Australia: Melbourne boxer 'wrongly convicted' of murder fights to clear his name - PressFrom - Australia
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AustraliaMelbourne boxer 'wrongly convicted' of murder fights to clear his name

21:05  19 may  2019
21:05  19 may  2019 Source:   theage.com.au

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As Khalid Baker punches with fierce intensity in a Dandenong boxing gym, rapper Eminem's lyrics echo around the room: "You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow; this opportunity comes once in a lifetime."

Having spent 13 years behind bars for a murder he insists he didn't commit, 31-year-old Baker has no intention of missing his chance now.

At 18, Baker had the world at his feet. A welterweight, he had won Victorian and Australian boxing titles, and had been accepted into the Commonwealth Games team.

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But all that changed in November 2005 when Baker and a group of friends went to a party at a warehouse in Brunswick.

Fights broke out and Baker and his friends were at the centre of it.

In the melee a young man, Albert Snowball, was pushed from a window on the first floor of the warehouse, and crashed to the ground below. He died in hospital days later.

Baker has long maintained his innocence. His friend, only known as LM - he was 17 at the time of the crime and cannot be named - told police it was he who pushed Mr Snowball, near the window.

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He was convicted of the murder of a police officer during an attempted robbery, despite the At the age of 22, he was wrongly convicted of the murder of a nine-year-old girl; she had been sexually Following his execution, efforts were made to clear his name , and in the 1990s old evidence was

He was finally able to clear his name Tuesday, when a judge formally exonerated him after 27 years. He's 41 now. He wept as he hugged his attorneys in He approached the judge and held both of her hands and rested his head on the bench. "It has been 27 years, I've been fighting for my life and I've

While he takes responsibility for Mr Snowball's death, LM told police - and has maintained since - he did not mean for the young man to die.

Because Baker was 18, he was tried for Mr Snowball's murder in the adult justice system. LM, who was months away from turning 18, was tried as a minor. But because LM's admissions were not made in court, the judge overseeing Baker's trial ruled they were inadmissable in Baker's hearing.

LM was acquitted of murder. Baker was convicted and sentenced to 17 years' jail, to serve a minimum 12 years' in prison.

"We were all kids, it was a big shock,” Baker told The Age. “I thought the system would sort it out. He [LM] said what he said and I just thought ... I thought the truth would come out and I would go home."

For years, as he sat in a prison cell, Baker raged.

"I was upset at the justice system. I was upset at everything ... You've got a guy who's admitting to it, and he's going home, and you've got me and I didn't do it," he said.

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A man who was wrongly convicted for the murder of an off-duty correction officer in Brooklyn finally has his good name “It has been 27 years, I’ve been fighting for my life and I’ve been fighting for my innocence,” Bunn said in tears, holding Brooklyn Supreme Court judge Shawn’Dya Simpson’s hands.

This is a list of miscarriage of justice cases. This list includes cases where a convicted individual was later cleared of the crime and either has received an official exoneration

In time, he let go of his anger: "Yes, my freedom was taken, but my life wasn't taken. I was still breathing. So I had to get past that."

In 2010, the Victorian Court of Appeal rejected Baker's application to appeal his conviction. The High Court granted him leave to appeal his conviction in 2011, but dismissed that appeal in 2012.

Now, RMIT University's Bridge of Hope Innocence Initiative, which campaigns to clear the names of people it believes have been wrongly convicted of crimes, has taken up Baker's case.

It has appealed to Victorian Attorney General Jill Hennessy for judicial mercy, asking her to refer the case to the Court of Appeal, "with a view to an acquittal".

Director Michele Ruyters said she believed Baker had "an exceptional case for an acquittal".

Released on parole in September, Baker has already won two fights. His next fight is for the Victorian title. But as convicted murderer, and a parolee, he wears an ankle bracelet and cannot travel interstate or overseas to compete.

He is philosophical about the time he served, but he doesn't want to wait too long for his last chance.

"I want to be the best. I've lost too much time already. I don't want to sit on my arse," he said.

"Albert Snowball's family are victims, they've lost a son. My family are victims too; I'm a victim - I lost 13 years. I just believe they should know the truth of what happened."

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