Andrew L. Urban.
In a short, sharp announcement in the Banco Court by NSW Chief Justice Bathurst, Robert Xie’s appeal (on eight grounds) was rejected this morning (15/2/2021), dealing a devastating blow to Xie’s tearful wife Kathy Lin, seated opposite the bench, and of course to Robert himself, appearing via videolink.
The judgement will be published later, and indications are that it will be closely scrutinised by Xie’s legal team to determine if they will seek leave to appeal to the High Court. (A GoFundMe campaign has been suggested by a couple of supporters to help enable such an appeal.)
A large media contingent greeted Kathy Lin on leaving the Supreme Court but she made no comment, escorted by friends and supporters towards the St James train station on her way back home in Epping.
At the end of the fourth trial (with new defence team), on Thursday, February 13, 2017, Justice Fullerton sentenced Lian Bin (Robert) Xie to life imprisonment without parole for the brutal, savage murder of five members of his wife Kathy’s family, in their North Epping home on July 18, 2009. Hearing the sentence, Xie rose to his feet and called out: “I did not murder the Lin family, I am innocent.” His wife Kathy, weeping, echoed his claim of innocence and has never wavered in her support.
APPEAL GROUNDS SUMMARY
Ground 1: Error by Johnson J in admitting the evidence of Dr Perlin (at committal)
Ground 2: Error by Fullerton J in disallowing voir dire, and in admitting the evidence
Ground 3: Miscarriage of justice caused by the evidence of Dr Perlin
Ground 4: Error in warning regarding the ‘CSI Effect’
Ground 5: Miscarriage of justice from directions on consciousness of guilt
Ground 6: Miscarriage of justice from directions about alibi
Ground 7: Error in admission of coincidence evidence in massage device
Ground 8: Miscarriage of justice caused by conduct of counsel
Chief Justice of NSW Tom Bathurst QC along with Justices Hulme and Beech-Jones as the judges on the appeal, will not escape criticism for their joint error in rejecting Xie’s appeal.
There was no direct evidence that Robert Xie viciously murdered five members of his wife’s family in 2009, nor any credible circumstantial evidence. The Crown case was a construct of the prosecution. These experienced judges ought to have seen through that, given the eight grounds on which they could base granting the appeal.
In the absence of any durable evidence that pointed to Robert Xie, the prosecution made much of a DNA sample (‘stain 91’) taken from the Xie family home garage floor – 300 metres from the crime scene. The forensic evidence about the DNA – the prosecution’s ‘smoking gun’ – is profoundly unreliable.
The problematic, nay, irrelevant, DNA ‘evidence’, taken together with Xie’s unshaken alibi (in bed with his wife) should have required the jury, acting rationally, to have entertained a reasonable doubt as to Xie’s guilt, and should have also alerted the appeal judges that the conviction was unsafe when considering grounds 1 – 3.