Plymouth uni launches Innocence Project

Law students at the University of Plymouth could find themselves face-to-face with convicted murderers as part of a new Innocence Project being run in collaboration south west law firm Foot Anstey.

So far more than 10 second and third year students have signed up to take part in the universitys latest pro bono project, which will see them review cases of long-serving prisoners who continue to protest their innocence.

LLB student Marjorie Creek came up with the idea to roll out the project at Plymouth after attending the Annual Innocence Network UK Training Conference at Bristol University last year (2007).

She said: The conference was amazing and I came away both motivated and moved by what I had experienced. More than anything I found the impact statements from victims of miscarriages of justice to be quite simply harrowing and my na perception of the criminal justice system, completely shaken.

With the help of Hannah Turner, who is an advocate at Foot Anstey, students will be given the chance to tackle real casework alongside their studies as part of a work-based learning module.

Many of the students may find it difficult facing cases amongst which there are likely to be cases of murder or serious sexual offences. They need to understand how to cope with clients who will be in prison and how to be confident in this situation, along with knowing how to work on cases generally and developing the objectivity required to deal with any case, explained Turner.