Letter from the rip

This private letter is from a man who has led an exemplary life, but when accused of historical sexual molestation by a vengeful woman, then a youngster, years after the alleged events, he was tried and convicted, his life ruined. He maintains his innocence (the accuser’s mother believes & supports him) and a lawyer has prepared pro bono a 70 page analysis of his case that shows how the system wrongly convicted him. He has given me permission to publish the letter.

Dear Andrew, Firstly I thank you once again for trying to help me have some faith, in spite of all the apparently insurmountable problems one has in this country, in the pursuit of justice.

I’ve spent a great deal of my life trying to help others. Of that I’m proud, although sometimes my wife has called me a sucker for trying to give to people who may not deserve my benevolence. Don’t you know you’re being used? she’d often say. Perhaps I did know, but somehow I’ve always believed it was possible to win peoples hearts by showing them a little of my soul.

I do not profess that I am a perfect human being, far from it, but I do profess that my intentions, in my eyes at least, are mostly without malice.

What’s happened to me has made me damaged goods, I’m afraid. I have lost my voice in this country, due to a series of lies which ruined a big part of my life and smashed my reputation and good name.

I have learnt that some people, both women and men, are capable of using false allegations of sexual misconduct against innocent men and women, as a weapon of revenge and hate.

It is also clear to me that our society, our police, and our justice system, have made a verdict before evidence is considered and, even where evidence is inconsistent and implausible, their position remains the same.

I told you that I heard Andrew Bolt say “there is only one thing as bad as child sexual abuse, and that is a false allegation of child sexual abuse.“ It is the cruellest cut of all.

In long Bay I was asked to read the trial transcript of two men. Both were convicted on child sexual abuse. No evidence !!!!!! – but tendency and coincidence used in both cases. A friend of one complainant said the accused made her uncomfortable and that he leered at her in a sexual way. She kept going to this person’s house ! Did he ever touch you, asked the defence. No, she said, but I knew he would given the opportunity. The jury convicted him! He was one of the men who hugged me the day I went home. I shed a tear for him that day.

In spite of four women caught lying in the Brett Kavanaugh case in the US, and three of them admitting some degree of untruth, some people still think that Kavanaugh is guilty of something.

In the two successful allegations against me at trial, there is forensic evidence that both were not possible. That evidence was in the Police’s own brief to the DPP. So both Police and DPP went ahead with a prosecution in spite of full knowledge that the allegations as presented COULD NOT be true. My representation failed me miserably, but it does not excuse this ‘win at any cost’ culture exhibited by Police and Prosecutors.

Justice is supposed to be blind, not the people who administer it.

In 1997 we had the Thredbo disaster. As you know, I closed my business for over a week to try and help the SES with their rescue efforts and then their recovery efforts. I was over the moon that Stuart Diver came out alive.

I did not make my efforts public, but somehow it was reported in the newspapers and I received an award from Bob Carr, the then premier of NSW.

In 1978 I entered the surf on the NSW south coast as my niece and my two step daughters had floated out to sea on a rubber dinghy and were in danger of drowning should it capsize . I swam out and pushed the dinghy across the current to a point at which it was less likely to be hit by waves, and the girls reached the safety of the beach. There was a strong rip, and my efforts had left me in the rip, and quite exhausted. A couple of times I thought I may not make it back to shore.

In about 1990 several families we knew were on the beach at Hawkes Nest, having a nice time, when I noticed that a teenager again was caught in a rip and had called out that he was in trouble. I entered the water to swim out to him ASAP. This was like being in a kitchen sink after someone had pulled the plug. It was a circular current. Impossible for him to swim out of even though he was only 30 meters from shore. I managed to pull him towards the perimeter of the current and threw him, as hard as I could towards the beach . Then I realised just how hard the current was to combat. I finally was able to make it to shore.

Everyone was still chatting and enjoying a beer. No-one even acknowledged the near tragedy. This young man turned up to provide a statement as to what I’d done, and that without me, he would not have lived to tell the story.

My first marriage was a disaster. In 1975, I married a woman with two kids. The kids were great and treated me like a real father in spite of their biological father still being around. I sent them both to private schools and included them in my family at every opportunity.

willingness to lie

One would later repay me by turning up to court to do me damage. Her statement to Police told me the reason for her anger and her willingness to lie: to help my accuser.

After divorcing her mother and giving her ALL the proceeds of the family home, the two girls stopped coming to see me on weekends. It was because I had stopped paying for their school fees. They did not know of the deal done, giving their mother all my share of the house so the girls would be taken care of. Their mother told them a completely different story, to protect herself of course. She had had two affairs just before our split. I did not tell the girls of course.

I have now been fighting to find a way to clear my name for nine years and although there is a petition full of evidence exonerating me, the wonderful NSW justice system refuses to review that evidence.

As it was submitted though, they have actually seen it and know the injustice done to me, and still they refuse. NSW justice wants to bury its mistakes, not fix them! This is an evil culture, perpetrated by corrupt Police investigation, and of course, DPP complicity. In every state in Australia there have been cases of convictions being overturned with evidence which was available at the time of the trial. Hundreds of years of jail time are being served by people, because our legal system is more intent on maintaining bad decisions, than righting the wrong of convicting an innocent.

The greatest disappointment I have is that I know that people know that I’ve done nothing wrong, but will not stand up for me because the nature of the offence might cause them to be criticised. I have had over 35 couples, our supposed friends, either walk away from us altogether or refuse to openly support an innocent man. Won’t anyone swim into the rip for me?


