Top Hillsborough lawyer joins Centre as new Managing Director

A solicitor who represented the Hillsborough families is now turning her efforts to overturning wrongful convictions as our new Managing Director here at the Centre for Criminal Appeals.

Suzanne Gower, who has spent the last three years as Senior Case Officer on the legal team that represented 22 families of the Hillsborough Disaster during the historic inquests which found the 96 victims had been unlawfully killed, begins her new role this week.

A skilled and experienced criminal defence solicitor who also has experience investigating death penalty cases in the US, Ms Gower aims to bring the intensity of focus deployed by the lawyers and investigators in the Hillsborough case to the Centre’s miscarriage of justice work.

Ms Gower replaces Sophie Walker, who has been the Centre’s director since February 2014 and is leaving next month to start a pupillage at 1 Pump Court Chambers. Since joining the Centre, Ms Walker has overseen its establishment as both a charity and a legal aid law practice, and filed applications to the Criminal Cases Review Commission on behalf of several wrongly convicted prisoners.

"I am really excited to be starting work in an organisation so committed to fighting for justice for those who should never have been sent to prison in the first place," Ms Gower said.

"As it was a scandal that the Hillsborough families had to wait so long for justice, so we should be outraged that our current legal system leaves people who have been wrongfully convicted waiting years for the courts to correct their mistakes.

"I plan to build on Sophie’s achievements and ensure the Centre acts as a mechanism for achieving much needed improvements in how we hold our police and courts accountable."

Outgoing director Sophie Walker commented: "Suzanne’s wealth of experience tenaciously advocating for justice on behalf of her clients – from the Hillsborough families to those facing execution in the States – means she is ideally suited for this role.

"Sustained underfunding of our justice system means that talented lawyers like her are needed more than ever to ensure our courts are handing down accurate verdicts."