OJ lawyer promotes college's 'innocence' project
Published 06/08/2010 | 05:00
THE top American defence lawyer who helped clear one-time US footballer and actor OJ Simpson of murder revealed last night that he expected several Irish miscarriage of justice cases to be uncovered in the next few years.
Professor Barry Scheck said he had great hope for the success of a project that has begun reviewing 18 Irish cases to identify cases of wrongful conviction.
"One miscarriage is one too many. Ordinarily it takes years to establish a miscarriage of justice but my expectation is that over the next two to three years there will be a few cases unearthed in Ireland," he said.
Prof Scheck was in Dublin yesterday to see the official launch at Griffith College of the first Irish Innocence Project -- a network he helped found in America in 1992 to examine cases of possible miscarriage of justice.
Through the project, 258 people in the US have so far been exonerated by DNA testing, including 17 who were on death row.
The Irish Innocence Project under David Langwallner, dean of law at Griffith, joins similar projects in the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. It was launched by DNA expert Dr Greg Hampikian, director of the Idaho Innocence Project.
Under the programme, 10 final-year law students will work closely with qualified and practising barristers in reviewing "pro bono" (for free) 18 Irish cases which have been scrupulously selected as part of the Innocence Project.
They will review the original investigation to the final appeal and once a review is complete, the team will make a recommendation as to whether the case should be brought before the courts once more or if no further action should be taken.
Along with college officials, Prof Scheck met a number of Irish barristers and solicitors to discuss the project. Today he will meet some of the students who will be involved in reviewing the selected 18 Irish cases.