Gerard Baden-Clay found GUILTY OF MURDER


update 12.35 17/07/14

Gerard Baden-Clay launches appeal against murder conviction

Lawyers for Gerard Baden-Clay have filed an appeal against his murder conviction.

On Tuesday a Supreme Court jury found the 43-year-old Brisbane man guilty of killing his wife Allison in April 2012.

He was sentenced to life in prison, with a non-parole period of 15 years.

He has appealed against his conviction on four grounds, including that the verdict of murder was unreasonable, and that:

“A miscarriage of justice occurred because the jury should have been, but was not, directed that the presence of the deceased’s blood in a motor vehicle was only relevant if the jury was satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that the presence of blood was attributed to an injury sustained to the deceased’s body on the evening of 19 April 2012 or the morning of 20 April 2012,” the application reads.

“The trial judge erred in law in not directing the jury that they needed to be satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that the appellant placed the body of the deceased at Kholo Creek in order to use such a finding as post-offence conduct going to guilt.

“The trial judge erred in leaving to the jury that the appellant attempted to disguise marks on his face by making razor cuts.”


 

got him1

A Slide show covering the tragic events that resulted in Gerard being found guilty of Murdering his wife Allison

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I have included the Allison’s family’s Victim Impact Statements in the GBC MENU or feel free to access each family members page and make a contribution here

Priscilla Dickie   Vanessa Fowler   Geoff Dickie

SENTENCE

Gerard Baden-Clay, on the night of 19 April 2012, you murdered your wife, Allison.

The killing was not premeditated. But it was violent. That night, you were under considerable stress.

Your financial circumstances were, as you confessed to police, dire. Your domestic circumstances were no better.

You had resumed your affair with Toni McHugh. You kept telling her that you loved her.

You led her to understand that you intended to leave Allison and to be with her.

That afternoon, you told Ms McHugh that Allison would be at the conference Ms McHugh was to attend in Brisbane the next day.

Allison knew nothing about the resumption of the affair.

You deceived her into believing that it had ended in September 2011.

If the two women were to meet the next day, the consequences could have been dramatic, as you realised.

Your unsuspecting wife was doing her best to maintain the marriage.

A relationship counsellor had devised a plan. It allowed for Allison to express to you her feelings about the affair in a brief session every second day.

You had agreed, reluctantly, to that.

The first session happened the night before Allison died; and it had turned into an interrogation.

Allison remained tormented by the affair. She pressed you for details. On the night she died, Allison again questioned you about the affair. All the pressures proved too much for you.

The prosecution suggested that you smothered Allison; and that looks likely.

But whatever the mechanism, your violent attack caused her death.

Her fingernails scratched your face – the act of a desperate woman struggling for life.

Those marks are only consistent with your guilt.

Your shameful conduct after murdering Allison bespeaks a profound absence of remorse.

You took her body to Kholo Creek.

There you disposed of her in an undignified way: dumping her over a ledge to leave her lying in mud, exposed to the elements, insects and wildlife.

Then you put in place – and persisted in – a deception plan.

You used a razor to cut yourself near where she had scratched you, trying to disguise the injuries she had inflicted in defending herself.

You drove around the streets of Brookfield pretending to look for her. You have insinuated that mental illness may have led to drug overdose or suicide.

And besmirching Allison’s memory in that way is thoroughly reprehensible.

You have no criminal history. But you are definitely not of good character.

You are given to lies and other deception: so much so that whatever you may say on any application for parole, 15 years or more hence, will need to be assessed with considerable scepticism.

The   community,   acting   through   the   Court,   denounces   your lethal violence.

The impacts on Allison’s family have been grave.

Their victim impact statements poignantly express their pain.

You took a devoted, loving mother from her three girls, blighting their lives.

Pursuant to s.159A of the Penalties and Sentences Act 1992, I declare the

762 days spent in pre-sentence custody from 14 June 2012 until today to be imprisonment already served under the sentence.

The law provides but one penalty for your awful crime. I impose it.

You are sentenced to imprisonment for life.

Baden-Clay defence offered manslaughter

Gerard Baden-Clay’s defence team made an application for the case to proceed as a manslaughter charge due to a lack of evidence showing intent to kill. Nine News

MAJOR YELLOW DAFFODIL  UPDATE 11.53 AM 15/07/14

After more than 22 hours of deliberations the jury has found Gerard Baden-Clay guilty of killing his wife Allison Baden-Clay, the mother of their 3 children.

To the relief of everybody, the jury has seen through his mountain of lies and secrecy, the double life, the excuses and false explanations. Gerard Baden-Clay was the one and only suspect from the very first day and was doggedly investigated by the dedicated QLD Police Service.

How this poor excuse for a human being has manged to fool so many for so long is astounding, but it all came crashing down this afternoon not long after the jury handed in their verdict after they deliberated for over 22h hours.

guilty

Off to prison to start his new career, Gerard Baden-Clay is heading to the place he belongs

Off to prison to start his new career, Gerard Baden-Clay is heading to the place he belongs

All previous threads and history including trial can be found clicking on link below http://aussiecriminals.com.au/category/gerard-baden-clay/

List of Trial Witnesses as they appear here

ANY EVIDENCE LIKE PHOTOS, VIDEO OR DOCUMENTS THE COURT RELEASES TO THE PUBLIC WILL BE PUBLISHED in the GBC Documents Page

RESERVED FOR UPDATES AFTER VERDICT ANNOUNCEMENTS

The statement made outside court by a family Representative

Here is Allison Baden-Clay’s family’s full statement courtesy of our friends at the Brisbane Times

“Today, we, Allison’s family and friends, are relieved that we finally have justice for Allison.  The evidence presented at this trial has proven that Gerard Baden-Clay is responsible for the murder of his wife Allison.

It has been a long wait over the last two years, and this result today marks the beginning of our long journey towards healing, and finally allowing us to mourn and grieve for this beautiful woman.

Today is not a win for our family, for it will not bring our beautiful Allison back. However, it is the closure of another chapter in this journey for our family. We have lost Allison and nothing that has happened here will bring her back.  We as a family will grieve her tragic death forever, the memories tarnished by the fact that she was taken from us in such horrific circumstances.

We would like to thank the Queensland Police Service and the CIB officers involved in the investigation, the SES volunteers who searched night and day in all weather, the scientific experts and the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions who have all worked tirelessly to ensure that we have justice for Allison.  We would also like to thank them for their compassion and support over what has been the darkest of times.

To all of our family and friends that have sat in the court each and every day supporting our beloved Allison, we thank you and hope that you too now find some peace from this result.

Throughout this time, those in the close knit Brookfield community and those in the media and wider public have shown us empathy and compassion for which we are enormously grateful. More so, however, we have appreciated your efforts to protect the privacy of Allison’s daughters.

Our primary concern has always been and remains the emotional and physical well-being of Allison’s three beautiful daughters.  We will help them to rebuild their lives and ask for your support, cooperation and privacy in order to do this.  We have a long way to go ensure that they will cope with a future without their mother.

Allison was a kind-hearted, generous woman, a loving wife and devoted mother whose legacy will continue if we all remember that life is precious and to take the time to be kind, smile at those who pass you by and live for today.

We, her family and friends, didn’t get a chance to say goodbye but Allison will always remain forever in our hearts.

Thank you”

Gerard Baden-Clay given life sentence for murder of wife Allison

Updated 1 minute ago

Former Brisbane real estate agent Gerard Baden-Clay has been given a life sentence after being found guilty of murdering his wife Allison in April 2012.

