Page last updated at 11:05 GMT, Friday, 24 October 2008 12:05 UK

No age of innocence for students

By Peter Murray
BBC Scotland reporter

Advertisement

University students sink their teeth into investigative journalism

The department of investigative journalism at Strathclyde University has become the first in Scotland to join the campaigning body, the Innocence Network.

It's already successfully taken up dozens of cases of alleged miscarriages of justice in the US.

In a bare classroom at Strathclyde University, postgraduate journalism students are starting work on a story which could change lives.

The post-graduate trainee reporters come from a variety of backgrounds and countries, but they have a common interest in social justice and believe good journalism can help their cause.

eamonn o'neill
If recent modern history in the UK shows us one thing, it is that there are sometimes claims that are valid and deserve to be looked
Eamonn O'Neill
Lecturer and journalist

Student, Scott Millen, says: "It means you're right in the frontline, making a difference from the off-set."

Until now, the Innocence Network has relied on law students who give up their time and expertise for free to help people who say they've been jailed for crimes they didn't commit.

The work of a group of law students from Bristol featured in the BBC's Rough Justice series in April 2007 featuring the case of Simon Hall who is serving a life sentence for a murder he says he did not commit.

'Serious work'

The Strathclyde University group hopes to take up real cases, just as the Bristol students before them.

Strathclyde University's Eamonn O'Neill, who has 20 years experience as an investigative journalist, says the innocence project is serious work.

"If recent modern history in the UK shows us one thing, it is that there are sometimes claims that are valid and deserve to be looked into by outside bodies," said Mr O'Neill.

The Bristol students hope that one of those bodies, the Criminal Cases Review Board, will report before the end of October on whether Hall should be granted an appeal.

Gabe Tan
Gabe Tan is co-ordinator of the Innocence Network in the UK

Gabe Tan was one of the Bristol group and is now co-ordinator of the Innocence Network in the UK.

She believes the trainee reporters will bring a new approach to the group's work.

Ms Tan said: "They may bring more critical eyes to what's in the public domain - they may not be stuck in the rules like us trainee lawyers.

"Anyone can do it - you just have to have an inquisitive mind."

Another Strathclyde student, Keshia Clukey, who is from New York State in the US, is eager to begin the project.

"I'm excited, it's a chance to use what we learn in class in the real world."


SEE ALSO
Murder conviction doubts raised
11 Apr 07 |  Suffolk
TV documentary on murder doubts
04 Apr 07 |  Suffolk

RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

BBC navigation

BBC © 2013 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific