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University of Limerick

Making A Murderer Attorney Dean Strang to Speak in UL

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Attorney Dean Strang, who defended Steven Avery for the 2005 murder of photographer, Teresa Halbach

Defence attorney Dean Strang, who was the co-counsel for Steven Avery, the central character in the Netflix documentary series Making a Murderer, is to attend an event at the University of Limerick tonight, Monday.
The Wisconsin-based lawyer will discuss the implications of the Steven Avery case and the documentary series that followed at the University Concert Hall at 8pm. The evening talk, which was organised by U.L Law Society, will be chaired by Professor Shane Kilcommins, who is the head of UL’s School of Law and will be followed by a question and answer session.
Mr Strang, along with Jerry Buting, represented Mr Avery after he was accused of the murder of photographer Teresa Halbach in 2005. The murder occurred against the backdrop of a civil case Mr Avery had initiated, having been wrongly convicted for sexual assault and attempted murder. He had served 18 years in prison before being exonerated in 2003.
The documentary series, Making a Murderer, in which Mr Strang also features, covers his 2007 trial and his subsequent conviction for the murder of Ms Halbach.
Clare masters student Eoin O’Riordan, who is one of the conference conveners, explained how the event came about and what is likely to be discussed.
“We saw he was going to be in Ireland and we got in touch and asked him would he like to come to UL and he kindly accepted our offer. He will be giving a talk that will look at the Making a Murderer series itself, his experiences on the front line dealing with it and, I suppose, how strongly he felt about the injustices that were occurring and what the documentary has perceived was happening, in terms of a lack of a fair trial and the perception of planting of evidence.
“He will be talking about the trial itself and then he will briefly be talking about the criminal justice system in America. When I say that, it isn’t in-depth, so if you are not interested in law, it’s not going to be boring. It will be interesting whether you are interested in the law or not,” he explained.
Eoin, who lives in Parteen and is studying for his Masters in Human Rights and Criminal Justice, said as someone who was a fan of the documentary, he is looking forward to hearing Mr Strang’s thoughts on it and the legal issues involved.
“I followed the series itself. As law students, the majority of us have seen the series so it will be interesting to get an insight into how it is edited. I’m not saying that it is a misrepresentation of what happened but obviously things are going to have to be cut down in the editing, so it will be interesting to get his overview of it, what his thinking about it is and then, with the recent updates that have occurred, what his views are on that. I’m studying human rights and criminal justice anyway and that’s where he is coming from in terms of the trial. He’s a good human rights lawyer essentially,” he said.
Professor Kilcommins said attracting Mr Strang “is an outstanding coup” and forms part of UL’s School of Law’s broader engagement with community.
“It is an excellent example of law in action. As well as promising to be an enjoyable and interesting evening for students and members of the public, this event offers excellent pedagogical outcomes for students, who will have the opportunity to listen to a practitioner and to tease out some compelling issues around the justice system,” Professor Kilcommins stated.
In chairing the event, he said he intends to ask questions on issues of policing, integrity in the criminal justice process, miscarriages of justice, the evidential process and the consequences of decision-making.
Eoin said the UL Law Society has high-profile guests every now and again but that it would be rare for them to attract a legal personality who would also appeal to the general public.

About Carol Byrne

Carol Byrne is a reporter at The Clare Champion newspaper reporting on news in the East Clare area and the arts. She also covers the courts in County Clare and has received four national awards for this coverage from the Law Society of Ireland. A Masters in journalism graduate of NUI Galway, she also holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Limerick in Music and Media Studies. She began her career interning at The Limerick Leader and Clare FM, before taking up a full time post at The Clare Champion in 2006.

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