Eve Ash Documentary Shadow of Doubt on the Sue Neill-Fraser Case in Tasmania Chosen as a Lead Film Event in Lorne Film Festival "Making Waves"
Eve Ash's AFI nominated and international award-winning documentary Shadow of Doubt on the Sue Neill-Fraser case here in Tasmania has been chosen to be a lead event at the "Making Waves" Lorne Film Festival in November 2015. See http://www.lornefilm.com.au/
Following on from yesterday's posting where I provided the latest case statistics from the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) in the UK, this post covers the statistics from the USA Innocence Project. See http://www.innocenceproject.org/. This body is a national litigation and public policy organisation dedicated to exonerating wrongfully convicted people through DNA testing and reforming the criminal justice system to prevent future injustice.
I noted on Tuesday that several different figures were quoted in Parliament during the debate on further right to appeal legislation as to the number of cases that had been successful on appeal after referral from the UK Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC). I have now checked the CCRC website and, as at 31 July 2015, 392 appeals have been allowed since the organisation commenced operations in 1997 (which equates to around 22 per cases per year on average). See http://www.ccrc.gov.uk/case-statistics/
Yesterday I attended Parliament to observe the debate around the introduction/passage of the new further right to appeal Bill through the Legislative Assembly. The Bill was introduced by the Premier, the Hon. Will Hodgman. The Bill was supported by all parties and following debate there were no actual amendments to the Bill. There was a very powerful speech given by the Shadow Attorney-General, the Hon. Lara Giddings. The former Premier posed a number of important questions to Mr Hodgman in order to clarify Parliament's intent in making an amendment to a crucial provision of the Bill which meant it was different to, and possibly more restrictive than, the SA model (s.402A(6) (b)). Ms Giddings argued that the bar may have been set too high as proving "fresh and compelling" evidence and a "substantial miscarriage of justice" could be very onerous for some wrongfully convicted persons. She also referred to a range of other issues that could lead to a miscarriage of justice which were not necessarily "fresh and compelling" evidence. She also raised the very important human rights issue and possible non-compliance with our obligations in this regard, as raised by the AHRC in the SA consultative process for its legislation.
"Framed by Forensics" - Article on Junky, Out of Date Science Fuelling Jury Errors and Tragic Miscarriages of Justice
Thank you to Bill Rowlings of CLA for sending me this one.The article by Douglas Starr from December 2014 is entitled "Framed by Forensics: Junky, out-of-date science fuels jury errors and tragic miscarriages of justice. How can we throw it out of court?". See http://aeon.co/magazine/society/how-can-we-rid-the-legal-system-of-bad-science/
Breaking News: Further Right to Appeal Bill in criminal cases to be debated in Lower House of Tasmanian Parliament this afternoon
The Bill which proposes a further right of appeal for those who have exhausted the normal avenues of appeal in criminal matters will be debated in the Legislative Assembly this afternoon.
I picked up on this London case from Twitter. It involves an appeal on a conviction of possession of a prohibited firearm, upon which a full profile of the appellant's DNA had been found. The court had to consider the possibilty of secondary transfer of the DNA onto the gun via an item of clothing used to wrap it, in light of evidence given by the appellant. The appellant said he had never seen a gun before, he had not seen the car involved in the relevant robbery event, he had not been with the relevant offender on the day of the robbery and the bag in which the gun had been found had nothing to do with him.
Another Excellent Article about the Dangers of Unchallenged Expert Evidence in Australian Courts from the September 2015 NSW Law Society Journal
A very interesting article about the issues surrounding some expert evidence in Australian courts including no need to establish the reliability of such evidence, and the clear need for defence counsel to challenge such evidence and even seek advice from an independent forensic scientist ahead of trial. See https://cld.bz/lvK3uZe#84. The article makes the point that expert evidence can cause innocent people to be convicted of crimes they did not commit. The article quotes Professor Gary Edmond who has stated that many - perhaps most - wrongful convictions or miscarriages of justice involve forensic scientific and medical evidence that was exaggerated, misleading or simply mistaken.
Found an excellent article by Nicola Berkovic from The Australian 8 April 2011 on how DNA evidence can befuddle jurors. The article highlights the results of a Charles Sturt University study by Goodman-Delahunty and Hewson which sparked calls for more safeguards in the justice system. See http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/legal-affairs/dna-evidence-befuddles-jurors/story-e6frg97x-1226035635488. Those calls by legal experts include a demand for more rigorous education of jurors, lawyers and judges in DNA technology.
Senior NSW Police Blamed for Accidental Shooting of Young Police Officer: Cascading and Compounding Errors
Sadly, NSW Coroner, Mr Greg Barnes has found that lack of proper supervision and leadership within the NSW Police had contributed to the tragic shooting death of Constable Bill Crews by another police member in a botched raid by plainclothes police of a Bankstown carpark in 2010. See http://www.9news.com.au/national/2015/09/21/19/39/coroner-blames-senior-nsw-police-for-accidental-shooting-of-young-officer