A Repository of Wrongful Convictions in Australia: First Steps Toward Estimating Prevalence and Causal Contributing Factors
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While the occurrence of wrongful convictions is not contested today, the extent of the problem is debated and unknown. Over the last two decades, international scholars in the area, primarily from the United States and the United Kingdom, have focused efforts on identifying the causes of wrongful conviction and estimating a prevalence rate for the phenomenon through varied means. Less is known about the prevalence and causes of wrongful conviction in Australia. This article reviews the literature on estimating the prevalence of wrongful conviction in international contexts and identifies the challenges of extrapolating numbers from particular populations to determine this estimate. A complete listing of 71 identified and known wrongful convictions in Australia from 1922 to 2015 is provided and discussed in terms of potential causes of and contributing factors to wrongful conviction to serve as a basis for future studies and international comparisons. All causal and contributing factors to wrongful conviction that are established in the international literature are present in Australian cases, though the distributions vary from their international counterparts. Additional issues including erroneous judicial directions and the Indigenous ethnicity of the accused featured highly in the sample as causal or contributing factors of wrongful conviction in Australia.
Flinders Law Journal
Copyright 2015 Flinders Law School. The attached file is reproduced here in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. Please refer to the journal's website for access to the definitive, published version.
Criminology not elsewhere classified