Tuesday 26 November 2013

Jim Kozmik to speak at the Great White Shark Night!!!!


I recently spoke on the phone from Switzerland with Canadian free-diving champion William Winram. We talked about how he helps scientists studying sharks by sticking tracking devices into the fins of Great White Sharks. He does it by free-diving - no scuba tanks, no chain mail suits, no cages and no defence weapons used - with these massive dangerous fish.

While he and his free-diving friends swam with the Great White Sharks, he managed to capture many of the underwater encounters on video. He used an inexpensive Go Pro camera to create a YouTube movie about people who swim without protection to tag Great White Sharks in the waters off Mexico's western coast. That video caused such a stir amongst the dive community that an American IMAX film crew, who had just wrapped up filming a new 3-D movie about Great White Sharks, travelled to a dive show in England to meet Winram and to look at this footage.

So impressed were the movie makers that they decided to restart filming using Winram and two fellow free-divers as the stars! The results speak for themselves. The new Imax Great White Shark movie is playing in Imax theatres across North America. It is currently showing in Toronto at the Ontario Science Centre.

Next Saturday night December 7th, the Science Centre is holding a benefit night screening for the Ontario Science Centre! Along with the new movie, my friend and underwater videographer Jim Kozmik and TV show producer Danny Mauro will screen a show they shot with Great White sharks in the same waters that Winram swam in!

Join me, Jimmy, Danny and the OUC for an Evening with Sharks on December 7th, 2013! Sure to be a fun-filled evening with guest speakers, raffles, great giveaways, refreshments and more. You might even win a Blackbeard's cruise or a Cayman Islands holiday! Book today at https://secure.e-registernow.com/cgi-bin/mkpayment.cgi?state=697

Tuesday 19 November 2013

Interview opportunties dealing with the wrongly convicted and the West Memphis 3

The Association in Defence of the Wrongly Convicted
What: The Association in Defence of the Wrongly Convicted (AIDWYC) will be hosting “BACK to the FUTURE” a day-long educational conference, gala dinner and an evening of festivities in recognition of its 20th Anniversary. It is intended to be a celebration of all that has been accomplished. It is also an event whose purpose is to raise awareness and much needed funds to support the work on cases.
When: Saturday, November 23, 2013
Time:  Conference 8.30 am to 5.30 pm. Gala: 7pm-to-midnight
Where:  Hyatt Regency, 370 King St W. Toronto, ON M5V 1J9
Tickets: Conference and/or Gala tickets available from AIDWYC ( www.aidwyc.org )
WhoJason Baldwin (West Memphis Three) is the Keynote Speaker at AIDWYC’s Gala Dinner. He will be introduced by film director Atom Egoyan (his new non-fiction film, Devil"s Knot, examines the West Memphis Three murder and subsequent trial). Mr Baldwin will be in Toronto early and is available for a limited number of interviews. He joins a long list of wrongly convicted Canadians and Americans who will be in Toronto to participate in this milestone event.
AIDWYC Co-President, lawyer Ralph Steinberg is available for interviews, as are lawyer and AIDWYC founder James Lockyer and AIDWYC board member Ron Dalton, ( who himself is a wrongly convicted Canadian who spent 9 years in prison for a non-murder).
Also speaking and available for interviews (prior arrangement requested) are New York lawyers and co-founder’s of the Innocence Project Barry Scheck and Peter Neufeld, the godfather of innocence work and founder of Centurion MinistriesJames McCloskey,  co-host of the Fifth Estate, Linden MacIntyre, Special advisor to the Commissioner of the Elliot Lake Inquiry and former Special Advisor on wrongful convictions to the Department of Justice, Stephen Bindman, retired Kingston, Ontario Chief of Police, William ClossJudge Anne Derrick, QC of the Provincial and Family Court of Nova Scotia, Professor Tim Moore from the Department  of Psychology at Glendon College, who is a consultant and expert witness in criminal trials both in Canada and the United States, Justice Murray Sinclair, Chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.
WHAT: Leading experts in their fields  who will be taking part in seminars covering topics that include: History of Innocence Work, Shaken Baby Syndrome, the Role of the Crown in Preventing Wrongful Convictions, the Role of Bias in the System, False Confessions/Plea Bargains, the relationship between Forensic Science and Miscarriages of Justice and the Long Way Home – the wrongly convicted and their families share their stories. 
SUPPORT MATERIAL:  Sammy Ray Welch has recently produced and directed a 6-minute video about the organization and it can be viewed at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TGD2PA2HLLQ (Preview) (Preview) This video is available for free use by the media.
Toronto lawyer and retired Toronto Star investigative reporter Harold Levy has written about AIDWYC and the wrongly convicted over the past two decades. He also writes an award-winning blog about exoneration cases involving disgraced Ontario coroner Charles Smith.
 In preparation for the November 23 conference Levy has worked with videographer George Socka to interview four people about the plight of the wrongly convicted in Canada and the United States. Over the course of two weeks they interviewed Rob Baltovich, John Artis, Ralph Steinberg and Sean MacDonald. These videos are available for free use by the media:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TTPeARoq8a0&feature=youtu.be
 The Association in Defence of the Wrongly Convicted is a national, non-profit, charitable organization dedicated to identifying, advocating for, and exonerating individuals convicted of a crime that they did not commit and to preventing such injustices in the future through education and reform.
The media is invited to cover the conference and the  gala - please contact Stephen Weir for press passes and to arrange interviews. The public is welcome to attend “Back to the Future”.  Tickets can be purchased through AIDWYC’s website http://www.aidwyc.org
CONTACT:  Stephen Weir at 416-801-3101 or 416-489-5868. stephen@stephenweir.com.

