I am currently working to establish an Innocence Project (IP) here in Tasmania. As an interim measure, I have established a separate webpage on my website to keep people informed of progress to date.
I am in the process of examining several different models for a Tasmanian IP. I have already had discussions with many like-minded people here in Tasmania and there are numerous highly motivated and relevantly-skilled people who are keen to be involved in this much needed initiative.
Having read much of the literature and after my attendance at the International Justice Conference in Perth from 8 to 11 March 2012, I particularly like the idea of linking such an initiative into the law school of the University. I also believe that the relevant goals or objectives of an IP should include: hope, help, education, advocacy, exoneration and reform (legal, cultural and procedural). I do not believe, however, that any IP here in Tasmania should be solely based on the possible existence of exonerating DNA evidence.
The proposed Tasmanian IP would be a centre of excellence and would bring together researchers, lawyers, forensic scientists, communications specialists, concerned community members, media representatives and university students with a view to providing pro bono assistance to those who claim that they are factually innocent (See recent relevant discussion on my blog page). As in WA, the model would also draw on volunteers to assist with event management, fundraising and general administration.
I am currently trying to identify sources of seed funding to enable the project to get up and running. Funding will be required for the establishment and maintenance of a dedicated website, administration costs such as postage, a laptop computer, event organisation eg. hiring of venues, incorporation fees etc.
I am also considering developing a membership base with an annual fee to help establish an ongoing funding base (maybe $70 a year?).
Innocence Projects are springing up all around the world. In fact, experts in this area talk about the growth of the "Innocence Movement", a basic Human Rights issue. It would be unwise to think that Tasmania is immune from the diverse causal factors that have led to many proven wrongful convictions of the innocent around the world.
Please watch this space for developments. If you are interested in being involved, please contact me and provide your contact details so I can advise you of any upcoming events.