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10 Responses to Letter from the rip

  1. Jerry Fitzsimmons says:

    Unperturbed or not Andrew that is why it is so important to have such a platform as this.
    While any such individual may act or be perceived as being ‘unperturbed’, deep down they are human, they would be fully aware that their cover could at any time be exposed. For that reason I refer to a well known statement by Sir Edmund Burke, a very conservative statesman and an acknowledged champion of liberty, who famously said, “ All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing” but for contemporary purposes I will add “and women” to this prophetic statement.
    Moral of this is, don’t blow the respect you have previously worked hard to earn, otherwise you may get a mention in “Wrongful Convictions”.

  2. Mooije Gobel says:

    Regarding the Thredbo avalanche disaster,
    Are you that pilot who actually flew the SES on those revue missions. That pilot and SES crew took off from Essendon airport every day I believe
    I used to watch you fly out from Essendon because I was actively flying out of Essendon at the same time.
    One morning as you were about to taxi, my beautiful partner was with me and I told him that you were flying the rescue missions to Thredbo and return.
    Mooije Gobel

  3. Chris Brook says:

    People continue to think we have a good justice system, because there are so few miscarriages of justice. The Lindy Chamberlain case gets treated like an anomoly and/or a wake up call, as though we learned a lesson. But the reality is that there are very few *admitted* miscarriages of justice. Our system just does not have a system for finding them and admitting to them.

    • Jerry Fitzsimmons says:

      Andrew, on a slightly different note, when victims, witness’s and reputable investigative journalists have all come forward and ‘the system’ appears to be selective in who should receive ‘justice’, where does this leave us?
      In these times of a COVID 19 and the availability of a reason to hinder justice from being done, worse still, from even being seen to be done, it is no wonder that many are growing disenchanted with those in power appointed positions.
      Example being; Sue Neil-Fraser is not one of those one would say is or has been in a position of power, Derek Bromley one would say, has ever been in a position of power and I could go on.
      One Cardinal George Pell one would say was in a position of power and yes, during the COVID 19 pandemic had his appeal heard and now we learn he is leaving Australia to enter Italy with the wave of infections of Covid19 on the rise in Europe, we are informed.
      The majority of us want to believe and yes, do the right thing to support ‘the usually faceless system’ so is it any wonder that the morality of those in power is under so much questioning.
      The recent showing of “Lindy Chamberlain, the True Story” is a disgraceful legacy of immorality,
      It demonstrated how ‘appointed’ high profile leaders that we should all be respecting in a democracy, simply lost their moral compass.
      Are we simply being asked to accept their indifference to the meaning of leadership and be a part of their legacy of complicity to be shown on TV’s in years to come?

      • andrew says:

        These are big questions and substantial issues you raise. One problem in the justice system is that it is self-monitoring and little can be done to impose restorative action on it; eg Tasmania and Sue Neill-Fraser. The legal system is resistant to change or reform, and there are too many examples of not just wrongful convictions but just plain wrong doing that the system doesn’t address. For instance, I can think of two chief justices who I believe have made decisions in the past (not always as chief justices) which if scrutinised by a proper enquiry would be found at serious fault. They are unperturbed ….

        • Chris Brook says:

          One idea I have heard suggested is that the state should fund the prosecution and defense equally. In most cases, the prosecutor has enormous resources, such as essentially unlimited access to forensic “scientists” as well as investigators and lawyers… defendants that are less fortunate than George Pell have no hope. Large amounts of money is being spent anyway, it is just that it is directed in a lopsided manner. People deserve a fair fight for justice.

          • andrew says:

            On the face of it, that idea sounds well worth exploring in detail, not that I’m optimistic of its chances of being adopted. But there may be a formula that at least provides assistance to the accused/appelllant.

  4. Jillian says:

    Ex partners can be totally ruthless as are their stories to influence how our off spring view their mother or father. It does destroy family bonds and is totally wrong. Obviously, so many people don’t have a conscience. Maybe, we should be as rotten as some others. I chose to not bad mouth my boys father to my own detriment. They obviously believed what he said. I also know of a friend in WA who was convicted of sexually molesting his 2 girls. Of course none of this was reported until many years later. He was convicted and sentenced. However, the Judge did something which required a re trial and he was eventually free from Prison. Yes, it destroyed his wonderful profession. I dont understand how anyone can live with the lies they say. Such an obscene thing to do to innocent people. :-(

  5. Name Supplied says:

    Thanks for sharing this story. I am sure you are well aware that this is not an isolated case by any means. But what can be done? The Innocence Project at Griffith Uni will not look at cases where the “victim” and supposed perpetrator are known to each other. Even if we had a CCRC would these cases get looked at?

    Sadly the police and prosecution have been trained to ‘believe the victim’ and are investigated as such…leading to tunnel vision resulting in limited investigations and elimination of any evidence that may prove innocence.

    Defence lawyers have got to catch up with the believe the victim narrative. Presenting someone as an upstanding member of the community who was a good and responsible father/step father, is only turned against them to argue that if they are such a good person why would the ‘victim’ make it up.

    The stigma attached to these cases, and the fact they are subject to dealing with overzealous police officers whilst they have child sex offender register reporting requirements, prevent people from coming forward.

    Given the current narrative, basically wrongfully convicted child sex offenders know that unless the ‘victim’ comes forward and admits they lied, there is no way of clearing their name.

    My personal opinion is that these cases should not be dealt with in the criminal courts. The courts are not equipped to investigate the ‘family dynamics’ or ‘psychological issues’ that are in play in these type of cases.

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