A Supreme Court jury has convicted the 43-year-old of killing the mother-of-three at their Brookfield home and disposing of her body under the Kholo Creek Bridge, more than 13 kilometres away.

Allison’s family shouted “yes” as the verdict was read out, while security asked for a short break because Baden-Clay was struggling to breathe.

Baden-Clay, who had protested his innocence in the witness box, faces a non-parole period of 15 years.

In a victim impact statement read to the court, Allison’s mother, Priscilla Dickie, said Baden-Clay had “betrayed” her daughter.

“We have all been robbed of Allison’s love,” she said. “The discovery of our darling daughter was absolutely devastating.

“The tragedy of it all is she had so much to offer.”

Allison’s father Geoff Dickie told the court he had been left “devastated by the murder of my precious, gifted and talented daughter”.

It was a case about sex, lies and murder that gripped the city of Brisbane for two years, and the ever-growing queues outside the Supreme Court were a testament to the public’s fascination with the sordid story.

In life, Allison Baden-Clay was a dancer, teacher, successful career woman, devoted wife and mother of three girls.

In death, she became well-known for all the wrong reasons.

Her disappearance in 2012 shocked the tight-knit affluent community of Brookfield. Well-wishers and concerned residents laid flowers at her home, not knowing what else to do.

At the same time, hundreds of police and State Emergency Service (SES) volunteers swung into action, combing surrounding suburbs for any trace of the missing woman.

“Please help us, because there are three beautiful little girls of Allison’s wanting to see their mother,” her father had pleaded.

Her mother urged: “Our lives will never be the same – we must, must find her – she’s so precious.”

Premier vowed resources to find Allison

Queensland Premier Campbell Newman vowed to commit whatever resources were necessary to finding her.

“I’m just very sad for the family and friends. It’s obviously just incredibly distressing,” he said at the time.

Timeline: Baden-Clay murder

However, from the moment Baden-Clay reported his wife missing on April 20, 2012, police knew this was no ordinary missing persons case.

He had told them she went for an early morning walk and never returned home.

But marks on his face alerted police that something more sinister may have happened.

Hours turned into days, and on April 30 a lone kayaker discovered what was later confirmed as Allison’s body on the muddy banks of Kholo Creek at Anstead, about 10 kilometres from the family’s home.

That day, police refused to say whether Baden-Clay was a suspect.

On June 13, however, he was arrested and charged with his wife’s murder.

Flowers and toys decorate a memorial for Allison Baden-Clay near Kholo Creek.

Photo: Flowers and toys decorate a memorial for Allison near the Kholo Creek location where her body was found in Brisbane’s west, June 23, 2014. (AAP: Dan Peled)

Crown case against Baden-Clay circumstantial

By its own admission, the crown’s case against Baden-Clay was a circumstantial one, but the accumulation of evidence was powerful.

A post-mortem examination failed to determine a cause of death due to decomposition, and apart from a chipped tooth and possible bruising, there were no fractures to Allison’s body.

A court photo shows marks on the face of accused murderer Gerard Baden-Clay.

Photo: Marks on the face of Gerard Baden-Clay. (Supplied)

But forensic pathologist Dr Nathan Milne believed Allison did not die from natural causes.

The crown said she died at the hands of her husband, the last person to see her alive.

At the time of her disappearance, Baden-Clay had marks on his face and body that drew the attention of police.

He had excuses for them, though: he had cut himself shaving in a rush; the marks on his neck were where he had crushed a caterpillar that had landed on him while he was watching one of his daughters compete in a cross-country race; and marks on his hand were from a screwdriver that slipped while he was helping renovate a friend’s house, but marks on his chest and shoulder could not be explained by him.

However, three forensic experts testified that marks on Baden-Clay’s face were likely fingernail scratches and Baden-Clay’s claim that they were from a razor was simply implausible.

They said marks on Baden-Clay’s body could also be from scratching, although they were less conclusive.

Then there was the dripping blood found in the boot of Allison’s four-wheel drive. DNA testing confirmed it was Allison’s.

Baden-Clay’s double life

The murder trial exposed a couple living very different lives publicly and in private.

On the face of it, the Baden-Clays were a successful family, running their own prestige real estate company.

But they were in deep financial trouble and Baden-Clay was having trouble paying off loans to friends.

In desperation, he had begged the state Member for Moggill, Dr Bruce Flegg, for a loan of up to $400,000, fearing he would go bankrupt without it.

Baden-Clay was also caught between two women: his wife and lover.

Allison Baden-Clay, Gerard Baden-Clay and Toni McHugh

Photo: (L to R) Allison Baden-Clay, Gerard Baden-Clay and Toni McHugh. (Supplied/AAP)

In marriage counselling, Baden-Clay had professed to want a future with Allison, but at the same time was vowing to leave his wife on her birthday for former employee Toni McHugh.

An email trail between Ms McHugh and a secret account set up by Baden-Clay under the name Bruce Overland portrayed a tumultuous affair, and growing frustrations from Ms McHugh about her lover’s unfulfilled promises.

“Well you’ll have to forgive me that I feel disappointed when this happens. I’m sick of hiding,” Ms McHugh wrote on February 20, 2012.

“I’m sick of being second best and having to take the back seat … all so she doesn’t find out.

“Why should I believe things are going to be any different than the past[?]“

Ms McHugh wrote on March 27 she had looked at rental properties.

“It would be so much easier if you did just move in with me,” she said.

“She can get her own place and the week you have the children you move back to the house.”

I’m sick of being second best and having to take the back seat – all so she doesn’t find out.

Toni McHugh in an email to Baden-Clay

 

Baden-Clay wrote on April 3: “I have given you a commitment and I intend to stick to it – I will be separated by 1 July.”

He also wrote an email on April 11 – referring to Ms McHugh as GG – their names for each other were Gorgeous Girl and Gorgeous Boy.

“This is agony for me too. I love you,” he said.

“I’m sorry you hung up on me. It sounded like you were getting very angry. I love you GG. Leave things to me now. I love you. GB.”

Until April 2012, Baden-Clay had been able to keep his two worlds separate, but they were about to collide spectacularly.

On April 20, Allison and Ms McHugh were due to attend the same real estate conference.

In the witness box, Baden-Clay passed off his declarations of love to Ms McHugh as empty promises to appease a volatile, unstable and confrontational woman who was infatuated with him.

He portrayed himself as a philanderer, but no murderer: he had affairs with numerous women, but was never going to leave his wife.

Baden-Clay admitted he deceived Allison, Ms McHugh, his family and friends, and in return for his deception they gave him their loyalty.

“My intention was to end any relationship with Toni McHugh and solidify and continue my relationship with Allison for our future together,” he said in the witness box.

But the crown submitted Baden-Clay and Ms McHugh were very much entwined and his deceptive conduct showed what he was capable of.

Allison’s mental health raised at trial

The jury saw two faces of Allison. The defence painted a picture of a woman plagued by depression and unable to cope with the pressures of life.

They pursued the possibility that Allison could have taken her own life or wandered off into the night to her death.

According to testimony from Baden-Clay’s father, Nigel, and sister Olivia Baden-Walton, Allison was so incapacitated she could not get off the couch.

But her friends and family told a different story: she was a woman who was happy and feeling positive before she disappeared.

A GP, two psychologists and a psychiatrist who had treated Allison all said she was not a suicide risk.

Marriage counsellor Carmel Ritchie, who consulted with the couple just days before her death, also testified that Allison was hopeful for her future and wanting to make her marriage work.

