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Success for The Irish Innocence Project

Image: Almost three quarters of a century after being sent to the gallows for a murder he was innocent of, Tipperary man Harry Gleeson (above) is to become the first recipient of a posthumous pardon from the State.

Thanks to the work of the Griffith College based Irish Innocence Project and the ‘Justice for Harry Gleeson’ group, it was announced on Friday that Harry Gleeson – a Tipperary man wrongfully executed for the murder of his neighbour, Moll McCarthy, in 1941 - will be the first recipient of a posthumous pardon from the State.

“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.”

- David Langwallner, Dean of Law at Griffith College and founder of the Irish Innocence Project

The case review compiled by the Irish Innocence Project identified several pieces of new evidence. The review found irregularities that suggested the prosecution had deliberately withheld crucial information in their case. In particular, the firearms register was not presented in court and the firearms receipt produced did not match any entry within the firearms register. New evidence also indicated that Gardaí had encouraged witnesses to lie and also beat one. Forensic evidence from a US pathologist also proved Mr Gleeson had an alibi.

“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.”

- Prof. Diarmuid Hegarty, President of Griffith College

The Irish Innocence Project currently has 21 student caseworkers drawn from Trinity College, Dublin City University and Griffith College, with up to eight overseeing lawyers.

Griffith College will host the Irish Innocence Project’s International Conference on Wrongful Convictions, Human Rights and the Student Learning Experience on 26 June 2015 and the first ever International Wrongful Conviction Film Festival the following day. It is the only innocence project in the world whose home is a 200-year-old former prison where at least one man is believed to have been wrongfully convicted, hanged and is buried in an unmarked grave.

Useful Resources

A Battle Against Miscarriages of Justice – a recent blog post by Griffith Law student Sinead McGinley about interning with the California Innocence Project

Be the Key: Set An Innocent Free – a blog post about the project’s recent crowdfunding campaign

Student of the Month July 2014 – hear from recent business and law graduate Cian O’Dowd about his experience of studying at Griffith

Irish Innocence Project

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