How did you get involved in the Innocence Initiative?
I undertook a 20 day internship with the Bridge of Hope Innocence Initiative whilst I complete my Bachelor of Criminal Justice at RMIT. I have continued to volunteer after I completed my internship as my experience at the Initiative introduced me to my passion for the fair operation of the criminal justice system and wrongful conviction.
What do you do?
I assist in the reinvestigation of cases accepted, particularly working closely on the case Keli Lane. I also conduct reviews of applications made by prisoners to the Initiative and how they cohere with our ambit.
What are the most enjoyable aspects of reviewing cases?
I have strongly enjoyed working closely on individual cases, reading trial transcripts, police evidence and investigating potential leads and issues in each case. Reviewing applications exposed me to a large variety of unique cases and their material, providing me an insight into a broad spectrum of potential issues and discrepancies within our justice system. All interns are encouraged to provide their own ideas on each application made, allowing us to apply strong critical thinking, have in-depth discussions and fresh sets of eyes on every case.
What are the most difficult aspects of reviewing cases?
The content of cases can be highly sensitive and can oftentimes expose us to confronting material. At times it can be difficult to remember that these cases are the lives of another human being, and that both the prisoners and victims of these cases have had their lives irreparably altered. It is crucial to recognise the harms in the case and to treat each case with respect, confidence and without prejudice.
Has undertaking this internship changed your view of the criminal justice system?
My experience at the Innocence Initiative has exposed me to a more cohesive understanding of how our justice system operates and how, at times, it can also fail. I have learned strong critical thinking and to approach all cases and stories involving the justice system with an open mind and plenty of questions, whether I am introduced to these cases at the Initiative, my studies or in my everyday life.