Greenwich students share experience with Innocence Project


Law students from Kansas learnt about work on potential wrongful convictions

Students at the University of Greenwich hosted a visit from students and professors from the University of Kansas School of Law this week, as they shared their experience of working with the Innocence Project London (IPL).

The project, which was established in 2010, investigates alleged wrongful convictions of people who have always maintained their innocence, but have already exhausted the appeals process.

In January 2016, the Innocence Project London became a member of the Innocence Network, which is based in the United States. The project is the only one in the United Kingdom that is part of the Network and each year students can volunteer to get involved alongside their studies.

This week seven students from Kansas Law School heard from current student volunteers about the case work they have been doing, including one case where they have sought and secured free legal advice from professionals and the opportunity to re-test evidence from a crime dating back over 35 years.

Louise Hewitt, a lecturer in law at the University and Director of the IPL, said: "This is a great opportunity for student volunteer case workers on the IPL to share their knowledge and experience of the criminal justice system in England and Wales with their American peers.

"Discussing their case work and their experience of working on the IPL is part of their learning and engagement in developing a critical perspective of the criminal justice process."

The students' presentations touched on the impact of the work on their clients, and giving hope to people who don't have any other legal options to pursue.

Lidia Stoica is a current 2nd  year criminology student, who has been working with the project this year. She said: "This work with the IPL has shown that I can have a positive impact on someone's life - every little bit matters and I really care about what I'm doing here."

New Greenwich students who will be starting to volunteer with the IPL from September also shared their reasons for getting involved.

Othniel Lewis, a 1st year law student, said: "The reason I came to Greenwich was to be part of this project. I previously worked at a detention centre with young people and their were issues around the lack of legal representation. I couldn't do much at the time but now I can make a difference to people's lives."

Find out more about the work of the Innocence Project London here and follow it @innocencelondon.