Alumnus of the Year 2009: Stephen Jakobi (1956)

The winner of the 2009 Alumnus of the Year Award is Stephen Jakobi (1956), founder of Fair Trials International and a tireless campaigner against miscarriages of justice around the world.

In 1992 there was public outrage over the case of Karen Smith, a British citizen who was arrested in Thailand for drug smuggling. She was tried without proper legal representation or a chance to fully defend herself, and shortly after this Stephen set up his company under the name Fair Trials Abroad (FTA), successfully winning a pardon for Ms Smith.

Much of the company's work forcuses on finding people who may have commited a crime under a foreign jurisdiction and face a trial in which they are to be denied a proper defence. In these caes FTA secures proper legal representation for them, often with great results. One of the best examples is from 2002, when a group of British and Dutch plane spotters were convicted of espionage in Greece! Thankfully, the convictions were subsequently dropped.