Five Irish barristers to travel to US to work on Innocence Project cases
Up to five Irish barristers will travel to the US this year to help exonerate wrongfully-convicted individuals with support from The Bar of Ireland.
Paddy Armstrong of the Guildford Four, who was falsely convicted of carrying out bombings in 1975, spoke at the launch of The Bar of Ireland’s 2018 Innocence Scholarships in the Law Library.
Since 2010, The Bar of Ireland has sponsored junior members to travel to the US to work on Innocence Project cases.
Mr Armstrong, who spent 15 years in prison after being convicted of helping carry out the Guildford and Woolwich bombings in 1975, commended The Bar for for supporting access to justice.
He said: “It’s a sad state of affairs that in 2018 people the world over are still being robbed of their human rights and spending years in prison for crimes they did not commit.
“People working in the legal profession gain very valuable insights by both witnessing this injustice and in working to counter it first-hand. I commend The Bar of Ireland for supporting these scholarships on an annual basis, and in particular I thank the barristers who travel each year. I am very confident your efforts and commitment mean the world to the people at the centre of the innocent projects cases you represent.”
Also speaking at the launch were two barristers who were awarded Innocence Scholarships in 2017: Maria Watson BL, who travelled to Wisconsin, and Patrick Crowe BL, who travelled to Florida.
Paul McGarry SC, chairman of the Council of The Bar of Ireland, said: “Every year we are reminded of the importance of our Innocence Scholarships when participants return home and share their experiences with us. The experience they gain both professionally and personally working on cases of such importance is invaluable.
“As barristers, advocating for access to justice on behalf of our clients is central to our day to day work. Doing so on behalf of wrongfully convicted and imprisoned individuals heightens that mission even further.”