US lawyer addresses launch of The Bar of Ireland’s Innocence Project Scholarships

Colleen Rohan
Colleen Rohan

Five barristers will be sponsored by The Bar of Ireland this year to work with Innocence Projects in the USA to overturn wrongful convictions.

US lawyer Colleen Rohan visited Dublin yesterday to launch The Bar’s 2016 Innocence Project Scholarships, delivering a talk on the worrying shift to “an assumption of guilt of defendants”.

Ms Rohan, a founding member of the International Criminal Law Bureau, is currently serving as counsel and legal consultant on a number of cases at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY).

She has been practising law for over 30 years and specialised in serious felony and death penalty cases in her domestic practice in the United States.

Grainne Larkin BL, chair of the External Relations Committee, on behalf of the Council of the Bar of Ireland, said: “Access to justice is a core fundamental right and it is a principal that the members of The Bar of Ireland ardently defend on a daily basis. However, many people the world over unfortunately find it difficult to navigate the legal system for various reasons.

“Through schemes such as our Voluntary Assistance Scheme and the sponsorships provided to barristers to travel to the USA to work with Innocence Projects, pro bono services are provided in order to support and empower people that may not otherwise have the means to access justice.”

The Innocence Project is a US litigation and public policy organisation dedicated to exonerating wrongfully convicted individuals through DNA testing and reforming the criminal justice system to prevent future injustice.

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