Law students to investigate rights to appeal

19-Aug-2015

Law lecturer Felicity Gerry QC says the project hasa strong focus on high NT Indigenous incarceration rates

Law lecturer Felicity Gerry QC says the project hasa strong focus on high NT Indigenous incarceration rates


Law students will aim to help reduce high Indigenous incarceration rates in the Northern Territory through a newly launched project at Charles Darwin University.

Students will assist in criminal cases where there has been a claim of a miscarriage of justice, or when fresh evidence arises but the convicted person cannot seek a second appeal.

The 12-week School of Law “Indigenous justice project” will mirror the United States’ Innocence Project, which aims to exonerate wrongfully convicted individuals and to reform legislation in the criminal justice system.

Law lecturer Felicity Gerry QC said the project had a strong focus on high NT Indigenous incarceration rates along with the incarceration of human trafficking victims.

Ms Gerry said students would analyse rights to a second appeal in the NT based on fresh evidence arising in certain cases, and whether such legislation required reform.

“Lawyers, academics and students taking part in the project will work together to identify possible new legal grounds to assist in freeing innocent persons who have been wrongly convicted,” she said.

Students are currently working on two cases as part of their Bachelor of Law “Contemporary Issues” unit.

The project will aim to address the over-representation of Indigenous people in the criminal justice system through community legal education for lawyers and members of the wider community.

Avenues, including cross-cultural legal training, cultural experience and immersion training, policy reviews and considerations of the effects of incarceration, will also be explored.

Law students also are creating an advocacy toolkit for relevant stakeholders in the legal justice system to assist Indigenous people who face communication issues with legal proceedings, and the lawyers involved.

The project recently received an Innovation@CDU grant.

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