One thing was clear, however: their marriage was in crisis. Allison’s journal revealed a woman tormented by self-doubt.

“I don’t want to be alone,” she wrote.

“I am afraid of being alone and lonely, maybe because I think I can’t handle it. I am afraid of failing – failing in my marriage and what people will think.”

Allison also had lingering questions about her husband’s affair with Ms McHugh. Some were answered, some were not.

Questions like how many times did they go to the movies together? How did they pay for hotels? Where did they have sex in her apartment? Sex in the family car?

“Did she ever say: ‘I feel bad because you’re married?’”

Three daughters left behind

The trial was the first time the public had heard the three Baden-Clay children speak about their mother’s disappearance.

Heartbreaking video recordings of police interviews with the girls, then aged 10, eight and five, taken on the afternoon their mother was reported missing showed their fear, distress and confusion at what was happening around them.

Baden-Clay wiped away tears while watching his daughters sob as they were quizzed by detectives.

Each described being put to bed by their parents. The middle girl remembered her mother singing Away In A Manger to her.

“Dad said mum had gone for a walk,” the eight-year-old said.

The youngest child said: “She was walking for a long time and we think she twisted her ankle.

“I didn’t get to see her at all because I was fast asleep.”

The eldest recalled seeing her mum on the couch watching TV when she got up to get a glass of water.

“Dad was trying to keep calm for us, but I don’t actually know what was going on in his head,” she said.

She saw “scratches” on her dad’s face, but none of the girls heard anything during the night.

The families and supporters of the Baden-Clays have sat through each day of the trial listening to evidence almost too painful to bear.

They are bound by grief, but divided by loyalty.

The guilty verdict gives them an answer – wanted or not.

But one question remains, and only Baden-Clay can really answer how he murdered his wife.

Amidst the murky personal drama are three little girls who lost their mother and will now have to learn to live without their father.

A JURY has found Gerard Baden-Clay guilty of murdering his wife Allison.

The former Brookfield real estate agent, 43, pleaded not guilty in the Supreme Court at Brisbane at the opening of his trial six weeks ago.

A jury of seven men and five women delivered its verdict shortly after 11.50am today after deliberating for 21 hours before reaching a decision.

Justice John Byrne asked the jury to retire to deliberate on Thursday at 11.10am.

Jurors lined up across one side of the court as they were asked by the judge’s associate: “Do you find the defendant Gerard Robert Baden-Clay guilty or not guilty of murder?’’

The family of Allison Baden-Clay, including her parents Geoff and Priscilla Dickie, who are seated in the packed public gallery of court 11, cheered as the jury replied: “Guilty”.

The accused was seated in the dock and stood to talk to his lawyer Peter Shields as the judge discharged the jury and thanked them for their service.

Justice Byrne told the jurors he was grateful for their service.

brisbane times

Gerard Baden-Clay appeal likely: legal expert

Date
July 16, 2014 – 2:29PM
Gerard Baden-Clay's defence team Michael Byrne, QC, and Peter Shields (right).

Gerard Baden-Clay’s defence team Michael Byrne, QC, and Peter Shields (right). Photo: Claudia Baxter

 

Wife killer Gerard Baden-Clay will almost certainly appeal his conviction and sentence, a Queensland criminal law expert says.

Professor Heather Douglas from the University of Queensland says Baden-Clay’s legal team will be poring over transcripts of his 21-day trial to find grounds for an appeal.

Baden-Clay has 30 days to lodge an appeal, or apply for grounds to seek an extension of time to lodge an appeal, following his life sentence on Tuesday for the murder of his wife Allison in 2012.

“There’s a very good chance he will appeal,” Professor Douglas said.

“I haven’t been through the fine grain of the transcript, so it’s very difficult for me to suggest that there are clear-cut unambiguous grounds that are likely to lead to success, but certainly that’s what the defence lawyers will be doing now.

“They’ll be looking at every word and every direction, everything the judge said and everything that was presented in the trial.”

Under Queensland law, there are three avenues of appeal, one being error of law, as in whether the judge has made incorrect directions to the jury.

Another is if it can be shown the jury reached a “dangerous” verdict out of step with the evidence presented.

The third avenue is miscarriage of justice, which can cover a variety of scenarios including whether jurors have been found to undertake their own research outside the courtroom or if any evidence presented was prejudicial against the defendant.

Professor Douglas believes Baden-Clay’s legal team could pursue a miscarriage of justice appeal because one juror had downloaded overseas’ material on jury deliberations.

She said this might be enough grounds for an appeal application, but his lawyers would then need to prove, for the appeal to be upheld, that the juror’s action impacted on the defence’s case.

“No trial’s perfect,” she said.

“It may be possible for Baden-Clay’s defence team to identify errors in the trial or problems in the trial.

“That will get them through to the appeals stage where they can then appeal against the conviction.”

Professor Douglas said she was not familiar with the entire Baden-Clay trial but had been impressed by Justice John Byrne’s handling of the matter.

“Justice Byrne’s a very experienced trial judge … he’s been very conservative in what evidence he’s allowed into the trial,” she said.

“He has excluded some relevant evidence on the basis that it would be too prejudicial in the circumstances. I think he’s been very careful with his management of the evidence.”

 

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GBC Trial Day 19.5 (the weekend)


Something to get the chat going for the weekend

 

Baden-Clay murder trial: Large crowds in court evidence of a healthy legal system, top barrister says

11/07/14

Gerard Baden-Clay

The murder trial of Gerard Baden-Clay has seen a ticketing system introduced to prevent overcrowding

The high level of public interest in the Gerard Baden-Clay trial is nothing out of the ordinary, and in fact makes for a healthy legal system, a top barrister says.

The former real estate agent’s murder trial attracted crowds to the Brisbane Supreme Court, with extra courtrooms opened for people who queued day after day to gain entry, and a ticketing system introduced to prevent overcrowding.

The Department of Justice and Attorney-General says these special arrangements for large-scale trials are made to ensure openness and transparency in the justice system.

This transparency is key to keeping Australia’s legal apparatus – everyone from police to barristers and judges – held to account, says Ken Fleming, QC.

Mr Fleming was the defence barrister for former Bundaberg surgeon Jayant Patel and has worked as a United Nations prosecutor on international war crimes trials.

“Everyone should be held accountable for what they’re doing, and the open scrutiny of it is a very important thing,” he said.

“You just can’t have things going on behind closed doors, because that engenders fear of the unknown.”

Mr Fleming says the “whole delivery of justice” depends on high levels of public interest, because people can see and understand the process.

Seeing mystery unravel part of appeal, barrister says

The courts are not, however, in danger of turning into another form of entertainment – rather, they always have been.

“You only have to think about the French Revolution and the guillotining in the forecourt of the Notre Dame,” Mr Fleming said.

Although some people may attend just to see a mystery unravel, he believes many also have a genuine interest in watching the ins and outs of the legal process.

There might be some prurient interest as well, but I think that’s not the major reason people are there.

Ken Fleming, QC

“You only have to look at some of the British television programs to see how we love a good murder mystery,” he said.

“There might be some prurient interest as well, but I think that’s not the major reason people are there.

“They just have a genuine interest in what’s going on.”

Glen Cranny, a defence lawyer and partner at Gilshenan and Luton Lawyers, also believes a high level of public interest is healthy for the criminal justice system generally.

“People might come for any number of reasons, and some might come for mawkish reasons,” he said.

“Nevertheless, I think the benefits of having an open and transparent system … far outweigh any perverse interest some people may get out of such proceedings.”

