Mark Kelly - Defence Barrister - Shares His Insight On Our Work
Mark Kelly is a UK-based Criminal and Regulatory Defence Barrister who has worked with APP in Kenya and Uganda spending time with our staff and students. He has visited a number of prisons where we work - men’s and women’s prisons, maximum security and remand prisons - and shares his insights on the challenges and achievements of those he met.
“In February I headed over to Nairobi, Kenya and Kampala, Uganda to continue my work with the African Prisons Projects (APP). It was the second time that I have worked with the APP, having also spent a month with the group last year. The scheme aims to provide high-quality legal advice, training and education to those living and working in prison. The Project helps those in need of justice access it for themselves…
… At the forefront of the presentation of successful appeals is a man is serving a life sentence reduced from a death sentence by the President. He is a second-year law student. He is a paralegal and (in his words) ‘a committed submission drafter’. He is a teacher at the Prison School, and he is awaiting his High Court Appeal which (in his words) ‘has high chances of success’. Read more
You can find out more about Mark’s earlier trips and his criminal justice work on his website.
We have trained almost 300 prisoner-paralegals in two countries who provide legal advice and support to ensure access to justice for those who are unable to afford legal representation for themselves. Many prisoners are simply awaiting trial, unclear what to do when they appear in court, unable to form a defence, and given lengthy prison sentences in over-crowded and inhumane conditions.
In 2018 - during one month in Uganda - we held 76 legal awareness sessions across 29 prisons with an attendance of over 5,000. Through these events prisoners are empowered to argue their cases from an informed perspective. With advice from APP’s auxiliary paralegals, many prisoners become their own advocates and are able to defend themselves in court. This enables them to obtain bail, have their cases dismissed, or receive reduced sentences due to convincing mitigation.
With the support of our paralegals, 240 inmates (224 men and 16 women) were released on bail, 196 inmates had cases against them dismissed, 64 inmates were granted community service, and 40 inmates were reconciled with their complainants.
But you can help us to do so much more!