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Paddy Hill, who spent 16 years in jail for a crime he did not commit, will help launch Glasgow Caledonian University’s Innocence project on November 12.
Hill, together with Hugh Callaghan, Richard McIlkenny, Gerry Hunter, Billy Power and Johnny Walker were the victims of one of the most notorious miscarriages of justice in UK history.
Hill will be joined by John McManus, of MOJO (Miscarriages of Justice Organisation) Scotland at the launch of the project, which will see students establish a pro bono legal clinic designed to teach them law through working with real clients.
The project is the first of its kind in Scotland. The national Innocence Network will allocate the university’s Law and Criminology students with cases where a prisoner continues to protest his or her innocence. The students, working in their own time and under the supervision of local criminal solicitors, will investigate the prisoner’s claims. Depending on their findings, the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission could decide to refer the case to the High Court of Justiciary.
The Glasgow Caledonian University project is run by Michael Bromby. He said: “This project will give our students the opportunity to put their 'lawyering' skills into practice. Many law schools offer legal clinics and pro bono services, but this project is different as it will address miscarriages of justice. By looking for errors in the criminal justice system, we hope that students will also understand and appreciate the system from a different perspective. Staff will oversee the project, but all casework will be undertaken by students in their spare time. Other Innocence Network projects have made referrals to the Criminal Case Review Commission and we hope that we may be able to do the same and that a referral will then be made to the High Court of Justiciary.”
Mr McManus, of MOJO Scotland, said: “I think the setting up of an Innocence project at Glasgow Caledonian University is brilliant. It has long been a dream of mine and our founder, Paddy Hill, to get such projects started all over the UK. The scale of the problems of miscarriages of justice in Scotland and the rest of the UK is quite clear to us and we know that MOJO doesn’t have the resources to help all the people claiming they are innocent. That is why we need Innocent projects in universities all over the country, and for that I congratulate Glasgow Caledonian.”
Michael Naughton, of Bristol University, and Robin Johnston and Gerard Sinclair, of the Scottish Criminal Case Review Commission, will also speak at the launch.