Public pressure witnesses face may discourage some: lawyer

Publicity and public interest in a case can also encourage other complainants or witnesses to come forward and give evidence, where they may have otherwise been unaware or not confident enough.

Rolf Harris‘s case in England, for example, involved people who were coming forward as complainants once they, I think, had the courage that there were protections and systems in place for their story to be told,” Mr Cranny said.

But this benefit has a flip-side: that very publicity could make people apprehensive about revealing their story.

“I think there is a tipping point where some people might think they could do without their face or name being splashed on TV as a witness, or as a complainant,” Mr Cranny said.

“They would be happy to be involved in the process in a low-key way, but don’t want to be engaged … in anything that might in some way feel like a circus to them.”

Reputational issues should also be factored in, especially when a person’s conduct, while lawful, may not hold them in a good light.

“We’ve seen in a recent high-profile case … a lot of focus on extra-marital affairs and so on,” Mr Cranny said.

“There are people who are involved in those relationships, who haven’t broken the law, but have become very prominent just through their personal lives.”

Mr Fleming says that while public interest could make some people “a bit reluctant”, he had not seen any evidence of public attendance impacting on witnesses.

“It is on display and in a sense it’s theatre,” he said.

“But once people are resigned to the fact that they will be giving evidence, I don’t think too much stands in their way.”

Opening additional courtrooms and keeping the public away from “where the action is happening” also means witnesses are only faced with a very small and confined audience in the main court, Mr Fleming said.

All previous threads and history including trial can be found clicking on link below http://aussiecriminals.com.au/category/gerard-baden-clay/

List of Trial Witnesses as they appear here

ANY EVIDENCE LIKE PHOTOS, VIDEO OR DOCUMENTS THE COURT RELEASES TO THE PUBLIC WILL BE PUBLISHED in the GBC Documents Page

Brisbane Supreme Court Justice John Byrne has asked a jury to retire to consider a verdict in the trial of Gerard Baden-Clay.

Meet Roger Hall- the spy camera toilet pervert


update 14/07/14 More to come he had dozens of cameras, heaps of pen cameras and other stuff, computers, hard drives, stacks of pen drives. Dirty bastard knew exactly what he was doing! Sentenced but back out on appeal today a BIG JOKE

THREE  well-concealed spy cameras. Seven seized computers. 19 hard drives. 84 data cards. Thousands of image files.

And a long list of victims who may never know their semi-naked bodies were secretly filmed in a cafe bathroom by Roger Hall.

Roger Hall gets a joke of a sentence.Disgusting filthy pervert

Roger Hall gets a joke of a sentence.Disgusting filthy pervert

The 61-year-old was jailed on Friday after pleading guilty to stalking, installing an optical surveillance device, making child porn, knowingly possessing child porn and visually capturing genitalia.

The Geelong Magistrates’ Court heard the married ­retiree hid three spy cameras in the unisex bathroom of a ­Geelong cafe where he was a customer and started systematically and obsessively documenting intimate images of strangers.

The name of the cafe has been suppressed to avoid damaging its reputation.

Hall, a regular customer at the cafe, filmed female staff members getting changed out of school uniforms, ­archived pictures of female genitalia, ­edited some videos to play in slow motion and even compiled images in files matching the victims’ names.

But despite the evidence Hall has maintained there was nothing sexual about his ­offending.

He claimed the cameras were set up to keep tabs on his elderly parents-in-law, who visited the cafe regularly, even though police prosecutor ­Senior-Sergeant Steve Iddles said almost every image was of women under 30.

And there were plenty of images for e-crime police to analyse.

Detectives evaluated just half of the seized items, which also included three pen cam­eras and 51 USBs, and uncovered 1111 video files and 303 images of people using the bathroom.

They also found 313 images and 151 videos of people in and around the cafe, which Hall used to match people’s faces to footage of them in the toilet.

Police also found 32 images of child pornography Hall had got from an external source.

The cafe owner, whose family members work at the cafe, said Hall’s crimes had a devastating affect on her personal relationships. “After this crime, I became very uncomfortable around my own husband and any other male,” she said in a victim ­impact statement.

“I get angry that I didn’t know what was happening so I could protect them from the ­violation I now feel.

“I now find myself not trusting anyone except for my family. I now look at most people and question what they are doing.”

As Hall sat in the front row, occasionally nodding at the evidence presented to the court and at other times staring at the floor and rocking, his wife of 29 years sat in the back row quietly crying.

When magistrate Ron ­Saines read out Hall’s sentence — 15 months in prison suspended after six — she burst into loud wails. As her husband was led into the dock she grabbed his hand and when she was led out of court she tearfully blew him a kiss.

Hall lived six decades without being in trouble with the law. He had held down a job and gained a university degree.

But, according to defence lawyer Michael Brugman, at some point “something broke in his mind”.

When handing down his sentence, Mr Saines said Hall was unlikely to reoffend, had pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity, cooperated with police and expressed sincere remorse.

He also conceded his anx­iety and depression were likely to worsen in custody but said the courts had a responsibility to denounce his behaviour in the strongest possible terms.

The only option, Mr Saines said, was to send him to prison.

“The general view of people in the community, but particularly women, would describe the conduct of the accused as highly depraved and indeed revolting,” Mr Saines said.

“The law is clear the courts must hold protection of the public as the most important objective.”

Hall will remain in prison until January 2015.

Hundreds of people captured on spy cam in Geelong cafe’s unisex bathroom

Court

Roger Hall pleaded guilty to setting up a spy camera in a Belmont cafe’s toilet.

 

A MAN who hid three spy cameras in the unisex toilet of a Geelong cafe had captured thousands of images of people using the toilet and female staff getting changed, a court has heard.

Roger Hall, 61, from Grovedale, pleaded guilty at Geelong Magistrates Court yesterday to stalking, installing an optical surveillance device, producing child pornography, knowingly possess child porn and visually capture a person’s genitalia.

Prosecutor Senior-Sergeant Steve Iddles said a video camera was found under the basin in the toilet on May 9 last year.

A police search also ­uncovered two cameras strapped under a toilet cistern in the bathroom, which was used by staff and patrons.

When Hall, a cafe regular, attended the venue later that day he was questioned by police and made full admissions to owning the cameras.

But he said they were to keep an eye on elderly in-laws, who had recently had falls.

A search of his house and car led police to seize three pen cameras, six computers, 19 hard drives, 51 USB sticks, 82 data cards, 14 digital recording devices and a large number of DVDs and CDs.

Sen-Sgt Iddles said police in the e-crime squad assessed only half the content and still found 1111 videos of people using the toilet as well as hundreds of images and other videos from around the cafe.

“Nearly all of the file subjects were female and appeared to be aged between 15 and 30 years of age,” he said.

“In a number of the files the subject was a child aged as young as three or four.

“In many instances the subject’s genitalia can be clearly seen.”

Sen-Sgt Iddles said as a result of viewing the material one officer with 20 years’ ­experience had to seek counselling and take time off work.

Defence lawyer Michael Brugman said Hall was deeply ashamed of his behaviour.

“He has wanted to be given an opportunity to say he is sorry and express his remorse,” Mr Brugman said.

“He has come to understand and believe that something broke in his mind.”

He said his client, who has been married for 29 years, had undiagnosed mental health ­issues but was now receiving medical help.

Magistrate Ron Saines ­adjourned the matter for sentencing on July 11.

