Miscarriages of Justice

04 July 2017
Sue Neill Fraser in her 7th year in prison

Sue Neill-Fraser is now in her 7th year in Risdon Prison at Lindisfarne in Tasmania. She was charged with the murder of Bob Chappell and found guilty by a jury, but has always maintained her innocence. She lost her appeal, and she also lost the right to take her case to the High Court. But her legal team has taken advantage of Tasmania's 2015 adoption of the new 'right-of-appeal' legislation which allows a further appeal if 'new and compelling evidence' can be demonstrated involving a significant miscarriage of justice read more...


04 July 2017
Brett Peter Cowan found guilty of the Morcombe murder

Brett Peter Cowan had been suspected of abducting and killing Daniel Morcombe in 2003, from early on in the police investigation, but police at that time lacked the evidence to convict him. So police devised a 'sting' read more...


28 June 2017
Channel 7 Murder Uncovered program reviews the case of Graham Stafford

Graham Stafford served 14 years for the 1991 murder of Leanne Holland, before his conviction was quashed and he was released. Channel 7 program that night aired evidence from a police re-investigation, which had been withheld from the public for 5 years, and would likely have left many viewers convinced of Stafford’s guilt. read more...


26 June 2017
65th anniversary of the murder of Betty Shanks

The 65th anniversary of the murder of Betty Shanks is 19 September 2017. This date is significant because the police file on the murder is withheld from public access for 65 years. So one would expect the police file to be available later this year. Accordingly, on 16 May 2017, I emailed the Manager at PSBA.IMU@police.qld.gov.au read more...


26 June 2017
Prof Boettcher makes perjury complaint following failed appeal of Wayne Butler

Wayne Butler was convicted of the 1983 murder of Natasha Douty at Dingle Bay on Brampton Island. The year 1983 pre-dated DNA testing. Analysis showed the semen was from a person of group 'O' blood. However, in 1997, fourteen years later, scientists from the John Tonge Centre conducted a DNA test on a semen sample. On that basis, Butler was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment. Butler appealed in 2009 where Professor Barry Boettcher pointed out that if the semen from the towel came from a group "O" person, then it could not belong to Butler. Butler lost his appeal. In November 2016 Butler applied to the Governor for a pardon. When no action was taken on this application by April 2017, Professor Barry Boettcher made a complaint of perjury against the scientists. read more...


24 April 2017
Gene Gibson walks free after appeal court finds he was wrongly jailed for manslaughter

On 12 April 2017, Gene Gibson walked free, after wrongly serving some 5 years imprisonment for the killing of Josh Warneke near Broome, WA. Gibson is an illiterate Indigenous man who suffers from a mental impairment attributed to foetal alcohol syndrome. The Court of Appeal was unanimous in overturning his conviction, and confirmed that there had been a miscarriage of justice. The WA police commissioner conceded that there had been "a multi-faceted failure" in the justice system. Others have called for improved interpreter services and other practical reforms to safeguard defendants like Gene Gibson. The Police have now launched a new investigation in an attempt to find Warneke’s killer. more can be found here...


24 April 2017
Derek Bromley wins right to appeal

Derek Bromley was convicted of the murder of Stephen Docoza in 1984. After 33 years in jail he has now won the right to a second appeal, on the ground of having provided "new and compelling evidence". Bromley was convicted largely on the basis of questionable eye witness testimony and on the basis of increasingly controversial scientific evidence provided by South Australia’s then forensic pathologist, Dr Colin Manock. Both bases for his conviction have been brought into serious doubt by recent investigations. Dr Manock’s forensic evidence was also significant in the conviction of Henry Keogh, who was recently released after wrongfully serving some 21 years for a murder which it now seems never happened. It seems that the "victim" in the Keogh case died of natural causes, and in the Bromley case too there is now a strong suggestion that natural causes cannot be discounted as the cause of the "victim’s" death. more can be found here...


24 April 2017
Rodricus Crawford becomes the 158th death row exoneree in the USA

On April 17, 2017 the Death Penalty Information Centre announced that Rodricus Crawford became the 158th death row exoneree in the USA. Crawford was convicted in 2012 for murdering his one year old son. In this case too it seems the "murder" never happened, and that the baby died of natural causes, not suffocation. Caddo Parish, Louisiana, is one of the 2% of U.S. counties responsible for a majority of death-row inmates, and there are objections that the prosecutor in the Crawford case has displayed excessive zeal in seeking the death penalty. more can be found here...


