A tendency to wrongful convictions?

Andrew L. Urban.

Is justice served when a false accusation of sexual abuse is supported by another false accusation of sexual abuse and the court accepts the second accusation as tendency evidence proving wrongdoing? A preliminary assessment of his case suggests that is what happened to retired public servant Noel Greenaway, now 85, sentenced to 20 years jail just over three years ago. With a writing pad on his knees, he rages against his injustice from his cell. Our investigation continues. 

“The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse was initiated by then Prime Minister Julia Gillard with participation of the Australian States and Territories as she announced to Parliament on 12 November 2012.

“From ‘on high’ came the word, obviously, that someone had to be made responsible for the bad publicity received by NSW and other Governments which followed from the Royal Commission hearings. The Commission was only too happy to hear the ‘stories’ told by people such as ex-inmates of Institutions.

“Witnesses, in Private Sessions, and before the Commission were free to besmirch Institutions and individuals at will. This approach by the Commission has led to many people being named adversely and then being prosecuted by the Police. This of course was to protect the reputation of the Government at the expense of Institutions such as the Churches, and State and private care homes and Training Schools for delinquent children.

“The prosecution of individuals was also designed to appease those in the community who were naïve enough to believe the fabrications, lies and general criticism which was designed by ex-inmates and their supporters to name individuals out of revenge and to enhance their chances of claiming redress for concocted crimes committed against them. Their stories, in most cases were nothing but fantasies. Some of this is expanded on in the following pages.

The prosecution of an innocent person, only for the purpose of protecting another person or entity is malicious and to do this should not be excused by the state especially where the entity being protected can only be regarded as a state entity. This is malicious prosecution at its worst.

Noel Greenaway

“It is hoped that the new NSW State Government (March 2023) will look at my case through ‘fresh eyes’. The decision from ‘on high’ as I have described it was obviously a political decision made at quite a senior level and handed down to the Police and/or the DPP. Whoever was involved in this decision should be ashamed of himself or herself. It was a naive decision probably made in a panic to try to protect the position of the Department and the Government.

“It should never have been made especially when it would have been clear to anyone who had Residential Care experience which would have revealed that the ex-inmates of Institutions can have ulterior motives for fabricating stories. Whoever made the decision did not care that a retired former officer could spend years in prison as a result of the Legal System in New South Wales not being equipped to see the whole picture. The result has been a catastrophic failure of the Legal System.”

first red flag

The alleged abuse occurred in the 60s at Parramatta Girls Training School, a prison-like institution run on rigid disciplinary lines. Noel’s case involved a long list of historical allegations of physical and sexual abuse by five juvenile inmates, now matrons, which had never before come to the attention of authorities. That is the first red flag for our investigation, given the sheer volume and severity of the allegations.

Found guilty by majority of the jury:

*Four counts of common assault
*Three counts of assault occasioning actual bodily harm
*Four counts of indecent assault on a female
*One count of indecent assault on a female under 16 years
*Five counts of rape
*One count of buggery

The judge directed the jury to enter verdicts of not guilty as there was no evidence presented to support four counts:

*Two counts of indecent assault on a female
*Two counts of common assault

The jury entered a verdict of not guilty on:
*One count of indecent assault on a female
*Three counts of assault occasioning actual bodily harm
*One count of rape
*One count of common assault

The jury were no doubt swayed by the tendency evidence, which was explained by the trial judge to the jury:

In my opinion, the counts said to demonstrate the sexual tendency ought to be admitted as tendency evidence. Taking all the evidence at its highest and as a whole, I am satisfied that the test in section 97(1) of the Evidence Act is met, that the evidence demonstrates the common features set out by the Crown, and that it has significant probative value. To paraphrase the majority in Hughes, such is the significance of the common features, that evidence of each alleged offence has significant probative value in proof of each other charged offence.

