Andrew L. Urban
There is no such thing, I don’t suppose, as a ‘wrongful leader’ but if there were, I would nominate Mark Speakman, the recently elected leader of the NSW Liberal Party. This is my ‘j’accuse’ …
My case against Mark Speakman rests entirely on his failure, as the Attorney General of NSW, to offer a man claiming to having been wrongfully convicted the same opportunity to clear his name as Speakman afforded a woman. That woman is Kathleen Folbigg, and a second appeal (conducted by former NSW Chief Justice Tom Bathurst) into her conviction is just coming to an end. I laid out in full why this was an unforgivable error on the part of the Attorney General, on April 22, 2019 – exactly four years ago.
In short, Speakman refused to act on the man’s petition for over three years and when pressed, refused to advise why not. The 76 page petition was prepared for the man by a lawyer pro bono, so outraged was he at the injustice of the case. There is evidence in the police brief that clears him, says the man.
“You will understand,” wrote the man to Speakman, “that I feel strongly that I, too, deserve justice. I note that although Ms Folbigg’s petition was submitted three years ago, it wasn’t until just nine days after an investigation into Ms Folbigg’s case was broadcast by the ABC’s Australian Story, (10 August, 2018), that you announced as follows:
“I have formed the view that an inquiry into Ms Folbigg’s convictions is necessary to ensure public confidence in the administration of justice. Today’s decision is not based on any assessment of Ms Folbigg’s guilt. The petition appears to raise a doubt or question …”
“I ask for equal access to a review. My petition also raises very serious doubts – on several issues. The very same sentiments would apply in my case…
“I do not ask you to form a view as to my innocence, only to permit a proper review of my conviction…”
The indefensible decision to neither support a Royal pardon for the man nor establish a review of the case is made so much worse by the cruelty of refusing to offer a reason for that decision. No Mr Speakman, you are not leadership material.