How does the Initiative decide which cases to accept?
The Initiative has a narrow ambit and only accepts cases which come within its scope.
We will only review cases where you have been convicted of a criminal offence and are claiming there are facts to support your claim that you are factually innocent of this offence.
We will NOT review cases in the following circumstances:
- If your case is currently before a court/awaiting appeal
- If your claim of innocence is for a sexual offence and you have admitted sexual contact with the victim
- If your case relies on a legal defence (e.g. self-defence) or a technicality
- If your case involves child pornography
- If your case involves risk to Bridge of Hope Innocence Initiative staff, students or volunteers
We will not make contact with any victims of offences for which you have been convicted
What is meant by 'factual innocence'?
We consider cases of factual innocence as those where a person was not involved in the crime for which they were convicted. This could mean the person did not commit a crime, or that no crime has been committed. We aim to identify evidential proof that the person was not involved in the crime.
What does the Initiative consider an 'admission of sexual contact'?
This refers to instances in sexual assault cases where a person acknowledges sexual contact with the victim of the assault. We do not deal with issues of consent in cases involving sexual assault and we will not contact victims. If we identify such an admission by an applicant in our review of an application, we will cease the case review
Are cases limited to those involving DNA?
No, our team will review any case where there is credible evidence of factual innocence. This may include other forensic sciences, witness testimonies, and a range of other evidence that supports factual innocence.
Are there any costs involved?
We will review and investigate applications free of charge. We are unable to fund services such as DNA tests as we have a limited budget. If your matter requires DNA testing of evidence, you will be asked to organise payment for the tests. We may ask you to pay the fees required by other organisations such as freedom of information and court transcription services.
Can someone submit an application or respond on my behalf?
Yes, you can designate a representative to complete the application form and be the point of contact on your behalf.
When will I know the result of my application?
We aim to process your application as soon as possible however the time we need will vary according to the facts of your case, the information you provide in your application, and the materials you are able to provide for us to review. For this reason, we encourage you to complete all the sections in your application form before sending the form to us. If your form is incomplete or missing key details, we may need to contact you for more information, which can slow the application process considerably.
What happens if I don't have access to my case materials?
If you know where your case materials are or may be stored, we will contact that person or organisation and request access to those materials on your behalf. This process is integral to the Initiative's work and we will require your full cooperation if you wish us to continue to review your case.
What if I am unable to complete the whole application?
If your application is incomplete, it will take us longer to process your application. We may return the form to you and ask you to complete missing information before we continue with our review. We acknowledge you may not be able to respond to every section, however the information in each section is important and we ask you to fill in the application form as completely as possible.
Can I withdraw my application during the investigation process?
Yes, you can notify us at any stage of the process. We will arrange to return any materials that have been provided to us.
What happens once an application is accepted?
Your application is allocated to supervised student teams who will review and investigate your case.
Can I find out the specific reason my case was rejected?
For a number of reasons, we are unable to provide an explanation or the reasons as to why some cases will not be accepted or investigated, or why some initial investigations cannot be further pursued.
How long will the investigation take?
The investigation time depends on a number of factors. Our team will get to the files as quickly as possible, but we may face delays in retrieving materials and gathering new and fresh evidence.
Will I be updated on the progress of my case? If so, how regularly will this occur?
Yes, you will be updated on the investigation as substantial progress is made.
If you have any further queries, please contact us here