I am currently a PhD research student at University of Limerick. My research title is “Shifting Burdens and Criminal Cause in Miscarriage of Justice Cases.
Across different jurisdictions there are essentially two stages in miscarriage of justice cases; the prosecutorial stage and the contentious stage. The prosecutorial stage led to the conviction whereas the contentious stage only arises when a wrongful, or unlawful, conviction has been reversed on an out of time appeal.
I am investigating the contentious stage constitutional or human rights’ consequences to those improperly or unfairly convicted.
For example, section 133 of the UK’s Criminal Justice Act 1988 (CJA 1988) requires an exonerated person to prove that they have been a victim of a miscarriage of justice. Whereas, section 9 of the Irish Criminal Procedure Act 1993 provides for the Court of Criminal Appeal to certify that a miscarriage of justice has occurred where the Minister for Justice is required to authorise payment of compensation. Both models appear to approach the phenomena of miscarriages of justice from different angles, but, do both jurisdictions offer different results for the victim?
The debate around the treatment of exonerates of miscarriages of justice has been dominated by arguments about any compensation entitlements. Whereas more fundamental Constitutional and human rights imperatives have been side stepped by narratives of those compensatory entitlements. In different jurisdictions, victims of miscarriages of justice must satisfy unbalanced and shifting burdens around policy decisions and public consensus on payment of compensation to those unjustly convicted. Is the equality of arms principle adhered or can outside lobbying or parsimonious concern for public funds influence decision?