Sex abuse royal commission: Prosecutor defends using question of 12-year-old’s breasts in legal advice in Scott Volkers case


Updated 10 hours 41 minutes ago

A senior NSW prosecutor has defended using the question of whether 12-year-old girls have breasts to back up her finding that there was little chance former Olympic swimming coach Scott Volkers would be convicted of sex abuse charges.

In 2002 Volkers was charged with a range of sexual abuse offences relating to three young female swimmers – Julie Gilbert, Kylie Rogers and Simone Boyce – but those charges were later dropped.

A royal commission into child sex abuse is currently examining how sports bodies and top prosecutors handled the allegations.

Queensland Police reopened the case against Mr Volkers in December 2002.

In December 2003, Queensland‘s Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) sought the advice of the NSW DPP as to whether the new brief of evidence supporting the allegations had reasonable prospects of conviction.

The NSW DPP, Nicholas Cowdery QC, tasked deputy senior crown prosecutor Margaret Cunneen SC with preparing the advice.

In her advice, Ms Cunneen questioned whether the charges against Mr Volkers had a reasonable chance of success because it was legitimate to ask – following Ms Gilbert’s assertions that Mr Volkers had massaged her breasts – whether 12-year-old swimmers even had breasts.

At the royal commission on Thursday, Ms Cunneen said that was still a valid question for a jury to consider.

“If a defence counsel could raise a doubt that there was any palpable breast tissue, through the clothing of course, then we’d be in trouble trying to say that she had breasts,” she said.

On Tuesday, Ms Gilbert told the ABC’s 7.30 program Ms Cunneen’s questions regarding her allegations were deeply hurtful.

Advice based on whether jury would accept evidence: Cunneen

The counsel assisting the commission, Gail Furness SC, also asked Ms Cunneen whether it was fair to say she does not resile from her original advice to the Queensland DPP regarding any conviction being unlikely.

“I take it from the terms of [your] statement Ms Cunneen that you don’t resile in any way from the advice you gave in 2004 in relation to Mr Volkers?” she said.

Ms Cunneen answered that she stands by the advice.

Scott Volkers

“Bearing in mind it was 2004 and that maybe [there are] some considerations in relation to juries being more amenable in 2014,” she said.

“We were probably only two-thirds of the way through the evolution, in terms of public knowledge and acceptance of child sexual assault cases then.

“But no, I don’t resile from the advice at all.”

She told the commission the credibility of the three alleged abuse victims was not in question, rather she was questioning whether a jury would accept their evidence.

“Sexual assaults are harder to prove than murders and robberies because it so often comes down to one word against another,” she said.

“The judge would tell [the jury] ‘probably is not enough, the gravest suspicion is not enough, you have to be satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that that happened’.”

Volkers was exempt from holding blue card: inquiry

Earlier, the commission heard Mr Volkers was exempt from holding a blue card in Queensland, despite the fact his application was rejected.

He applied for the blue card – which is needed for working with children – along with about 60 other employees from the Queensland Academy of Sport in mid-2008.

The royal commission heard Mr Volkers’ application was the only one to be issued with a negative notice and his application for a blue card was rejected.

The director of Queensland’s blue card system, Michelle Miller, told the inquiry the recommendation to reject Mr Volkers’ application was handed down before it was decided he was exempt from the requirement to hold a blue card because he was a government employee.

On Wednesday, Swimming Queensland chief executive Kevin Hasemann agreed to review Mr Volkers’ status as a life member of the organisation and a Hall of Famer.

Mr Hasemann admitted to the commission he did not investigate the allegations against Mr Volkers before employing him.

The hearing continues.

Harley Hicks-baby killer gets life


Harley Hicks trial: day by day

GALLERY: The Harley Hicks trial

Sentence will never end family’s pain: A look back and the trial and what couldn’t be told

10am: JUSTICE Stephen Kaye has begun addressing the Supreme Court as he prepares to deliver his sentence for baby killer Harley Hicks.

10.12am: Justice Kaye said what Hicks did in Zayden’s room when he killed him with considerable violence was clear ‘but what is unclear is why you did it’.

10.16am: Justice Kaye said the full account of the injuries to Zayden was harrowing to say the least.

He said he could only imagine the heartbreak of Zayden’s mother, Casey Veal, and those who loved Zayden.

10.18am: Justice Kaye said Hicks struck the fatal blows because he ‘specifically intended to kill him’.

10.23am: Justice Kaye said Hicks put up an innocent man as a false killer ‘in order to save your skin’.

10.24am: ‘Your offending places this case in the worst cases of murder that come before this court. The life of a baby is particularly special and precious. What you did was totally and utterly evil,’ Justice Kaye said.

10.28am: Justice Kaye said ‘You have shown no remorse for what you have done’.

10.33am: Justice Kaye said ‘At no stage of the trial could I detect from you any sign of remorse’.

Justice Kaye said he observed Hicks during the trial and he showed no indication of any pity for the baby or the family.

10.37am: Justice Kaye says of particular concern was Hicks’ criminal history and escalating violence.

‘There are other victims of your crime who have suffered and continue to suffer,’ Justice Kaye said.

10.40am: The English language is ‘entirely inadequate’ to describe their grief and anguish, Justice Kaye said.

10.41am: Justice Kaye quotes Zayden’s mother’s victim impact statement that says, ‘I miss Zayden each second of each day. Words cannot describe the pain I feel for both my sons.

‘I am serving a life sentence .. all I have is memories and most of them are tainted by this crime.’

Justice Kaye quotes father James Whitting’s impact statement:

‘The tragic and needless loss of my son Zayden devastated us all. I don’t even know where to begin to express the pain in my heart.’

10.43am: Justice Kaye says he quoted the statements to show the ‘indescribable grief and pain as a direct consequence of the crime’.

10.46am: Justice Kaye said Hicks used alcohol and drugs from a young age and methyl amphetamine on a regular basis since 2011.

10.48am: Justice Kaye says Hicks did not always comply with conditions ordering him to get help for his addictions.

10.51am: Justice Kaye said Hicks did not have a psychiatric disorder but his personal history showed he suffered behavioural disorders from an early age, compounded by his family life, sexual abuse and long standing abuse of alcohol and drugs.

10.52am: Justice Kaye says Hicks shows poor prospects for rehabilitation.

10.53am: ‘You are a danger to the community. Especially to the defenceless and vulnerable members of it’, Justice Kaye says.

10.54am: ‘There’s a real need to protect the community from you’, Justice Kaye says.

10.56am: ‘All human life is sacrosanct but the community places special value on the innocent and the lives who are young and vulnerable,’ Justice Kaye says.

11am:  ‘The primary victim of your crime was a helpless defenceless infant,’ but Justice Kaye says he must consider Hicks’ age.

11.01am: Harley Hicks sentenced to life in prison.

11.02am: Harley Hicks sentenced to life in prison with a minimum non-parole period of 32 years.

11.06am: Hicks has been removed from court.

File picture: Harley Hicks.

File picture: Harley Hicks.

Justice Kaye said Hicks ‘unleashed a ferocious attack on Zayden’ that night and the prosecution’s case was very powerful.

Extra security is in place outside the Bendigo court ahead of Harley Hicks' sentencing today. Picture: GLENN DANIELS

Extra security is in place outside the Bendigo court ahead of Harley Hicks’ sentencing today. Picture: GLENN DANIELS

Extra security is in place outside the Bendigo court ahead of Harley Hicks’ sentence today.

Hicks, 21, of Long Gully, was found guilty by a Supreme Court jury in April of murdering Bendigo baby Zayden Veal-Whitting.

