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Irish Innocence Project Secures First Pardon

Innocent man, Harry Gleeson, to be given a posthumous pardon from the Irish State, following the work of the Irish Innocence project based at Griffith College Law School
Griffith law students have the chance to be an Irish Innocence Project caseworker

Pardon for man wrongly convicted of murder – landmark action in the history of the Irish State

The Irish Innocence Project at Griffith College, in conjunction with the Justice for Harry Gleeson group on the 9th of January 2015 welcomed the confirmation that Mr. Harry Gleeson will be posthumously pardoned after a tragic miscarriage of justice over 70 years ago.

Mr. Gleeson was charged, tried and convicted for the murder of Mary “Moll” McCarthy in 1940 and sentenced to death by hanging in 1941. However evidence uncovered through the work of the Irish Innocence Project and the Justice for Harry Gleeson Group has resulted in the first posthumous pardon in the history of the State. 

Speaking about the news, David Langwallner, Dean of Law at Griffith College and founder of the Irish Innocence project said:

“Nothing can adequately comfort those who have fought to exonerate Harry Gleeson but this posthumous pardon and the clearing of the good name of Mr Gleeson is a proud moment for everyone involved.”

Having reviewed the trial transcripts and exhibits, which we have obtained from the National Archives, as well as information, provided by the Justice for Harry Gleeson Group, the Irish Innocence Project sought the pardon under the Criminal Procedure Act 1993 Section 9. 

Among the information presented in securing the pardon for Mr. Gleeson was evidence that:

  • The prosecution attempted, and indeed succeeded, in withholding information that showed a discrepancy in the prosecution case;
  • That arms of the State, namely the Gardai, encouraged witnesses  to submit falsified statements and that the Gardai beat a witness during questioning.

Also speaking was Prof. Diarmuid Hegarty, President of Griffith College, who said:

“This case was a tragic miscarriage of justice and the hanging of Mr. Gleeson for a murder he never committed is a dark stain on the memory of the State.  However his posthumous pardon shows that justice is not blind to injustice.”

Read the College's blog post about Mr Gleeson's pardon.

For other media links please see:

RTE Radio

Irish Times

Irish Independent