I am not satisfied that there is a risk that the jury will misuse the evidence in an unfair way, and appropriate directions will be given in due course. In my opinion, the probative value of the sexual tendency evidence substantially outweighs any prejudicial effect it may have on the defendant.

Some people, including this author, respectfully disagree with the learned judge on that last point, certainly for those accused who are unjustly found guilty as a result of tendency evidence. Especially vulnerable are men accused of sexual abuse, who are sometimes prey to unscrupulous women, who may seek fame and fortune – or plain revenge, justified or not.

character counts

Unseen by the jury are some 30 character references from family and friends, most of which were provided to the judge prior to sentencing. They collectively demonstrate that Noel Greenaway is and has always been of impeccable character; in that light, the alleged offences seem absurd and inherently unlikely. Here is a taste of what the referees had to say:

Rowena Greenaway

Your Honour, I write to you not only as the deeply loved wife of Noel Greenaway, but also as the only person in your court room who has lived the times of the alleged offences. I must use the term alleged as I know Noel is innocent of all the charges. He was at home with me each and every hour he was not on duty.

If I had my time again, and knowing what I know now, without hesitation I can say, I would still marry Noel Frederick Greenaway.
Rowena Greenaway (wife)

I have always felt enormous pride about who my father is, as people have always looked up to and respected him as a kind and generous man, who is always willing to encourage and assist those in need.

As you would have witnessed in your courtroom each day, Dad was not alone in his fight to clear his name. We all stood proudly along side him, and we will continue to be there for him, no matter what unfolds. I have no hesitation in telling people about Dad’s current situation, because anyone who knows my father or our family knows that the crimes that he has been found guilty of cannot possibly be true.

 I first meet Mr Noel Greenway in 1960. We were both employed by the New South Wales department of child and social welfare.

His gentle, engaging and respectful manner enabled him to establish a good emotional tone in the workplace. He created a pleasant and harmonious rapport with both staff and inmates. He enjoyed a sober, honourable and diligent life.

I feel unable to adequately express my sorrow at the outcome of Mr.Greenway’s trial.

He is a man of high principles and integrity. His values and quality of character do not relate to the charges of which he was found guilty.
Don Wright

I have known Noel Greenaway since I was 14 years old.

I know that Noel is a man of such high morals and integrity that if he were aware of anything inappropriately happening to the girls in the institutions that it would have been him who alerted authorities and he would have gone above and beyond to ensure that it stopped, and that the perpetrators were held accountable. I also know that he, himself, would be so appalled and disgusted by the thought of such criminal behaviour, that there is no possible way he could have committed such a crime. In particular I remember during my time with Noel Greenaway that he was insistent regarding the correct, appropriate and respectful treatment of women.
Kendra Herrera

When the allegations of his earlier behaviour in institutions were made, I was both shocked and had disbelief, as I had never heard or suspected that he might have participated in such abusive behaviour.  I had always regarded him as a gentle, honest and unassuming family man who treated me and I believed all women with respect.

I have always regarded Noel Greenaway as a person of good character, a supportive husband and father with four children who have significant professional status in their communities.  In the light of him having been found guilty of serious criminal offences having occurred over 47 years ago, I find it difficult to believe him to be capable of such criminal offending.
Mrs Robyn Dalton BA Dip Ed Grad Dip Health Service Management

Noel has always been extremely law abiding and honest, he raised his children to respect the law, as we were, and he has never been charged with anything in his life previous to these outrageous charges. All aspects of his life have been above reproach.

I have always looked up to Noel as the loving and supportive big brother, I love him dearly and know that with his loving caring nature he would not be capable of the allegations he has had to face.
Margaret E. Hope (sister)

Noel is married to my husband’s sister, Rowena Greenaway.

