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Innocence Project established at Victoria

MEDIA RELEASE

16 May 2007

Innocence Project established at Victoria

An Innocence Project has been established at Victoria University to ensure that serious miscarriages of justice, such as the conviction of David Bain, no longer occur.

Dr Maryanne Garry, who is Director of the Project and a Reader in the School of Psychology, says Innocence Projects have been established around the world to examine cases of wrongful conviction.

“The first Innocence Project in was established in New York in 1992 and has since exonerated 200 people who were convicted of crimes they did not commit. Since then, Innocence Projects have been established worldwide to examine cases of wrongful conviction. The Innocence Project New Zealand aims to examine and prevent miscarriages of justice so that cases like David Bain's will no longer occur.”

Dr Garry says the Victoria Innocence Project is funded by the University in conjunction with colleagues at Otago University.

“The David Bain case shows the need for an organisation like the Innocence Project in New Zealand to examine other miscarriages of justice. This is especially so since most New Zealand defendants will no longer be able to seek consideration at an independent court, such as the Privy Council. Legal and psychological research carried out here in New Zealand shows that wrongful convictions are of substantial concern in this country and must be addressed.”

Dr Garry says she and Research Fellow Matthew Gerrie at Victoria, along with and Professor Harlene Hayne at Otago University, form the core of the Project.

“We have recruited an advisory board of experts in forensic science, law and psychology including Professor William Thompson (University California, Irvine), Professor Elizabeth Loftus (University California, Irvine), Professor Jacquie McMurtrie (University of Washington School of Law), Lynley Hood (the award winning New Zealand writer), and academics from Victoria and Otago’s Schools of Law and Psychology.”

Dr Garry says the Project had also gained the support of several high profile members of the legal profession, including Greg King and John Rowan QC.

ENDS

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