TORONTO, Sept. 22, 2014 /CNW/ - The Association in Defence of the Wrongly Convicted (AIDWYC) is launching the first International Wrongful Conviction Day October 2nd, 2014. The annual event will highlight the need to prevent and remedy wrongful convictions around the world.
AIDWYC is a Canadian non-profit organization that is the direct successor to the Justice for Guy Paul Morin Committee, a grassroots organization that came into existence in support of Guy Paul Morin immediately following his wrongful conviction in the summer of 1992. This Committee reconstituted itself as AIDWYC in May 1993. The group's volunteers have reviewed hundreds of cases, leading to the successful exoneration of 18 innocent individuals, who together have spent 175 years in prison for crimes they didn't commit.
The media is encouraged to cover this very first Wrongful Conviction Day. The Association's pro bono lawyers, board members and some of the people who have themselves been wrongly convicted are available for interviews before and on October 2nd.
Event in Toronto October 2nd, 2014:
Law Society of Upper Canada
Lecture in Barrister's Lounge 3:30 – 5:30 p.m.
Reception in Convocation Hall 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.
130 Queen Street West
Toronto, ON M5H 2N6
LECTURE: AIDWYC will hold a lecture titled Preventing and Rectifying Wrongful Convictions by Understanding Their Causes. James Lockyer, AIDWYC's co-founder and the lead lawyer who represented many of the wrongly convicted who were eventually exonerated such as Guy Paul Morin, David Milgaard, Steven Truscott, Clayton Johnson, Romeo Phillion and many others, will speak. York University's Dr. Tim Moore, an expert on false confessions, will also make a presentation.
Dr. Moore offered the following explanation as to the importance of this particular topic on this memorable day: "False confessions are among the leading causes of wrongful convictions. Social scientists have shed considerable light on the investigative tactics that put people at risk for confessing falsely. There are viable alternatives to current practices. It is time to start using them."
RECEPTION: AIDWYC will be hosting a reception with a full program which will feature wrongly convicted keynote speakers:
Exoneree John Artis, who at the age of 19 was convicted of a triple murder along with his co-accused boxer Rubin Hurricane Carter, will speak. He spent 15 years incarcerated in New Jersey prisons because he refused to lie.
John Artis had this to say regarding his wrongful conviction:"Devoid of any evidence or fact, authorities attempted to have me state that Rubin Carter was a murderer, to assist in convicting Rubin and sending him to the electric chair, for the promise that I would be released. In reality, it would have wrongfully convicted two innocent people and sent both of us to our deaths. I refused. Integrity is an innate, immeasurable, uncompromising quality."
Exoneree, Ron Dalton who was wrongly convicted of murdering his wife, Brenda in Newfoundland, will speak. He spent nine years incarcerated and thanks to his own efforts and that of lawyer Jerome Kennedy, was exonerated in 2000.
Ron Dalton shared the following insight: "Personally, I found when all else was taken from me, I learned to appreciate and trust my own sense of self worth. I was truly the only person who knew, with absolute certainty, I was innocent. I remain extremely grateful to my friends and family members who believed in my innocence and worked tirelessly to help me prove it. Yet I took most solace from the sure and certain knowledge of my innocence that I alone possessed – the truth is a powerful companion in times of darkness. Simply put, wrong is wrong. We all have an obligation to right the wrongs which come to our attention and do what we can to prevent (or at least correct, when they occur) future wrongful convictions which serve to weaken our criminal justice system and lower our collective faith in fundamental truth and justice."
- Association in Defence of the Wrongly Convicted.
- Six-minute film about AIDWYC and its work.
- Details of the 18 historical cases and people AIDWYC assisted in obtaining their exoneration and freedom.
- AIDWYC's pro bono lawyers are currently reviewing 78 claims of innocence. See the breakdown by province or territory.
Wrongful conviction programs will be held by participants in different parts of the world on October 2nd, including the United States, Australia, Ireland, the Netherlands and others.
SOURCE: Association in Defence of the Wrongly Convicted (AIDWYC)
For further information: MEDIA CONTACT and RSVP: Win Wahrer, Association in Defence of the Wrongly Convicted, Director of Client Services, Toll free: 1-800-249-1329 x 227, In Toronto: 416-504-7500 x 227, Cell: 416-459-2065, [email protected]