Skeletons in the legal closet – look inside

They are prisoners. But they are wrongfully convicted, as we have shown here and elsewhere, supported by legal argument. They are skeletons in the legal closet; catastrophic failures- – but the legal system seems unable and/or unwilling to admit error and set them free. 

The following examples have two things in common: one, all the accused have consistently and vehemently maintained their innocence (one even foregoing parole for years rather than admit guilt). Two, all appeals in their cases were dismissed. Contributing factors to these failures of justice include all levels of the system, from police investigation to prosecutorial and judicial errors as well as incompetent defence. Maybe even jury decisions … (For other examples, please see our menu, at right.)

 Marco Rusterholz – circumstantial, double murder, 45 years; jailed in 2015 (Tasmania)

Marco & son Saxon, in 2012 before his arrest

“What was unique about this case,” comments Fabiano Cangelosi, his lawyer at the appeal, “was that at trial the defence were not just saying that the defendant had not committed the crimes, but were presenting evidence that a person named Matthew Coventry actually had — and moreover, Coventry was called as a Crown witness. That must be taken into consideration by the jury … and the judge ought to have addressed that issue.”

On the one hand, the three appeal court judges recognised that the circumstantial evidence against Marco Rusterholz does not prove his guilt beyond reasonable doubt. On the other hand, they found that the admissions Rusterholz was accused of making were sufficient to leave the convictions as “safe”, despite the fact that the alleged admissions were made to – and alleged in court by – persons of the lowest imaginable credibility. This is a contradiction that the judges failed to filter through either their common sense meter, or through the logic spectrum.

Marco Rusterholz (source: The Examiner)

Noel Greenaway – claimants’ previously undisclosed testimony, multiple sexual assaults against teenage girls – 20 years; jailed in 2019 (NSW)
Born in October 1937, Noel was 77 when the Royal Commission named him, over alleged events claimed to have taken place in the 1960s and 70s, half a century prior, when he was a supervisor in the Department of Child Welfare. Being named in the Royal Commission Into Institutional Response to Child Sex Abuse was the equivalent of being investigated by the ICAC; you are presumed guilty.

The charges against him merely relied on allegations that couldn’t or wouldn’t be properly tested in court.

The allegations came from six elderly women, troublesome teenagers at the time, five from the Parramatta institution the sixth from Ormond School, Thornleigh, places where Noel had worked for years, back in the 1960s and 70s.

Considering the volume and brutality of the charges against Noel Greenaway, the absence of disclosure by the complainants to anyone at any time prior to the Royal Commission is a striking element of the case.

The allegations against Noel are in stark contrast to the many glowing character references provided to the court prior to sentencing (but disregarded); he was described as a man of integrity who never raised his voice or swore.


Derek Bromley – contested forensic & contested eye witness, murder, 40 years; jailed in 1984 (South Australia)
“We now have eight of the country’s most eminent expert witnesses who are all agreed that the evidence given at Mr Bromley’s trial was either false and misleading (forensic pathology) or otherwise inadequate and misleading (psychiatry and psychology). On each issue, the Crown’s own appointed expert is in full agreement with the defence experts. It is clearly astonishing that such overwhelming evidence is deemed insufficient for even the grant of leave to appeal,” notes Flinders University legal academic Dr Bob Moles.

“We also remind ourselves that the purpose of an appeal is not to establish guilt or innocence, but merely to see if a reasonable doubt has been established about the guilt of the person convicted. In Mr Bromley’s case, it is clear that the forensic pathology evidence was given at his trial by a person now clearly established to be unqualified, incompetent and dishonest. Of that there is no doubt. Yet, it has been 23 years since the issue was first raised on national television in Australia. It has since been the subject of scores of television programs, books and articles in Australia and overseas.”  

“ … it seems rather strange that the High Court would find that the unanimous opinions of five of Australia’s leading experts on psychology and psychiatry are either unsound or unreliable – and at the same time find that the uncorroborated evidence of a man known to be psychotic and suffering from hallucinations and delusions is in fact reliable.”

Robert Xie – circumstantial, wife’s family 5 murders, Life; jailed in 2011 (NSW)
“At committal, Magistrate John Andrews had noted the Crown prosecutor, Mark Tedeschi, conceded that there was no evidence of motive….(and) the prosecution case may not be an overwhelming one”. Andrews pointed to “…weaknesses in the DNA evidence…”; Xie’s lawyer, Lester Fernandez, called the case ‘fanciful'” – (Sydney Morning Herald, December 19, 2012)

Kathy Lin and Robert Xie outside court

It took four trials, including the longest trial in NSW legal history for a single defendant before Fullerton J, and millions in costs to the taxpayer, to reach a conviction; one that can not be considered safe, given the (lack of) evidence – plus an alibi.

He was in bed next to his wife on the night of the murders, as she told police when interviewed two days later, shaken, grieving, traumatised from seeing the carnage she and her husband had found at the scene, faces smashed, blood everywhere. Three adults and his two beloved nephews … a massacre. The autopsies read like a slasher horror story.

“The Crown does not know exactly what time it was that the murders occurred,” said the prosecution in the opening address, “but our case is that it must have occurred after 2 o’clock in the morning, because you will hear that it is accepted that the accused had been at home with his wife using the internet until around this time. So it is at some point after 2 o’clock and before 5.30am.” In circular reasoning that went unchallenged, the case had been built AROUND Robert Xie’s alibi until 2am.

Robert Farquharson – circumstantial, murders 3 young sons, Life; jailed in 2010 (Victoria)
It was Father’s Day, September 4, 2005, and Robert Farquharson had been driving his three young sons home to their mother’s house in Winchelsea after taking them to dinner at KFC in Geelong, 30 minutes up the Princes Highway. Just a few minutes before reaching Winchelsea, the car went off the road and into a dam. The three children, Jai aged 10, Tyler 7 and Bailey 2, all drowned. Robert Farquharson escaped the sinking car.

