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Be The Key: Set An Innocent Free

Griffith College Law Students Challenge Wrongful Convictions

“A wrongful conviction sadly happens all too often … it can happen to anybody and it DOES happen to anybody.”

- Anne Driscoll, US Fulbright Scholar at the Irish Innocence Project at Griffith College

For most of us, it may be unimaginable to spend years of our lives in a cell for a crime we know we are innocent of. To be left alone, criminalised unjustly while waiting for the day you are set free must be excruciating. Or worse, to be convicted – although innocent – and sent to jail for life or sentenced to death is inconceivable. And yet, these situations do happen, far too often, and they can happen to anyone. Fortunately, Innocence Projects across the globe offer a hand to reach out to those wrongly jailed.

The Irish Innocence Project has launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise funds for its work.

As part of this campaign, the inaugural Irish Innocence Project International Conference On Wrongful Convictions, Human Rights And Student Experience, and the Wrongful Conviction Film Festival will both take place in Dublin on Friday 26th and Saturday 27th June 2015.

The conference and film festival will be the first of their kind. This is your chance to contribute to challenging wrongful convictions and raising awareness of this important issue. If it is possible for you to donate a small amount we urge you to do so and to join our campaign, Be The Key: Set An Innocent Free. You can be the key!

Watch the short video introducing the campaign ...


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Plans for the IIP International Conference and Film Festival, June 2015

At the conference on the Friday there will be discussions about the project and its main mission: challenging wrongful convictions as a human rights and social justice issue. Attendees will also hear first-hand from exonerees and learn about the important and powerful work law and journalism students are doing – from prison visits to interviewing witnesses – in overturning miscarriages of justice.

There are plans to have some very distinguished guests and speakers at the conference to speak about the Project’s goals. Amongst them will be Gareth Peirce, who represented the Guildford Four, and who will deliver the keynote address.

The Wrongful Conviction Film Festival taking place on the Saturday will be a day devoted to Hollywood movies that have been made about true stories of wrongful conviction, the damaging and devastating effects such experiences have had on personal lives, and the reasons for hope in spite of these miscarriages of justice.  

The line-up of nine films includes Conviction, starring Hilary Swank, about the real life story of Ken Waters and his sister Betty Anne Waters who put herself through college and law school in order to help prove her brother’s innocence. Ken was incarcerated for 18 years for a murder he didn’t commit before DNA testing finally provide his innocence. Tragically, Ken Waters died in an accidental fall six months after his release but Betty Anne Waters will be present at the screening and subsequent Q&A session.

The film festival’s highlight event will be a special screening of In the Name of the Father with director Jim Sheridan and the family of Gerry Conlon, who was one of the Guildford Four and who passed away earlier this year.

The Project will also be awarding the Gerry Conlon Memorial Law and Journalism Justice Student Scholarship Award to a deserving student who is passionate about challenging wrongful convictions or human rights.

We need your help to make this important event happen so please donate what you can!

Why Are There Wrongful Convictions?

It is widely assumed that those in law enforcement and the legal justice systems work to their full ability in making sure criminals who are found guilty of each crime they commit are treated accordingly. However, that is not always the case because in reality, human error is very real and very dangerous. The causes of people being wrongfully convicted of crimes include false confessions, faulty or overstated scientific evidence, eyewitness misidentification, police or prosecutorial misconduct, ineffective counsel and informers.

About The Irish Innocence Project

Founded in 2009 by David Langwallner, the Dean of Law at Griffith College and barrister, the Irish Innocence Project is quite unique in that along with law student caseworkers, the project also takes on journalism students as part of the programme too. Journalism plays a central role in successfully solving cases and opening the caseworkers programme to journalism students, in addition to law students, complements and enhances the invaluable contribution that students make to the Project.

The Irish Innocence Project is the only innocence project in the world whose home is a former 200-year-old prison (and now the home of Griffith College), where at least one man, Joseph Poole, was wrongfully convicted, hanged and is buried in an unmarked grave somewhere on the College grounds.

Anne Driscoll, Fulbright Scholar at the Irish Innocence Project and award-winning investigative journalist, explains the importance of the work undertaken by the Project ...


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Useful Links

Irish Innocence Project

Griffith Law Students Intern on Innocence Projects in the US

Griffith College's Faculty of Law

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Griffith College Law Students Challenge Wrongful Convictions

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