the misapplication of joint enterprise.

Director’s Statement:

I am passionate about telling this story because I went through the criminal justice system from 14 years old and I received a custody sentence from as young as 16. I remember being scared and confused, I did not understand what was said in court and I did not feel like I had a right to speak. I believe people need to understand what they are going through when they enter the justice system; it is easy for a person, especially children and young people, to acquiesce under the weight of legal proceedings and for members of the law to then misuse its power over them in pursuit of their aims. My saving grace was the support I received from keyworkers in a charity, who later encouraged me to tell untold and hidden stories I had access to. Stories about people with problems and experiences that could affect anybody. Building a rapport with people who have different points of view about communication in the justice system was an important element of the documentary, and one that I found very interesting. I secured participation from legal experts and professionals who are members of the judiciary to investigate the scale of the problem and, on the other side, young men who are currently in prison and feel they were not given fair access to justice leading to them being incarceration. Andrew Stewart is Shane Lyon’s solicitor, along with Eloise (Shane’s mother), we will document their experience of a trial that took place at the Old Bailey in November 2019 to understand how the justice system overlooked Shane’s needs and the stakes against him. Andrew Stewart says Shane was sent to jail for being in a gang. This documentary will show how miscommunication in the justice system leads to many problems, like people being in jail when they shouldn’t be.

“I saw that the camera could be a weapon against poverty, against racism, against all sorts of social wrongs. I knew at that point I had to have a camera”. – Gordon Parks

The intention for ‘No Comprendo’ would be to inspire dialogue that will facilitate change and get people to talk about the language and culture that causes miscommunication in the criminal justice system. With access to the Barristers Chambers at the Inner Temples, the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapy, Intermediaries for Justice and Prison Reform Trust, the aim is to have a presenter-led approach for greater impact.

To follow the production of ‘No Comprendo’ please follow @nocomprendofilm on Instagram.


Bukola Bakinson – Director, Claudia Botton – Producer, Hayden Rountree – DOP, Meryem Dabanli – 2nd DOP, Isaiah Nimako – Sound Engineer, Teni Ayankoya – Camera Operator, Angel Getchell – Production Assistant, Darren J Benjamin – Music Composer, Juanita Apanari and Rebecca Gin – Editor, Aaron Archie – Animator and StockStop – Colourist

Contributors: Eloise Taylor, Shane Lyons, Andrew Stewart, Stephen Akinsanya, Catherine O’Neil and Paula Backen.

A full list of acknowledgements will be displayed during the exhibition.

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