Chris Dawson yesterday convicted of murdering his then wife Lyn, 40 years ago. Derek Bromley wrongfully convicted of murder almost 40 years ago – still in jail. Sue Neill-Fraser wrongfully convicted of murder 13 years ago – still in jail … Robert Xie wrongfully arrested for murder 13 years ago – still in jail. Robert Farquharson wrongfully convicted of murdering his three young sons 13 years ago – still in jail …. etc
That’s why some of us can’t help but look behind the outpouring of public cheering, the headlines, and the welcome, long delayed closure for the family of Lyn Dawson. And looking behind all that leads us to the forlorn realisation that our society is quick to celebrate catching the criminal but slow to demand justice for the wrongfully accused and convicted innocent.
Once convicted, the accused loses their ‘voice’, their rights and much of their access to family, friends and to properly help clear their name. Public attention is largely turned OFF. The entire legal system turns its back, making it virtually impossible to have the injustice corrected – certainly not quickly or with any sense of urgency.
We make these observations without in any way denigrating or minimising the Dawson verdict and all the work that led to it, especially by The Australian’s Hedley Thomas.
Note: Bromley, Neill-Fraser, Xie and Farquharson are examples of those still considered properly found guilty by the legal system but who we regard as wrongfully convicted after careful consideration of all the evidence – and the benefit of legal advice not available to a jury.
These are just some of the people who maintained that they had been wrongly convicted and were eventually vindicated.
Douglas Harry Rendell
Colin Ross (hanged)
‘Kipper Billy’ (1861)
Source: Dr Bob Moles, Flinders University