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Conviction of the Innocent
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It is the foundation of Western legal systems that an accused person is presumed innocent until their crime is conclusively proven. Yet despite technological improvements such as the use of DNA testing of suspects grave miscarriages of justice still occur all too frequently. From the Dreyfus Affair to Lindy Chamberlain, from minor traffic offences to the worst sexual crimes, citizens have been wrongly accused and falsely convicted. Sometimes deliberate police malpractice has been the cause; sometimes a politically convenient willingness by governments and juries to lighten the burden of proof in order to achieve a result. How can this happen, and more importantly why do we allow it to continue happening? Chester Porter QC has long been passionate about wrongful conviction. As counsel assisting the Chamberlain Royal Commission, he was successful in exposing an extraordinary list of forensic blunders. As a senior member of the National Institute of Forensic Science, he is regularly invited to speak on the subject of judicial errors. In The Conviction of the Innocent, Chester Porter argues that this is an issue of urgency, and that governments must do more to protect their citizens from miscarriages of justice.
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