I have always found Noel to be beyond reproach in my interactions with him and nothing I have observed in his behaviour, language, remarks, opinions and/or interactions with others, my then (in 1989) teenage daughters included, has ever given me the slightest unease; on the contrary I believe he is a gentleman through and through.
Sylvia F. Reardon

“I would describe Mr Greenaway as a gentleman. I am not religious in any manner at all, but respect Mr Greenaway as a man of integrity, honesty and exceptional conduct who always displayed a genuineness with Christian morals and actions. He was known to always treat other staff and people in his care with absolute respect.”
Colin Edmond Chambers (former employee of the Department of Child Welfare. From 1965 to 1992)

These references may not be legally exculpatory, but to a reasonable person, they challenge the uncorroborated evidence given by claimants at trial. Character counts.

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25 Responses to A tendency to wrongful convictions?

  1. Margaret Hope says:

    I am horrified by the the fact that Prime Ministers and people of so called integrity said “these women have to be believed”. How dare they.
    So naturally the court and the judge especially thinks well this guy is definitely guilty, if they have been told that these women have to be believed, what chance has anyone got.
    There is no justice in our courts. I know that Noel is not capable of these acts. Didn’t anyone realize that women tells lies especially if they are after revenge and there is a financial gain.

  2. Father Ted Whalensky says:

    Andrew – according to famiglia records Pope Urban the V111 molestato an Ancestor in 1630 – (in the vestibolo)with the removal of the Statute of Limitations – is it too late to punishment the Church ? The evidence is circumstantial – non importa ?

  3. John S says:

    An unhelpful element to all these injustices is the media’s role in swaying public opinion, if not the judiciary &/or juries. Though we need media for a robust system to function well, the media may need its own checks & balances for the benefit of all too.

    There are all too many cases where mainstream media (& increasingly social media) have meddled with cases before the courts, and seem to have gotten away with it.

    Many recent cases include: Geoffrey Rush (never charged), Cliff Richards (never charged), John Jarret (not guilty), Craig McLachlan (not guilty), Bruce Lehrmann (charges withdrawn), Lindy Chamberlain (exonerated), Kathleen Folbigg (pardoned), George Pell (conviction overturned). Despite all being cleared, the mud sticks a bit.

    There should be an inquiry in to the way all media (& social media) handle such cases, including the ABC (which no longer follows its charter of impartiality very well). To think that public funding of their prosecutions is then followed with the bad mouthing from the ABC (also publicly funded). One would think it was public persecution (public pillory).

    Add to that, despite that Craig McLachlan was found not guilty, the ABC still refuses to show Dr Blake’s mysteries that featured him as Dr Blake! Seems they’re no longer impartial or fair!

    Essentially it’s poor governance that seems to perpetuate such damaging media actions in the face of sense and fair play. In short, it’s slack.

    • andrew says:

      As you show, we don’t need an inquiry. The media need a good talking to. Fat good that’ll do, I know… The media have become unreliable and – with notable exceptions – useless as the independent watchdog scrutinising authority etc.

      • John S says:

        Sorry Andrew, you’re right! What was I dreaming!

      • John S says:

        I have another possible way to handle this: (if not already in existence) create a fund for suing bent officials & even bent judiciary/jurors, funded from possible white knights like Cliff Richard, John Jarrett, Geoffrey Rush, who were also targeted by zealots.

        Cliff Richards sued the BBC for the way it reported on his alleged wrong doing (though never charged), & he won. He then said that he was in such a position to do so, many others can’t (pay for lawyers, etc). But maybe we could create such a fund to sue media & bent officials, etc.

        Latest eg from ABC: the way they reported on W. Tyrrell case. Charges yet to be layed (if at all) & yet they have already shown pics of the street the boy’s step mother now lives in in Adelaide! Think about the harm this could do, whether or not she gets charged (let alone perhaps convicted)! Sue them!