24 April 2017
State and federal courts have put holds on the Arkansas plan to carry out an unprecedented eight executions in eleven days

The Death Penalty Information Centre (DPIC) also notes (17 April, 2017) that State and federal courts have put holds on the Arkansas plan to carry out an unprecedented eight executions in eleven days. Controversy focusses on the particular cocktail of drugs intended for use in lethal injections.

On a similar front the DPIC also notes (14 April, 2017) that there is mounting concern in Virginia that a man scheduled for execution on 25 April may be innocent. Diverse groups are calling for clemency for Ivan Teleguz on the ground that he was convicted on the basis of dubious testimony, including testimony from the confessed killer who had an incentive to lie about Teleguz’s involvement in order to escape the death penalty himself. more can be found here...


24 April 2017
Amnesty International 2016 Global Report on Death Sentences and Executions

Amnesty International’s 2016 Global Report on Death Sentences and Executions (11 April, 2017) reports that the number of executions carried out globally fell in 2016, albeit the number of freshly recorded death sentences rose. Across nine countries Amnesty recorded 60 exonerations of prisoners under sentence of death. None of these was in the USA, which fell from the list of top five executioners in 2016. more can be found here...


28 August 2013
Betty Shanks and Desche Birtles

61 years on, the Betty Shanks case has taken a very interesting turn. While many other murders are forgotten, the Betty Shanks murder seems to live on. Could little known Desche Birtles, who bore her father's child at the tender age of 15, hold the key to solving one of Queensland's most intriguing crimes? read more...


03 August 2013
Alan Leahy

More than 20 years on, the Supreme Court is once again looking into the case of Julie-Anne Leahy and Vicki Arnold. The result of the hearing will be followed with great interest. read more...


02 August 2013
David Harold Eastman

Retired ACT Supreme Court Judge Kevin Duggan is heading an inquiry into the case of David Harold Eastman, who has been in jail for the 1989 shooting of Australian Federal Police assistant commissioner Colin Winchester since 1995. read more...


01 August 2013
Sharon Phillips

This matter is back in the news again following claims by a former truck driver who recently contacted Ted Duhs following the publication of his book Crucial Errors in Murder Investigations. read more...


30 July 2013
Andrew Richard Fitzherbert

Despite the fact that Fitzherbert still maintains his innocence of the murder of Kathleen Marshall, he expects to be released on parole in the not too distant future. His legal team is presently endeavouring to show that the entomologist made a mistake in calculating the most likely time of death of Thursday night or Friday before 3 pm. They believe that if they can show this it may be possible to get his case back into court. read more...


29 July 2013
Brett Peter Cowan

Brett Peter Cowan stands accused of the murder of the then thirteen year old Daniel Morcombe. A pre-trial review has been set down for 6 November 2013. The trial itself will take place in 2014. read more...


06 December 2012
Ziggy Pohl

Johann Ernst Siegfried (Ziggy) Pohl was wrongly convicted of the 1973 murder of his wife, Kum Yee (Joyce) Pohl, and served ten years in prison before his release on licence in 1983. He had no criminal record and no motive to kill his wife. There was no evidence against him except the fact that he was present in their Queanbeyan flat at about the time of her murder read more...


21 November 2012
McLeod-Lindsay

Alexander McLeod-Lindsay was convicted of the brutal bashing and attempted murder of his wife and son, but was pardoned years later when it was subsequently accepted that ‘expert’ witnesses at his trial had failed to correctly interpret blood patterns found on his clothes, resulting in a miscarriage of justice read more...


15 November 2012
Edward Splatt

Late on Friday night 2 December 1977 Mrs Rosa Simper was assaulted and strangled in her bed by someone who had entered the house by removing a screen from a side window, before climbing over the window sill and entering her bedroom. Mrs Simper was 77 years old. Her daughter, who lived next door, discovered her mother’s body next morning sprawled across the blood-soaked bed. read more...


03 November 2012
John Button and Darryl Beamish

In both cases, police employed coercion and physical harassment to obtain signed confessions, and these confessions persuaded the respective juries at the trials to convict, based on the arguments presented to the courts by the prosecutions. Button was convicted of the 1963 hit-run murder of his seventeen year old girlfriend read more...


05 September 2012
Jayant Patel

Dr Patel, a surgeon at the Bundaberg Hospital in Queensland, was convicted in 2010 in the Supreme Court in Brisbane of the manslaughter of three of his patients and the grievous bodily harm of a fourth patient who survived surgery read more...