Forensic evidence under the microscope – looks sick

Andrew L. Urban.

Within a single week in October this year (2019), the quality of forensic evidence tendered in criminal trials across Australia came under the microscope of public attention – and was found to be infected with the disease of unreliability.  Continue reading

Posted in General articles | 1 Comment

Pell appeal judges reversed onus of proof

In seeking leave to appeal to the High Court, George Pell’s lawyers argue that the approach taken by the majority judges at his appeal ­required Pell to “establish actual innocence”, rather than “merely pointing to doubt”, which was a reversal of the onus and standard of proof, adding, “Rigid application of the onus and stand­ard of proof in 21st-century sexual assault trials in Australia is of particula­r importance.” Continue reading

Posted in Case 07 George Pell | 4 Comments

Steve Fennell not a murderer – jury got it wrong

Andrew L. Urban.

The High Court in Canberra adjourned for just four minutes before resuming at 2.45pm on Wednesday, September 11, 2019, with a unanimous decision that Steven Fennell’s appeal against his murder conviction should be allowed. A verdict of acquittal was entered. “I was in my cell about to eat my yoghurt when prison officers came to the door and said, `you’re going’,” he told The Courier-Mail. Continue reading

Posted in Case 10 Steven Fennell | 1 Comment

Is there evidentiary basis for shaken baby syndrome? The conviction of Joby Rowe

Chris Brook.

Joby Rowe’s 2018 conviction for child homicide was based solely on forensic evidence that openly and overtly lacked any scientific basis, with expert opinions based instead on confession studies. This case raises fundamental questions for forensic science in Australia, primarily: should forensic evidence be scientific? Or should it appeal to authority? Continue reading

Posted in Case 09 Joby Rowe | 3 Comments

Sarah Ward – the dead of night

It happened around 4am on June 7, 2008. Sarah Ward had been drinking and smoking dope. She took a friend’s car and went out for cigarettes with another friend. The young musicians they came across that dark night in Christie Lane, St Leonards, Sydney, had also been drinking. The altercation that ensued left one of the young men dead and Ward convicted of his murder. A man and his sister have a history with the dead man and believe this is a wrongful conviction. They tell a story which challenges the one that convicted her. Anthony Nikolich & Helen Keys put the case for Sarah Ward. Continue reading

Posted in Case 08 Sarah May Ward | 3 Comments

Qld & Vic prosecutors set example for Tas prosecutor

Dr Bob Moles & Andrew L. Urban. 

It was made clear last night on the SBS program Insight – Wrongfully Convicted Part 2 (September 3, 2019), that the prosecutor in the Queensland case of Frank Button recognised that a significant error had occurred in relation to the DNA evidence in the case. As a consequence, the prosecutor ensured that the case was before the Court of Appeal within 24 hours. Continue reading

Posted in Case 01 Sue Neill-Fraser | 18 Comments

Sue Neill-Fraser appeal not before 2020

The Sue Neill-Fraser appeal will not be heard until next year (2020). Directions hearing at 4 pm today was before Wood J., Coates and Shapiro  for the Crown. Chris Carr for Sue Neill Fraser appeared from Melbourne via video. Her lawyers have until 28 October to get their appeal book index in (and appeal books shortly thereafter) and the DPP has until 20 December to consider it and get his material in. Extra time might be needed re Agreed Facts. Early iIndications are that the appeal may go for one to two weeks. Wood indicated that it appeared that the appeal would go ahead in early 2020. Her Honour set the matter down for a directions hearing to check progress for 4 pm on 12 November 2019.

Posted in Case 01 Sue Neill-Fraser | 15 Comments

Sue Neill-Fraser news overlooked at Hobart Mercury?

Andrew L. Urban.

 “A Hobart lawyer charged with two counts of perverting justice in relation to Susan Neill-Fraser’s appeal bid may not face trial,” Emily Jarvie of Launceston based The Examiner reported on August 22, 2019, but Hobart’s Mercury did not cover this story, in what is perhaps Hobart’s most contentious topic, the Sue Neill-Fraser case. Continue reading

Posted in Case 01 Sue Neill-Fraser | 11 Comments

Wrongfully Convicted – on SBS TV … and from a tavern

Wrongfully Convicted – the SBS Insight program over 2 episodes – August 27 & September 3, 2019 – discusses the Australian cases of Henry Keogh, John Button, Frank Button and the US cases of Debra Milke (spent over 20 years on death row) and Greg Bright (spent over 27 years in one of the toughest prisons in the US). All had convictions overturned having established that the evidence against them was false and misleading. Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Pell Appeal – Weinberg J & other dissenting voices

Andrew L. Urban.

George Pell’s appeal against the conviction of child sexual abuse was dismissed by two of the three judges in the Victorian Supreme Court on August 21, 2019. It is a majority decision with which dissenting Justice Weinberg finds it impossible to agree. Others do, too. Continue reading

Posted in Case 07 George Pell | 4 Comments