Tuesday 12 November 2013

AIDWYC Frees Another Wrongly Convicted - Hays to get new trail

New Forensic Evidence Leads SCC to Send
Leighton Hay’s Murder Conviction Back to Trial

Toronto, Canada – The Association in Defence of the Wrongly Convicted (AIDWYC) is pleased to announce that the Supreme Court of Canada has today ordered that Leighton Hay’s 2004 first degree murder conviction in Toronto must be quashed and sent back for a new trial. For 12 years Mr. Hay and AIDWYC have been fighting to clear his name and the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision is an important step towards establishing his innocence. 
In the early morning of July 6, 2002, two men shot and killed Collin Moore in a Toronto nightclub. The men also shot at Collin’s brother, Roger Moore, who escaped with a graze to his forehead.
The Crown alleged that Mr. Hay was one of the two gunmen and the gunman who was supposed to be Mr. Hay was described by an eyewitness as having 2-inch dreadlocks.  However, when arrested hours after the shooting, Mr. Hay had a very short haircut causing the prosecution to allege that he must have cut his hair after the shooting.  The prosecutor produced hairs found by police wrapped in a newspaper from the bathroom in the home where he was arrested as proof of the haircut.
At Mr. Hay’s appeal in the Supreme Court of Canada on April 23, 2013, AIDWYC presented new evidence that undermined the Crown’s eyewitness identification evidence of Mr. Hay. The new evidence establishes that the hairs seized from the home by the police came from Mr. Hay’s beard and were not from a haircut.
Erroneous eyewitness identification is a well-known cause of wrongful convictions in Canada and in other countries. According to the U.S. Innocence Project, eyewitness misidentification is the single greatest cause of wrongful convictions in that country, playing a role in nearly 75% of convictions overturned as a result of their post-conviction DNA results.
James Lockyer, AIDWYC’s lead counsel who argued the case in the Supreme Court of Canada for Mr. Hay said today,
“It is a good day for Mr. Hay and a good day for justice in Canada. Mr. Hay is a vulnerable member of our society and is in many ways a ready victim for a wrongful conviction.  AIDWYC adopted his case three years ago and we feel vindicated by this decision. We will be there for Mr. Hay at his new trial.”

AIDWYC is a non-profit organization dedicated to identifying, advocating for, and clearing the names of individuals convicted of crimes they did not commit and working to prevent future wrongful convictions through education. This year, AIDWYC is celebrating its 20th Anniversary. On November 23, 2013, an educational conference and celebratory gala will be held in Toronto. Both events are open to the public and everyone is encouraged to attend. Visit AIDWYC’s website to learn more and donate: www.aidwyc.org.

For more information, contact:
James Lockyer, 416-847-2560
Win Wahrer, 416-504-7500