  4. Poppa Madison says:

    My son was in his words, Falsely Accused of the historical childhood rape and sexual abuse of one of his daughters. No factual proof of the crime having been committed was uncovered by “Investigating Police” so case was termed by them and the Public Prosecutor to be one of ” Tendency Behaviour” of the kind to more give weight to the likelihood of the crime having been committed than not. They relied upon the Accuser’s allegations and the testimony given AT TRIAL by her two sisters as to their opinions as being “recollection” as to the “behaviour” of their father. Neither of the two sisters alleged sexual abuse by their father. also at Trial, their mother (who my son separated from when the youngest daughter was 6 then divorced soon after) also gave derogatory and derisive testimony about her marital relationship with my son.
    The Jury of course was not informed, that the four of them pre-trial had almost two years to collude, be subject to Police and Public Prosecutor “schooling” (I call it COERCION!)as to how to act in court, what to say, how and when to say it.
    I know this to be true because just this week I made contact with the ex-boyfriend of one of the daughters, who volunteered without my asking, that both The Accusing sister and his girlfriend her older sister had both told him that they were “pushed into it by their mother and told to make sure to cry and act upset in court”.
    My son faced 12 charges including rape. The Jury found him guilty on One Count of having put his leg between his daughter’s legs and rubbed it against her vagina”.
    For that he got two and half years gaol with 12 months parole. He was also put on the Australia Wide Pedophile Register and upon his release had to comply with onerous reporting to Police conditions and is forbidden to associate with children.
    It took me 6 years to uncover the factual physical and witness corroborative evidence that I can now very confidently assert gives overwhelming weight to the likelihood of him NOT HAVING raped and sexually abused his daughter, than that he did so.
    My son has been so traumatized by what happened to him that he has become mentally confused and to my mind mentally dysfunctional. He wont take up with trying to Appeal his conviction for fear of the Police & a Justice System corruption that utterly ruined his life and rendered him unemployable and homeless.
    The use of Tendency behaviour by the Judiciary and its agency cohort to crucify fellow human beings is nothing short of sociopathic and if we group Victims Of False Allegations as a group cohort, many of whom have committed suicide or become hermit like, they are victims of an INJUSTICE SYSTEM that practises a selective form of attempted Genocide.
    What blocks those of us attempting to seek redress and change the better, THE INJUSTICE SYSTEM, is the so-called “Separation of Powers” twixt Government and The Justice System, which enables to literally get away with murder; The Judiciary (Lawyers & Judges) and their cohort bottom-feeder Agencies the Police, Child Welfare and such as the Psychotherapists who practice the debunked yet still actively carried out “Abuse and Repressed Memory Recovery” methodology using the mind-altering technique they term EMDR. ( https://www.emdria.org/about-emdr-therapy/ )
    IMHO it will take all but a civil uprising and rebellion against the establishment to have that position revoked to even have hope to make Police and The Justice System 100% transparent and accountable both to government and the public.
    Dr. Robert Moles has done a sterling job trying to wake up to reality those we have all to readily empowered to govern and protect us. They don’t and that they don’t is epitomised by every Victim Of False Allegations of Sex Crime case that has and will undoubtedly continue to arise forever as long as we remain impotent to do much about it. Victims of False Allegations (VFA) are so devastated by their experience of wrongful arrest, wrongful trial,wrongful conviction and imprisonment and fearful of Police and the inane Justice System, that I can’t get them to register with me into the VFA Database Record I instigated for the purpose of being able to validate their number and the commonality as to how they were treated, and use the statistics to support pleas to those in power to do something to put an end to it all.
    Find more about my work and goals on Twitter by searching on @MaddoPoppa
    The womens metoo movement has contributed to the renewed vigour with which Police willy nilly believe those alleging being a Victim of sex crime with Police knowing that even if they don’t investigate or make a half-cock effort to do so, that the Public Prosecutor will come to their aid and show them how to convert what could be outright malicious lies, into a “Tendency case” that could see them considered heroes worthy of promotion and increased salary and their targetted Defendant put behind bars and rendered unable or more likely unwilling to seek Re-trial or make an Appeal or try and make revelation as to how they all collusively and corruptly acted to ensure they were found guilty of a crime they did not commit.
    A pox on The System say I ! It does not seek to find Truth, only a means to CONVICT AND IMPRISON both the guilty and the innocent among us.

