On 21st July 2008, 21-year-old Somali, Farah Jama was sentenced to six years behind bars for the rape of a middle-aged woman as she lay unconscious in a Melbourne nightclub.
Throughout the trial Jama had maintained his innocence against the accusations he committed such a predatory, heinous crime.
But the Prosecution had one ‘rock solid’ piece of evidence that nailed the accused-his DNA.
Nearly 18 months after Jama’s incarceration, his conviction was overturned when a mother’s profound faith in her son’s innocence, a prosecutor’s tenacious pursuit of truth and justice and a defence lawyer’s belief in his client, brought forth revelations that overturned one of the worst miscarriages of justice in Victorian legal history.
When journalist and lawyer, Julie Szego, set out to explore how a travesty of such magnitude could occur, she assumed she could tell the tale with journalistic detachment, delivering judgment from on high.
Instead, she found an intriguing and confronting story about the heartache of migration and the trials of integration, cultural taboos and gender wars, and the unseen prejudice that casts its spell over even the most enlightened minds. Farah Jama’s story made her question the wisdom of relying exclusively on DNA evidence as proof of guilt, and it challenged her long-held belief that the justice system was vacuum-sealed in reason.