On 22nd November 2016, a book will be published in the Netherlands (sadly, in Dutch) which aims to answer the question: How many people in the Netherlands are wrongly convicted? (amazon page here).
Some news coverage (in English) relating to the book release (Read here… and here… ) have declared that one in nine convicted people in the Netherlands may be victims of miscarriages of justice. That figure, the author suggests, may be even higher in countries like Norway but he estimates that in most countries, the wrongful conviction rate will be between 4 and 11 percent.
The author, Ton Derksen, is emeritus professor of philosophy of science and has spent his career looking at questions of ‘truth’ and ‘evidence’ and how people interpret evidence and statistics. He famously became involved in a notorious Dutch case of a nurse, Lucia de Berk, convicted of the multiple murders of patients, purely on statistical evidence. She was later released after his book was published concerning her case. He has subsequently written on lots of other cases where he examines the operation of the burden of proof.
His latest book is based upon new research among prisoners and forensic experts. He comes to some shocking conclusions. While Derksen’s work clearly focuses upon the Netherlands, it appears his research could have widespread application internationally, particularly his work on the nature of ‘truth’ and criminal investigations and trials. One has to hope that his work will be translated into English for the mono-linguists among us.