Expert on Wrongful Convictions to Speak at NUI Galway on the Role of Science in Criminal Prosecutions

Dr Brian Farrell, lecturer in law and human rights, University of Iowa and President of the Innocence Project Iowa. Photo: Brian Farrell
Jan 23 2018 Posted: 12:09 GMT

Dr Brian Farrell, a lecturer in law and human rights at the University of Iowa and President of the Innocence Project of Iowa*, will give a public seminar at NUI Galway on Wednesday 24 January entitled, ‘Science and the Law: Learning from Wrongful Convictions’. The seminar explores the phenomenon of wrongful convictions, common contributing factors, and how evidence-based reform can improve the criminal justice system.

Since the late 1980s, the use of DNA technology has led to the exoneration of over 350 of innocent individuals convicted of crimes they did not commit in the United States alone. Examination of these wrongful convictions reveals that science was often misapplied or ignored in the investigation and prosecution of crimes. At the same time, these exonerations have stimulated new natural science and social science research aimed at identifying these errors and improving the integrity of the criminal justice process.

Dr Brian Farrell, said: “Frequently, evidence and techniques that have passed as ‘science’ in the criminal justice system lack sound scientific foundations or are incorrectly applied. Unfortunately, judges and lawyers are often poorly equipped or reluctant to scrutinise this evidence, and can correspondingly be slow to adopt evidence-based best practices.”

Dr Shane Darcy from the Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway, said: “With growing interest in wrongful convictions in the Irish context, this is an excellent opportunity to hear from an experienced practitioner on how science and the law interrelate in the context of miscarriages of justice.”

The seminar is free and open to the public. It takes place on Wednesday 24 January at 1pm in the seminar room of the Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway.


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