***PLEASE NOTE THAT INNOCENCE NETWORK UK (INUK) IS NO LONGER ACTIVE***
Innocence Network UK (INUK) was established by Dr Michael Naughton, an academic expert on miscarriages of justice and wrongful convictions. It was set up as a practical response to the apparent failures of the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC), set up in the wake of notorious miscarriages of justice such as the Guildford Four and Birmingham Six. In particular, the CCRC fails to ensure that innocent victims of wrongful convictions who apply to it will have their cases adequately investigated, referred back to the appeal courts, and, most importantly will have their convictions overturned if they are referred. Overall, the CCRC is not the hoped for or expected solution to the perennial problem of the wrongful conviction and imprisonment of the innocent that plagues the criminal justice system. As such, until and unless the CCRC is reformed or replaced, innocent people will continue to languish in prison and some may never be released.
INUK was established in September 2004 and was active until January 2015, acting as an umbrella organisation that facilitated the establishment and supported the subsequent running of 36 member innocence projects in the UK – 35 in UK universities and one in a corporate law firm. INUK ceased this role for two main reasons: 1. there was a general lack of interest and input by its member innocence projects to assist with the work of INUK; and, 2. and perhaps most crucially, there was a general failure by member innocence projects at the time to comply with the caseworking protocols that they had signed up to and agreed to work to (validated by the Attorney General’s Pro Bono Committee), meaning that many of the hundred+ cases referred by INUK to member innocence projects were not being sufficiently worked on and potentially innocent victims of wrongful convictions and imprisonment were being let down. Despite this, some notable innocence projects set up under the auspices of INUK did work well and applications on behalf of ‘clients’ to the CCRC and Scottish CCRC were successfully referred back to the appeal courts for alleged innocent victims of wrongful convictions. The overturning of Dwaine George’s murder conviction in December 2014 provided further evidence of INUK’s success in identifying victims of wrongful convictions who have been failed by the existing criminal appeals system and the CCRC and cemented the evidence for the necessity and potential of innocence projects in the UK under the existing arrangements. Click here for more information.
This website will remain as a legacy of INUK’s work and to provide a rich resource of information and open access to a range of academic research that might assist those working to overturn alleged wrongful convictions or conducting research so that wrongful convictions might be better understood, remedied and, ultimately, prevented.
INUK’s three interrelated purposes:
INUK provided access to a repository of Dr Naughton’s published researches on a range of different aspects relating to wrongful convictions and miscarriages of justice.
INUK’s newsletter, INQUIRY, is also a rich resource of articles and guides on how to investigate and overturn alleged wrongful convictions from other leading experts in the field, victims, practitioners and academics.
INUK employed an array of public engagement strategies to draw attention to the intentional wrongs and unintentional ‘errors’ of the criminal justice system that cause the wrongful conviction of the factually innocent and the limitations of the criminal appeals system and the CCRC to deal with claims of factual innocence by alleged victims of wrongful convictions.
Overall, INUK aimed to influence public discourse, contribute to reforms of the criminal justice system and changes to prison and parole practices by educating about wrongful convictions and their harmful consequences so that the factually innocent are better placed to overturn their convictions and/or make progress or achieve release from prison.
It is important to note that INUK did NOT itself undertake casework into alleged wrongful convictions, it did NOT give legal advice and it was NOT a campaigning organisation or victim support group.
In specific terms, INUK served its member innocence projects by assessing claims of factual innocence by alleged victims of wrongful convictions and acting as a clearing house for referring eligible cases (i.e. cases in which something could be done to determine whether the claim of factual innocence was valid or not; truthful or not) to member innocence projects to further investigate and build upon lines of inquiry that arose in the assessment.