Hicks was out committing a series of burglaries overnight on June 14/15, 2012, when he entered Zayden’s Eaglehawk Road home and bludgeoned the 10-month-old to death with a home-made baton.

More to come.

He was just a baby. A tiny, perfect little baby.

A baby growing too quickly into a little boy… but a little boy who was never given the chance to become one.

A little boy who had never celebrated a birthday. Never played in mud puddles or raced to the gate to greet his mum or dad after work.

Harley Hicks taken from court after the jury convicted him of murder in April.Harley Hicks taken from court after the jury convicted him of murder in April.

Read all about the the trial at the Bendigo Advertiser

He had taken his first few steps, but never run his first race. He hadn’t had much time to wrestle his brother, choose a favourite football team or line his parents’ walls with art.

He barely had time to live.

Zayden Veal

Zayden Veal Photo: Supplied

Because on one horrific night in June 2012, a monster entered his home and bludgeoned him to death.

The helpless, beautiful little boy was struck 25 times to the face and at least eight times to the head with a blunt instrument as he lay in his cot. The baby monitor was turned off in the minutes before or after the killing, and his blankets were placed up to his nose before his killer left him to die. He could have already been dead.

Weeks later, that instrument was found to be a home-made baton made of copper wire and electrical tape – and it was covered in the little boy’s DNA.

It was also covered in DNA that matched his killer.

Almost two years after 10-month-old Zayden Veal-Whitting was killed, Harley Hicks will this week be sentenced for his murder.

He is yet to tell the court why he stole the life of a helpless baby – and has shown no remorse for the brutal killing.

On the morning of June 15, 2012, Bendigo woke to a tragedy beyond comprehension.

What started as a report to police of a burglary at an Eaglehawk Road home was quickly followed by a desperate call to paramedics to help revive a child.  As investigators were called to the scene, tongues were already wagging and finding reasons to place blame. But blame in all the wrong areas.

Casey Veal had just found her beautiful little boy beaten to death in his cot. Her then partner Mathew Tisell heard her chilling scream and ran to help.

As Zayden was taken to hospital, police tape was put around his home on Eaglehawk Road. It became a crime scene.

Zayden’s father received a call to go to the hospital. He had no idea why, but the house where Zayden was staying with his mother and then stepfather was on the way. James and his mother Anne drove past the police tape. They had no idea what had taken place. No one did.

It was at the hospital James was told by a social worker she was sorry for the loss of his son. He was lost. Shattered. Confused. James still didn’t know what had happened, or which son had died.

Casey didn’t have the answers, other than what she had woken to find their baby bruised and limp.

Her house had been burgled and their son had been killed.

James knew neither Casey nor Matt were responsible for the death – but who was?

The microscope was on anyone who had any association with the Eaglehawk Road home.

But as the family came together in the hospital to learn the shocking and heartbreaking news, police started receiving reports of a number of burglaries in the Long Gully area on the night of Zayden’s death.

More reports would follow in the next few days.

There were similarities at many, including the burglary at Eaglehawk Road.

That was when police turned their attention to known offenders in the area – and their intelligence turned them to Green Street – the home of Harley Hicks.

An initial warrant allowed police to search for stolen goods by known thieves living at the address on June 17.

They were looking for goods stolen from properties throughout Bendigo and Long Gully on June 14/15.

Even the most experienced investigators were confronted by the filth they saw during that search.

But among the rubbish they found a set top box stolen from a property across the road from the Eaglehawk Road home where Zayden was killed, which put one of the occupants of the house in the area at the time of the burglaries and the death.

Each of the occupants was interviewed, but Hicks had already fled Bendigo, leaving for Gisborne the day after Zayden’s murder, a day earlier than planned.

The Victoria Police Homicide Squad believed Hicks was ‘merely a person of interest’ because he was a known burglar and stolen goods were found at his address, so they set about finding him.

Hicks was in Gisborne with his then-girlfriend Martina at that stage – searching the burglaries and the baby’s death on the internet. He had also cut up his tracksuit.

When Martina told him she had received a phone call to say the police were looking for him, Hicks fled. He spent the night at the Gisborne football oval, before phoning his father John Hicks the following day.

Police received information to say John was travelling to Gisborne to collect his son and return to Bendigo on June 19, so detectives set up an intercept at Big Hill.

It was there that Hicks was arrested, while hiding in the rear seat of his father’s car.

At that stage he was only a suspect for the burglary at Eaglehawk Road.

But it was from that moment, the pieces started coming together for investigators – and it was Hicks himself who gave it away.

He soon became a person of interest regarding the death of Zayden, but there was still nothing that put him in the house.

From the minute he was arrested on the Calder Highway, Hicks immediately put up a false killer. He started shooting off at the mouth, telling police from the outset he was with another man on the night of the burglaries. Naming an innocent man as being with him that night.

Over three days, Hicks told the story of being out that night with that man and parting ways when they got to Eaglehawk Road.

That man was arrested on June 19, but there was a problem with Hicks’ story. He had an iron-clad alibi. He was never out that night with Harley Hicks. He did not commit any burglaries and did not kill Zayden.

That information led police to a second search of the Green Street address.

This time they found a wallet reported stolen by Mr Tisell in a car outside the home of the Hicks brothers, which the occupants used for ‘storage’ – and, they found a baton. It was still some time before that baton was connected to the killing.

Throughout the trial, Hicks’ brothers tried to say that instrument was used as a dog’s chew toy, but there was no evidence a dog had been anywhere near it. Martina, however, had seen that baton hidden behind a picture frame. It was the murder weapon.

Hicks was not questioned over the murder, but on the morning of June 21, he offered a plea of guilty without admission to a series of thefts, burglaries and attempted burglaries overnight on June 14 and 15 – 11 matters in total, but excluding that at Eaglehawk Road.

He also pleaded guilty to 10 other offences relating to thefts and burglaries committed prior to that night.

Hicks was sentenced to 12 months’ youth detention.

Those pleas were excluded from the Supreme Court murder trial because Hicks’ defence successfully argued it would be unfair to have them admitted in circumstances where he pleaded guilty to avoid being remanded in custody in an adult prison.

Hicks told his legal team he didn’t want to go adult prison because of an allegation of sexual assault he had previously made against an inmate at Port Phillip Prison. He wanted the matter finalised that day so he would more than likely go into youth detention.

Hicks admitted an attempted burglary at 23 Duncan Street, a burglary at 30 Wilson Street and the theft from a vehicle in Jackson Street, where the set top box was stolen, but denied any involvement with the other offences that night at Dillon, Bray and Bolt streets and Havilah Road. His defence team said he pleaded guilty to all matters, knowing that if the matter was adjourned he would be remanded in adult custody because of outstanding matters before the court.

Hicks’ defence lawyer David Hallowes further submitted that if the pleas of guilty were admitted in the trial, his lawyer would need to be called as a witness and that would reveal that Hicks had previously spent time in an adult jail, which would be prejudicial to his client.

Crown prosecutor Michele Williams SC argued Hicks knew what he was doing and did not dispute or deny any of the allegations in the police summary. She said Hicks was familiar with the legal system having had previous court appearances in other criminal matters and was looking after his own interests.

In ruling against allowing the pleas of guilty to all matters during the murder trial, Justice Stephen Kaye said the decision was not clear cut as Hicks knew precisely the charges brought against him and there was no evidence of any misconception or misunderstanding.

But he said Hicks was a young man with a pressing reason for not wanting to return to adult custody and based on the admissions he had made during his interview with police, there was a strong likelihood he would have been given a custodial sentence.

