Bromley still in the slow lane of justice

Andrew L. Urban

It’s been five years since the South Australian Court of Criminal Appeal refused Derek Bromley leave to appeal his 1984 murder conviction, which leads to his current application to The High Court – which has set aside May 17 & 18, 2023, just to hear argument seeking leave to appeal.

Bromley was convicted 39 years ago. His attempts to appeal his conviction have been marred by legal errors, according to Flinders University legal academics Dr Bob Moles and Bibi Sangha, the latest at the SA Appeal Court, perhaps the most egregious. “It is our view that the appeal court in Bromley has fundamentally failed to pay due regard to the rule of law and to the well-established principles governing criminal appeals. The appellate function is to review the conduct of the trial to determine if appealable error has occurred. If it has, the proper procedure is to set aside the conviction, and in appropriate cases, allow for a retrial. Not to conduct that retrial before the appeal court.” Moles and Sangha hope the High Court will see their point.

The High Court heard the initial seeking leave application on September 16, 2022, when it referred the application to the full Court – now hearing it on May 17 & 18 – eight months later. The previous hearing at the contested South Australian Court of Criminal Appeal was in June 2018 –almost five years before the upcoming hearing. If the High Court grants leave to appeal, there will be a further delay (some months) before Bromley’s argument to quash his conviction is heard at the High Court.

Moles says “This scandalous delay cannot be seen to be effective. This is especially so, as the Crown (DPP) knows that the evidence put forward at his trial by the key pathologist was not admissible because the pathologist was not qualified to do the work or to give evidence about it in court. Even all these years later, the DPP continues to misinform the High Court on this issue and the Attorney General refuses to exercise his statutory power to provide a direction to the DPP to comply with the relevant duty of disclosure. This is unprecedented.”

Bromley has been eligible for release since 2006 but has remained in prison because he consistently denies committing the crime. In early 2006 he presented a Petition to the Governor of South Australia for the circumstances of his conviction to be re-examined. The Petition stated that research into Dr Manock’s qualifications and the evidence which he had given at a number of trials between 1968 and 1995 has shown that his procedures and diagnoses had been unreliable.

They say justice delayed is justice denied; in this extreme case perhaps it is justice destroyed.

This entry was posted in Case 05 Derek Bromley. Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to Bromley still in the slow lane of justice

  1. Don Wakeling says:

    So, Mr Bromley continues to wait to hear from the High Court. Why would those Judges bother to hasten their judgement? What does it matter? After almost 40 FOURTY years, he can simply take some more!!

    • andrew says:

      Yes, one of the most egregious flaws in our legal system is the absence of any sense of urgency when faced with a possible miscarriage of justice. The appeal system is woefully inadequate.

      • Don Wakeling says:

        Is the High Court waiting for Bromley to die?

        • Don Wakeling says:

          Almost 6 months since High Court referred Mr Bromley’s Leave to Appeal to their more collective selves. If they can just continue to hang on to any deliberations at the moment they might to able to reach their Vacation period. This would give their appellant time to spend another Xmas in the prison.

          With the High Court’s relegation of Bromley; the continuation of the legal disgrace that is Blows C J of Tasmania and the legal face of shame that is the C J of South Australia, have the principles of justice in Australia been abandoned by our “leaders” ?

  2. tony brownlee says:

    The Case referred in the HC of A is to the Full Bench for hearing as an “Appeal”. Special Leave was not granted. This must be considered even though at first glance it may appear a setback, a break though as for the Court to hear the matter as an appeal opens the way for admission of evidence that may not otherwise be admitted. “Fingers crossed!”

    • Don Wakeling says:

      6 months later…your crossed fingers must be cramped tight by now Tony.

      • Don Wakeling says:

        A check of the High Court’s lists shows that it has been 2 years since the the application was lodged by Bromley. It is shown on the High Court current lists as the oldest outstanding matter . It’s been six months since they completed their hearing of the matter but still Bromley waits for his fate . Not so the immigration detainees! That Application was filed 7 months ago,but the Justices have managed to hear and determine that matter in that same 7/8 months !!
        The Justices treat Bromley as a non-event,: ” why give any urgency to a potentially innocent man who has spent almost 40 years in prison.”

  3. Countess Antonia Maria Violetta Scrivanich says:

    It is 39 years since this man was convicted based on the forensics of an unqualified ” expert “. He has lost his life in incarceration . It seems to me the authorities are hoping he will die in jail so SA does not pay him compensation and their careers and reputations remain protected. As an ex-South Australian I was personally well acquainted in the 1980s and 1990s with its corruption. Back then I used my married name. The person who assaulted me was extremely well connected which is why the DDP refused to charge him. The Police claimed the photographs of my injuries had never “existed”, but, I had a personal interview with Assistant Police Commissioner White of Forensics who ordered another search and I was given my photos taken by a police photographer. As the DDP refused to prosecute X , I personally conducted my own prosecution before Magistrate Harriss who ordered my assaillant to stand trial in the District Court of Port Augusta. The case was aborted immediately after the jury was empannelled by a meeting in camera between the lawyer representing the DDP, Defence counsel and the judge who was the father of a second lawyer whom my assaillant retained ! The judge announced to a mistified jury : “Ladies and gentlemen of the jury , the case is dismissed and you will not be given the reason why , and, there will be no appeal from this decision !”
    I do not know what happened afterwards to the career of honest Magistrate Harriss. It seems nothing has changed in the last 40 years —SA is as corrupt as ever !

  4. Julie says:

    If eligibility for release is dependent on Bromley admitting culpability, this is too weird.

  5. Don Wakeling says:

    There is no surprise that the AG has not so directed the DPP. Remember this is the same AG that refuses to order an Inquiry into the Keough case and the 10 year non-disclosure of exculpatory evidence by none other than the Chief Justice of Sth Australia.

  6. meredith mcmaster says:

    Despicable behaviour on the part of the DPP

  7. Jerry Fitzsimmons says:

    Interesting piece Andrew. I note “His attempts to appeal his conviction has been marred by legal errors” and this has been put forward as a reason of his 39 years of incarceration.
    I also wondered if this aboriginal man maybe had written a letter from prison to some authority figure in the South Australian establishment complaining that one of his deceased kin, another aboriginal man who was ‘publicly’ examined by the notable Dr. Manock as he carried out an autopsy.
    In this small outback opal mining settlement known as Mintabie in South Australia community members were provided with an undignified view of this Autopsist dissecting the body as he carried out an autopsy.
    Imagine then if such a complaint about this ordeal had gotten a few of Dr. Manock’s ‘friends’ in the establishment off-side, and you would have to think there are a few.
    Might appear that if this aboriginal man made any further complaints about this non-qualified Autopsist he might get another 39 years.
    Just food for thought in this highly legal error-prone case and with all due respect to Bob’s great summary of the many error-ridden irregularities within the law!

  8. Countess Antonia Maria Violetta Scrivanich says:

    In my opinion the behaviour of the Authorities has been criminal ! Poor man ! How can anyone have faith in “the legal system “?

  9. Owen allen says:

    Great work for Justice.
    What is the point of abiding by the law of the land, if the governing bodies abuse the law with corruption. This is why, in my mind, 1%ers live their own rules, society is so fxxxxxx they do not want to participate. And tell me why drug use is so popular, cocaine for the rich,meth for the poor, because people can not cope with the crap government delivers decade after decade. Injustice, homelessness, greed and corruption. Lets stop the pretence Australia is a great country. Its as rotten as any other 3rd world country. Owen.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.