Chris Brook is a theoretical astrophysicist who works on the formation of galaxies, trying to understand what galaxies can tell us about the nature of dark matter. He works at the University of La Laguna and the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias, one of Spain’s most prestigious science institutes. He wrote the book, Road to Damnation, about the case.

Robert Farquharson and Cindy Gambino share their grief at the funeral of their three boys

“When Farquharson told me the story of what happened the night his children died I believed him. Not because he sounded earnest, and not because he looked me in the eyes, as though that matters. I believed him because I had spent the past two years looking closely at the evidence used to convict him, and had concluded that the evidence indicates that he is innocent.”

“The book analyses the evidence in the case from a scientific perspective, making comparisons with the way the evidence was analysed in the criminal justice system. Scientific knowledge such as memory research, and the profound implications for our legal system, is explained and explored, as are cognitive biases, and how barristers exploit them to manipulate juries.” That’s how he pitches the book and it is perhaps the most remarkable aspect of Road to Damnation – that it combines investigative and scientific methods and presents the material in an accessible and highly engaging manner.

Sue Neill-Fraser – circumstantial, murder, 23 years; jailed in 2009 (Tasmania)

Sue and Bob – the man she loved – and the prosecution claims she killed

As the prosecution would have it, she hit her partner Bob Chappell on the head with a wrench below deck on their new yacht, dragged his body up to the top deck and over the side, into the dinghy, all by herself, then dumped it somewhere in the Derwent. This was the prosecution scenario – but no evidence nor credible motive was provided for any of it.

Sue was released on parole in October 2022 after serving 13 years of her sentence.



For more information on each of these cases, please refer to the content menu on the right.

This entry was posted in Case 01 Sue Neill-Fraser, Case 05 Derek Bromley, Case 11 Robert Xie, Case 13 Robert Farquharson, Case 19 Marco Rusterholz, Case 22 Noel Greenaway. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Skeletons in the legal closet – look inside

  1. Williambtm says:

    As a response to the comment of David Smith, the role of Australia’s Inspector General is a doubtful government agency whereby its primary role is to protect “the treacherous and treasonous” current and former Prime Ministers, from their indulgence in egregious actions against the best interests of Australia’s people.
    Per example: The 1996 Port Arthur Massacre was indeed a false flag event, agreed to by J W Howard as the then Prime Minister.
    His purpose was to have his new gun laws speedily legislated that would establish a ban on all weapons that fired such centre line detonating ammunition.
    John Winston Howard feared he would be taken out by a sniper utilising the above type of weapon.
    J W Howard was in fear of being taken out by a sniper armed with that type of weapon.
    Yes, I had corresponded with the Inspector General’s office. Their people did not have any interest whatsoever concerning the products of my research.
    However, all evidence documents and whatever legal introduced opinions are stored in a mightily secure repository for a period of 75 years.

  2. David Smith says:

    The main problem here are the Public Servants who have control of the Public Purse and won’t accept that the Conviction of any of these people were wrong because the State may have to pay out Compensation – so they will spend MILLIONS to fight to prevent any payments being made. The Judicial System can be bought at any time if you have enough money or if they are directed to find someone guilty. Convict at all Costs. Just look at the British Post Office who have been covering up Corruption and Dishonesty for many years resulting in some Sub Post Office People being made bankrupt – conviction for offences that never occured – or committing suicide – Public Servants continue to deny responsibility – they talk about compensation when the British Post Office STOLE many thousands from Honest Hard Working Tax Paying people and some to sent Prison.
    Public Servants have evolved to have TOO MUCH POWER and are misusng it to their own ends. They have dossiers on many Australians who have unfortunately had dealings with Corrupt and Dishonest Governments – The Public Servants have recorded their dealings with People and their OPINIONS on these people – these records are there for ever and will be used against them at any time – Some Australians have contacted a Government Department only to find they have been cut off all because of the Notes made about/against them. The Public Servants continue to commit CRIMINAL OFFENCES in their cover ups and get away with it because there is No One Policing these people – There needs to be prosecutions against these Public Servants to get them to do their jobs Professionally and Honestly. Sad isn’t it. When Queensland had a Special Branch – the World almost ended – these new breed of Public Servants are much worse than that.

    • Heinrich says:

      David Smith mentioned public servants 6 times (or 7) . Presumably-David means police / prosecutors /judges and attorney generals ? Must not forget the pervasively purveying of perverted flexable forensics to juries ! Can be a truly evil jury fooling profession,when in the service of their political Attorney General masters . Those forensic frauds who fill their own rice bowls year after year, supplying the required expert evidence . An absolute classic example is the Queensland police presenting the public with a brand new crock of Internationally proven codswallop forensics in an attempt to cover their embarrassingly corrupt persecution of Graham Stafford the first time -15 years wrongfully in prison ! The planting and removal of forensic evidence is well documented. Then we have the good old fashioned verbal. The Queensland police Commissioner -resigned now- after claiming Stacy Train was lying on the ground wounded and firing at the police .Their own police helicopter spotter had already informed us mug punters that poor dead Stacy was unarmed and crawling for cover from the black shirts . Show us the video ! These would be tha same mob that cost Queensland tax payers 30 million damages for their gutless behaviour on Palm Island with frightening little children with their military style guns.(in their bedrooms at 5am). Why would a decent citizens join an outfit like that ?

  3. Heinrich says:

    This is a question children – not an
    opinion or comment. Having now
    refreshed your minds with the above
    examples of depravity and lunatic
    appeals court judgements !
    How many of you now have any
    confidence in the Australian
    justice system? (Oops-may have
    slipped in an opinion there)

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