  5. Countess Antonia Maria Violetta Scrivanich says:

    A modern version of Salem Witch trials ? Where is the evidence ? Lives ruined! Seems it is the current fashion to make accusations many years after the alleged event (s).

  6. Father Ted Whalensky says:

    Abdrew- isn’t it a very serious offence to make a claim of abuse against a named person who wasn’t even working at at that institution ? (edited for legal reasons)

  7. Father Ted Whalensky says:

    Never let the truth get in the way of a food story – too many eggs will shorten your life ! All the OLd Boys from Westbrook Queensland prison for Children are stinking lying hyenas – seeking fame / revenge and most importantly the Dollar –

  8. Mary says:

    I know Noel Greenaway, and like others, I cannot imagine in my wildest dreams that he would be capable of sexually or physically abusing any girl or woman. I would also like to say that of the sixteen women who gave oral evidence to the Royal Commission in 2014 in Case Study No 7 [Parramatta Girls Training School] at least six women accused men who were not even at PGTS at the same time as those women were. That is an error rate of 37.5%. In fact it might be higher because there were a few women where it was not known just when they had been at the Training School. Where did they get those names from? What was the position with other departments, churches or charities? And yet the Chairman of the Royal Commission seemed to think that all the allegations were true and subsequently Prime Ministers and Premiers apologised and said “we believe you”. And cash was duly handed over, together with apologies to claimants, by charities, churches, welfare and education departments around the country, whether those claimants had been abused or not. The present system does not work where historic sexual abuse charges are concerned.

  9. Jerry Fitzsimmons says:

    Andrew I am compelled to write to this because as a male I have concerns and confused emotions about the direction we are heading with what I am reading and learning so much more about.
    I have no doubts that there are mistakes occurring to convict individuals and incarcerate them further to allegations being made about them. Some I see apparently preferring to go down the road of financial gain without even having gained a conviction! Mind boggling stuff!
    We also heard of a road death occurring only for it to be reported in front of our very eyes with the details about a person who secured a conviction of another individual with ‘circumstantial evidence’ who then got incarcerated. By using the same legal system and I believe evidence that for me made the law appear asinine enough to sway it in favour of the defendant enabled that person to avoid a prison sentence after having knowingly caused this death! There was nothing even “circumstantial” about this matter that I am aware of! I speak of the road death of a 27 year old Launceston woman in 2013.
    Unless there is solid and/or current scientific findings or admissible evidence that leaves no reasonable doubts for a conviction to occur why then is the “law” seen as ‘a club of sorts’ for some?
    What in the name of everyone’s god is happening to a legal system that we so rely on or are we being fed with far to much social media knowledge based information?
    I would be the first to admit that yes we all have opinions and hopefully opinions with integrity but we all don’t have legally certified teachings to help us through the logic of all of the above that has been posted and I for one am dismayed with what has been posted but will continue to support such revelations being made known.
    Thank you once again Andrew. We simply must endeavour to seek truth telling answers.
    I could say much more but to avoid sexist, racist, bigoted rhetoric and opinionated bloggers bombarding this revealing post. I will respectfully conclude with my concerns just there.

  10. Father Ted Whalensky says:

    Children’s Prisons in Australia have a quite good reputatiom – from the Hulk on the Brisbane River to the present day – so we don’t need no besmirching – for revenge or monetary gain – how could one be seeking revenge for something what didn’t happen? Screenplay writers – the State DPPs are always seeking new talent ! The script used on Chamberlain and SNF Sue is worn out .

  11. Geraldine Allan says:

    Peter, for now I can but use emoji’s to say how I feel

  12. Peter v says:

    Andrew. The judge in my case said that I had lived an exemplary life before and after my inexplicable behavior. I must have had a brain snap he said . I had dealings with dozens of children before and after the alleged events of 1986. I coached Footie teams for boys and helped with touch Footie for girls . Not one came forward to say I had ever suggested or done anything improper. Young girls have stayed overnight with my daughter on so many occasions . Surely someone with such tendency , could not resist the temptation afforded by hundreds of opportunities. That’s the first part of the anomaly.