Justice Kaye said Hicks’ lawyer at the time did not have sufficient information to properly advise her client as he had entered the guilty pleas so quickly after a three-day interview with police and the police brief had not been compiled.

He said there were significant questions as to the reliability of the pleas of guilty as truthful admissions by Hicks of his guilt and it seemed clear he pleaded guilty by way of expediency rather than because he admitted the allegations against him were true.

On June 21, 2012, Hicks was sent to a youth detention centre for the thefts and burglaries. But the investigation into the murder of a child continued.

Hicks by now was a suspect. He had put up lies about being with another man that night and a wallet belonging to Zayden’s then stepfather was found at Hicks’ address.

His three-day interview with police, and time spent in the holding cells with an undercover police operative, revealed information only the killer would know.

In the pre-trial arguments, Hicks’ defence team tried to have the record of interview excluded from the murder trial, but their request was denied.

Sitting in his office reviewing the evidence some weeks after Hicks was sent to youth detention, Detective Senior Constable Tony Harwood of the homicide squad compared baby Zayden’s injuries with a baton collected during a search of Green Street. It was sent for forensic tests. There was a match.

One end of the baton was covered in Zayden’s DNA – the other carried the DNA of Harley Hicks.

So too, did the stolen set top box – stolen from a property Hicks had admitted being at on the night of the killing.

On September 24, 2012, Harley Hicks appeared briefly in the Melbourne Magistrates Court charged with murder. He later entered a plea of not guilty.

When his first lie about a false killer didn’t work, Hicks turned to the DNA evidence as his defence.

The trouble with the DNA was that Hicks had an identical twin, and identical twins have identical DNA.

As that fact was told to the Supreme Court by a forensic officer, Harley winked at Detective Harwood from the dock. It was a glimpse of the cockiness shown during his record of interview with police.

But that argument only pointed further to his guilt.

Harley’s twin, Ashley Hicks, also had an alibi. Despite the defence team doing its best to ask the question as to just which twin killed the baby, Ashley’s alibi stacked up.

He was at home with his father that night. John Hicks supported his son’s story.

Ashley didn’t kill Zayden.

Harley Hicks did.

The court was told was that Hicks was out committing a series of burglaries overnight on June 14/15, 2012, when he entered 10-month-old Zayden’s home and killed him. No one knows why, but the prosecution put to the jury that it was possible the baby woke and Hicks needed to silence him to avoid being caught stealing from the house. He had ‘hit the jackpot’ Ms Williams said, finding almost $2000 in cash, and did not want to be detected.

Earlier in the night, Hicks told his brother Josh, Josh’s girlfriend Danielle and Martina he was heading out. Over his shoulder was a black bag. Josh said his brother always carried that shoulder bag. The same bag described by a couple who chased a man from their yard about midnight. The chase during which Hicks would lose his shoes.

Martina would later tell the court Hicks left twice that night, once to buy drugs, and later again.

The jury heard Hicks told police he was on the shard that night; crystal methamphetamine, known as ice.

But he said the man he was out with that night – the false killer he put up – had been using the methamphetamine ice and was “really, really aggressive … scary aggressive”.

The prosecution said Hicks was actually talking about himself.

But the jury couldn’t be told the extent of Hicks’ habit – and for how long he had been a drug user.

Hicks’ history includes years of repeated drug abuse, including cannabis, heroin, ecstasy, alcohol and ice.

Nor could the jury be told of his priors, which were escalating.

They knew Hicks was already on the run from police that night. Indeed, only three days earlier officers had gone to his home looking for him.

But the jury didn’t know Hicks had a long criminal history, which started at the age of 14, and included thefts, criminal damage, aggravated burglary and armed robbery.

The murder and series of burglaries and thefts were committed two months after Hicks was placed on a Community Corrections Order for armed robbery.

But on this night, Hicks was still stealing whatever he could from easily accessible places – glove boxes in unlocked cars, and houses.

The back door at Eaglehawk Road could not be locked.

But because his earlier pleas of guilty to those offences in the Magistrates Court, excluding the burglary at Eaglehawk Road, could not be admitted during the trial, Detective Harwood had to reinvestigate each one.

He needed fresh evidence during the Supreme Court trial – but led to a hiccup in proceedings.

The chase where he lost his shoes was pivotal. So too, were his movements afterwards – and just what was he wearing on his feet?

Martina reported Hicks was wearing a pair of motorcycle boots the day the pair left for Gisborne on June 15. She had never seen them before and they were far too big for him.

But the occupants at a house in Dillon Street burgled on June 14/15, 2012, knew the boots only too well, as they belonged to them.

But it wasn’t until a fresh statement was made by the Dillon Street occupants on March 13 this year that the boots were reported stolen that night. It was two weeks into the murder trial.

The prosecution then sought to have the boots admitted as evidence so the sole could be compared to a footprint on a couch in the rear yard of the Eaghlehawk Road home where Zayden was killed.

That new piece of evidence brought the trial to a standstill.

Sixteen prosecution witnesses had already been called and the trial was well-advanced.

A day was set aside for legal argument, during which the defence put to Justice Kaye that the evidence had come to light late in the trial and the prosecution had opened the case stating no link could be drawn between a mark on the couch, which had been pushed by the residents at the property against a fence, and the accused man.

Mr Hallowes said the prosecution had access to the boots before the trial and knew Hicks was wearing them from June 15 to 18.

He said had the boots been tendered as evidence earlier, the defence may have approached the case differently and cross-examined witnesses in another manner.

Justice Kaye agreed the evidence was produced late in the trial and whilst he accepted the statement from the Dillon Street resident might have prompted investigators to look at the link, there was sufficient evidence to draw the link beforehand.

In his ruling, Justice Kaye said it was “a pity this has come to pass’’.

“I am loathe, in a case like this, to shut out evidence of this type and I certainly do not wish to be critical but the fact is little new has emerged. The police had the boots in their possession, they had a cut out of the print, they had Martina Lawn’s evidence in relation to her understanding that the boots had been stolen that night and the matter was raised by Mr Hallowes at the committal. In addition, we had two weeks of pre-trial argument for the Crown to consider issues such as this. It is not my role to punish or criticise the prosecution, but in weighing up the fairness of excluding it, it is a factor that must be taken into account.

“Fundamentally,  my role is to ensure that the accused man receives a fair trial. In my view, as I have stated, there would be strong prejudice to the accused in the conduct of the trial if were to admit the evidence.

“No direction given by me could allay that prejudice before the jury. I am of the view that prejudice does outweigh any probative value of the evidence and so I have come to the inevitable conclusion that I must exclude it.’’

Few could argue Hicks wasn’t afforded a fair trial.

The law dictates all accused persons are entitled to the presumption of innocence – and that must be the starting point. It was up to the prosecution to prove Hicks guilty.

The ruling about the boots was made and the trial continued.

But at the same time, something changed.

In the early days of the five-week trial, Hicks took notes. Pages and pages of colour-coded scrawl. Some in red, other lines in blue. He seemed to be paying attention. But as the trial went into days and weeks, the notes slowly stopped. His attention was sporadic and on one occasion, he could be heard snoring in the dock. A break in proceedings was called before the jurors picked up on his nap – but there’s no doubt some would have noticed.

This jury was astute. The prosecution, defence and Justice Kaye spoke several times of the particularly careful and observant group that formed the jury.

A jury charged with the responsibility of a harrowing trial. A jury charged with taking everything in.

And they did.

