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MISCARRIAGE OF JUSTICE ORGANISATION
"Injustice Anywhere is a threat to Justice Everywhere"
Martin Luther King
"No one is more hated than he who speaks the truth"
"He who commits injustice is ever made more wretched than he who suffers it"...These are the famous words of the ancient Greek philosopher; Plato, and unfortunately in today's 'modern' Australia, injustice is undeniably occurring within our own 'Criminal Justice' system, of which men and women are being convicted of crimes and jailed, based on incorrect or unsubstantiated evidence, that has been left un-checked due to fundamental procedural flaws that have occurred during both the investigative and judicial trial process of a crime.
The Miscarriage of Justice Organisation (also known as The MOJO Project) showcases the current cases of people that have undeniably been wrongly convicted and for absolute bureaucratic red tape are unable to have their case re-tried because of epic procedural failures and omissions within our own judicial system.
MOJO also highlights the flaws and errors in both policing and judicial procedures, that are continuing to occur within many states within Australia, including the state of Victoria which currently has a one appeal process in place.
MOJO is dedicated to change - change to the procedures currently in place for expert evidence put before our courts, changes to the appeal process within the states of Australia and representation of those people who are currently convicted and incarcerated from a Miscarriage of Justice, by giving them a voice.
MISCARRIAGE OF JUSTICE
The MOJO team are a passionate and committed group of people, with a unified goal of freeing the innocent and reforming the system.
In Australia, under the criminal legal system, a miscarriage of justice circles around the concept of 'wrongful conviction'. This can result in up to 330 cases across Australia in both District and Supreme Court offences annually where a potential miscarriage of justice has occurred. Apr 26, 2017 (Ref 1.)
"MISCARRIAGE OF JUSTICE"....
With only a singular right of appeal, Miscarriages of Justice are undeniably occurring in the state of Victoria and other States and territories. Currently only South Australia and Tasmania have a secondary right of appeal.
Click on each state/territory to view some of the past and present cases that MOJO is highlighting and why we need the secondary right of appeal through out the whole of Australia.
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Three significant words which to many men and women currently serving time behind bars are words which could mean a life of freedom or a life behind bars. Proving that a Miscarriage of Justice has occurred in Australia is much much harder to prove then actually saying the words out-loud.
A Miscarriage of Justice is defined as a failure of a court or judicial system to attain the ends of justice, especially one which results in the conviction of an innocent person. A Miscarriage of Justice is a situation in which someone is punished by the law courts for a crime that they have not committed, and it is for this reason in the United States that many people oppose the death penalty because of the possibility of miscarriages of justice.
But what constitutes a Miscarriage of Justice in the eyes of the law within Australia? It is where there is a "proven factual innocence or for which there is considerable doubt as to the guilt of the convicted parties". Miscarriages of Justice within cases within Australia have occurred predominately where forensic evidence has come into play. This along with poor counsel representation in many of the cases, and in some cases poor police work have resulted in substantial Miscarriage of Justices.
Reform is needed in the area of expert evidence as a whole to prevent miscarriages of justice being a burden in the Australian legal system. Australia is well behind other countries, such as the United States, where miscarriage of justice cases are regularly overturned or new investigations based on miscarriage of justice are conducted.
The USA has the Innocence Project, an organisation whose purpose is to "re-examine DNA and other forensic evidence to exonerate those who have been wrongfully convicted of serious offences". In other countries, such as the United Kingdom, Norway and Canada, there are "criminal-case review commissions" to help those who may be falsely accused.
Recently, however, there have been moves towards reforms with New South Wales and Queensland having allowed those who have been convicted of serious offence to do DNA re-testing although the procedure can be arduous due to an application required to State authorities. There are also other obstacles in accessing evidence in Australia, especially considering that once the final appeal has been processed, DNA evidence is destroyed, meaning any chances can significantly decrease of exonerating a convicted person. And then there are the investigation procedures by the undertaking of the police that are not regulated when it comes to appearing at court level. Who is responsible in the current system for ensuring an expert is an expert? What qualifies them as an expert, and who is putting these checks into place... is is the role of the judge, the OPP, the defence or the registrar?? A Miscarriage of justice ultimately occurs when a combination of poor policing, poor procedures, and poor counsel combine into one.
"A wrongful conviction can have severe impacts on an innocent person’s life. Even if the person is released from custody following the overturning of a wrongful conviction, the stigma, psychological effects, and even physical effect remain, especially in the case of serious offences. These wrongful convictions don't only affect the innocent person but the immediate family of the innocent person, of which they too are ostracized and also stigmatized. Unfortunately in today's modern Australia this is the way society has developed. People place judgement on others irrelevant of the fact or true findings of a case. And with today's media coverage where only bad news sells newspapers, and the bombardment of social media into our everyday lives, loose opinions are largely aired that way heavily on negativity and pointing fingers to hold people accountable, that are in fact innocent.
Therefore, not only should proper procedures should be in place for prevention, external to the system of pardons, but for those who think they are wrongfully convicted, they should have easy access to evidence review procedures