    The second is that ACTUAL exculpatory evidence is littered throughout the police brief. The room described that did not exist and an incident whereby there was uncalled evidence which showed by a witness, that the complainant was not with me at the time of the alleged event , but was actually with her father.

    I will also , under these circumstances point out that it’s impossible for someone to have tendency to do something which evidence , proves impossible or at least extremely unlikely . Sometimes known as reasonable doubt.
    I lost years of business and lost my home of 27 years to ramifications of this false conviction . My wife and I are 76 and 74 respectively. The jury did not believe her , when she told them her daughter had admitted to her that I had done nothing which resembled what later became the charges. My reputation in tatters . Many friends dumped , because they may suffer by association … I pity them. I thought true friends would not abandon us. It proved to me that I had about a dozen friends , instead of the 40 or so who promised their friendship and loyalty then disappeared into the mist.

    For 9 years so far I have had to report to police regularly , and suffered the stress and disappointment of surprise visits. I’m on a register. My sentence was not really 30 months as handed out by the judge. So far I ed served 12 years in one way or another .

    Thanks to Derrin Hinch during his time as a Senator , I can’t travel to my beloved homeland without permission. I was given permission in 2018 and went to visit family . If the authorities really thought I was a risk I’d be very surprised .

    I have brow beaten every visiting officer about my innocence. Some show by their obvious reaction , that I’m telling the truth .

    The effect on me , God asks me to forgive. The effect on my wife and children , I will never forgive . I’ve lost everything except them , and a few loyal friends who have never retreated from us . For that I will be forever grateful . Kind regards to you and the person you write about . Pv

    • Rose K D says:

      A man in Canberra was found guilty for murdering his partner in their home. The Police and the DPP had not one shred of evidence that pointed towards the man being the killer and all forensic evidence they did obtained, none of it matched up to the man they would eventually charge for committing the crime using this Tendency evidence. The man received life in prison, never to be released until a supporter of the man proved that it was infact miss applied tendency acts and they changed the man’s sentence to life in prison with potential release after 10 years. Without going into everything in Depth, I honestly believe this man is innocent and has sat in Canberras prison for over 11 years now!! It’s frustrating that these cases of miss justice are ignored because of the media storm it will induce!! I almost forgot, the cherry on the cake to just another let down by Canberras corrupted justice system is the DPPs procicuter was none other than SHANE DRUMGOLD and the man’s defence lawyer was BEN AULICH… Two of the big names in the recent scandles in this country’s justice system….

      • Geraldine Allan says:


        • Don Wakeling says:

          Can you assist me to understand this wrongful conviction. If it was proved that the tendency evidence was false, why was he not exonerated instead of having his term of sentence reduced?

      • Peter Gill says:

        Rose – The ACT appeal judges changed Aleksander Vojneski’s sentence not to life, but to 19 years with potential release in ten years. I disagree with your impression that there was no forensic evidence. The accused’s blood on the door handle of the bedroom, the accused’s cut on his hand, the accused’s DNA being under the deceased’s right fingernails and to a much lesser extent his fingerprint on the presumedly “neighbouring” knife in the knife block all are forensic evidence of some value, not junk science. So in my opinion this case does not belong with the two wrongful conviction cases discussed above in the comments in this thread. The very long appeal write-up is on http://www8.austlii.edu.au.

        Don – the sentence was reduced because two parts of the tendency evidence should have been rejected as irrelevant (the Mother Incident and the Prisoner Incident in paragraph 42 of the appeal) but the rest of the tendency evidence was ok. I do admit it’s a weird case with a guy who had no access to ice being accused of behaving as if he’s high on ice, but my overall opinion is that the accused is guilty.

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