One night, while Collins was working as a security guard at a gas station, a van that was allegedly parked outside was stolen. Although there was no evidence that Collins was involved, or that the van was parked there that night, police were under pressure to make an arrest and Collins was the unfortunate victim.
When Collins was arrested, his youngest daughter was three months old. Without the ability to afford a lawyer, his trial progressed while false testimonies by his accusers went unchallenged. Nobody would defend Collins against the police.
A year into the trial an IJM lawyer learned Collins’ story during a prison visit, and we took on his case.
Even so, Collins continued to suffer in prison, sleeping on the floor with no mattress, surviving on little food, and watching other prisoners die from lack of medical care. He shudders when he remembers what it was like.
After years of waiting, pain and roadblocks in the legal process, a verdict was finally delivered. Collins was declared not guilty. He doubled over, letting the verdict sink in. Years of stress and fear began to leave his body and a huge smile broke across his face.
He was free. Free to return to his wife and children. Free to start a business. Free from the fear of brutality and corruption.