Estelle met fellow-crusaders in USA, Canada and the UK after winning a 2007 Churchill Fellowship to study the non law school-based models of organisations that work for the wrongfully-convicted.
In USA, she looked into the extra-curricular Northern Arizona Justice Project at the Northern Arizona University, the journalism-driven Innocence Institute of Western Pennsylvania at Point Park College in Pittsburgh, and in Toronto, community-based Innocence Canada (then called the Association in Defence of the Wrongfully Convicted).
In the UK, she went to Oldham, Manchester, to meet members of Innocent, a community-based group that gives support and advice to prisoners’ loved ones who do all the leg work, to Birmingham to meet with two investigators for the Criminal Cases Review Commission, the public body responsible for investigating alleged miscarriages of criminal justice in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and to Leeds for the 7th National Miscarriage of Justice Day.
See her report to the Churchill Trust, which offers Australians 100 Fellowships a year for the opportunity to go overseas for one to two months to explore a topic they are passionate about – to ‘learn globally and inspire locally’: https://www.churchilltrust.com.au/fellow/estelle-blackburn-wa-2007/
Estelle had previously met kindred spirits, attending the Innocents Behind Bars conference in Toronto, where she met Rubin (the Hurricane) Carter and two of the Toronto collective who worked so hard to gain his exoneration, Rory Gus Sinclair and Mary Newberry.
She met the Hurricane again in Melbourne, when she gave the lead up speech before him at a business conference, and again, with his co-accused John Artis, in Perth in 2011, when Rubin and Estelle both spoke at JUSTICEwa’s international justice conference organised by Paul Montani.
Other speakers at that conference included Barry Scheck, who with Peter Neufeld, began the innocence project movement in 1992, at the Benjamin N. Cardozo Law School at Yeshiva University in New York, Betty Anne Waters, who got a law degree and worked for 20 years to exonerate her brother Kenneth, David Bain, who spent 13 years in jail in NZ before efforts by Joe Karam gained his exoneration by UK’s Privy Council of murdering his parents and three siblings.
Estelle has also connected with members of the UK’s famous wrongfully convicted, Gerry Conlon of the Guildford 4 and Paddy Joe Hill of the Guildford 6, when they toured Australia.