They would have known each time Hicks started shaking – a shake of the leg that became louder and louder each time evidence linking him to the murder was put before the court. The shaking alone told a powerful story – he was nervous, and more so at certain times. They would have noticed.

And they certainly noticed the antics of Hicks’ supporters in court. The interaction between Hicks and his brother in the witness box, which attracted a caution. The note-taking by Hicks’ fiancee,  who followed witnesses from the courtroom – actions that came close to having her found in contempt of court.

They would not have known about the stern warning given by Justice Kaye to Hicks’ mum about posting photos of her son in the dock on Facebook – but that would have been the exception.

This jury didn’t miss a trick, and there were a few of them.

But importantly, they never lost a sense of why they were there – and that was to deliver a verdict in a trial involving the horrific, violent death of a baby.

They listened to, and considered, every piece of evidence. They questioned. They asked for breaks when everyone grew tired. It was exhausting.

But they also watched a family sitting in the courtroom in the hope of justice being served for their beautiful little boy. They were told to separate emotion and look at the facts, which they did. But there was no doubt they were well aware of the trust Zayden’s family put in them to do that properly.

Little Zayden’s family attended court every day. Their heads would fall every time a new piece of distressing evidence was put to the court, but their strength kept them there.

No one in court could ever properly express just how brave that family was.

The brave mother who told her story of finding her baby beaten to death in his cot.

The last time she saw her son alive was when she gave him a bottle and helped him re-settle. He had a cold and needed some medication.

The next day her little boy’s injuries brought the most hardened police and paramedics to tears.

A brave father and his partner who never got to hold their little boy and say goodbye. Who listened to every word said to defend their son’s killer.

A father who remembers a little boy who only a day before he died said the word dad for the first time.

Grandparents equally heartbroken and robbed of the love of a small child who was their world.

The pain of the trial ended for them when the jury delivered a guilty verdict. Today, Justice Kaye will hand down his sentence.

The legal process will be over. Hicks will be sentenced for his heinous crime.

But there will never, ever be justice for baby Zayden, or those who loved him.

This tragedy does not end with Zayden’s death. It does not end with a verdict, or a sentence. It will ever end for those he is survived by. Their pain will never, ever end.


 

The Harley Hicks trial – the case day by day

THE HARLEY HICKS TRIAL – DAY 1…

Supreme Court trial begins

A BENDIGO baby was struck at least 25 times to the head and killed with a home-made baton during a burglary at his Long Gully home, the Victorian Supreme Court has heard. Read full story here

THE HARLEY HICKS TRIAL – DAY 2…

Mother tells of moment she found her baby covered in blood

THE mother of a Bendigo baby bludgeoned to death in his cot has told the Supreme Court of the harrowing moment she found her son limp and covered in blood. Read full story here

THE HARLEY HICKS TRIAL – DAY 3…

Twin brother says he was at home on night of Bendigo baby murder

THE twin brother of accused man Harley Hicks says he was at home the night baby Zayden Veal-Whitting was killed and did not commit the murder. Read fully story here 

Mum’s partner says he ‘loved those boys’

THE partner of Casey Veal has told the Supreme Court he loved Ms Veal’s children and did not kill baby Zayden. Read full story here

THE HARLEY HICKS TRIAL – DAY 4…

I saw baton in Harley’s bedroom: Witness

THE older brother of Harley Hicks has told the court he saw a baton on the floor of the bedroom of the accused man several days after baby Zayden Veal-Whitting was found bludgeoned to death in his cot. Read full story here

THE HARLEY HICKS TRIAL – DAY 5…

Hicks trial hears of backyard intruder

Accused seen leaving house wearing grey hoodie and carrying bag. Witness tells of backyard intruder. Read full storyhere

THE HARLEY HICKS TRIAL – DAY 6… 

Questions raised about twin’s alibi

QUESTIONS have been raised about the alibi of the twin brother of the man accused of murdering baby Zayden Veal-Whitting on the night of the child’s death. Read full story here 

THE HARLEY HICKS TRIAL – DAY 7…

Hicks trial: Twin brother was home that night, court hears

THE twin brother of the man accused of murdering baby Zayden Veal-Whitting was at home on the night of the child’s death, the father of Harley and Ashley Hicks has told the Supreme Court. Read full story here

Weapon was not focus of search

POLICE were not looking for a murder weapon the first time they searched the residence of the man accused of murdering baby Zayden Veal-Whitting, the Supreme Court has heard. Full story here

THE HARLEY HICKS TRIAL – DAY 8…

Ex girlfriend was too scared to tell police what she saw

THE former girlfriend of the man accused of murdering baby Zayden Veal-Whitting has told the Supreme Court she was too scared to tell police what she saw in the days that followed the baby’s death. Full story here

THE HARLEY HICKS TRIAL – DAY 9…

Stolen wallet links to baton

A WALLET and identification cards belonging to the stepfather of baby Zayden Veal-Whitting were found in a car at the home of the man accused of the child’s murder, the Supreme Court has heard. Read full story here

THE HARLEY HICKS TRIAL – DAY 10….

Court hears Hicks tell of burglaries and ICE

THE man accused of murdering baby Zayden Veal-Whitting told an undercover police officer he had been on ICE and was committing burglaries the night the child was killed. Full story here

DNA on baton matches accused man

A HOME-MADE baton alleged to be the weapon used to kill a 10-month-old baby was found carrying DNA matching the man accused of the murder, the Supreme Court has heard. Read full story here

THE HARLEY HICKS TRIAL – DAY 11…

No blood on baton: expert

A HOME-MADE baton which prosecutors allege was used to bludgeon a baby to death did not have traces of blood, a court has heard. Full story here

THE HARLEY HICKS TRIAL – DAY 12..

Defence questions search

THE defence counsel of the man accused of murdering Long Gully baby Zayden Veal-Whitting has questioned how thoroughly police searched for a murder weapon. Full story here

THE HARLEY HICKS TRIAL – DAY 13..

Detective links baton with baby’s injuries

THE detective  responsible for the investigation into the killing of Zayden Veal-Whitting says the discovery of a home-made baton alleged by the Crown to be the murder weapon was a “chance finding’’. Full story here

Crown gives closing address in Hicks trial. 

THE Crown is giving its closing address in the Supreme Court in the hope of proving beyond reasonable doubt the accused man Harley Hicks killed baby Zayden Veal-Whitting. Read full story here

THE HARLEY HICKS TRIAL – DAY 14…

Crown says case is ‘jigsaw’

PROSECUTORS have told a Supreme Court jury the case against the man accused of murdering Long Gully baby Zayden Veal-Whitting is like a jigsaw puzzle. Read full story here

THE HARLEY HICKS TRIAL – DAY 15…

‘False killer’ story is about Hicks, Crown says

THE crown says a story made up about a ‘false killer’ by the man accused of murdering baby Zayden Veal-Whitting was actually his own story. Full story here

Hicks jury asked to put aside prejudice

THE jury has been asked to put aside any prejudice against the man accused of murdering baby Zayden Veal-Whitting and judge the case against him on the evidence. Full story here

THE HARLEY HICKS TRIAL – DAY 16…

Hicks told lies to protect: defence

A SUPREME Court jury has been asked to consider the possibility Harley Hicks told lies to protect someone else, possibly his twin brother. Read full story here

THE HARLEY HICKS TRIAL – DAY 17…

Defence says baton was murder weapon

LAWYERS defending the man accused of murdering baby Zayden Veal-Whitting have ruled out the child’s stepfather as a possible ‘other’ for causing the death – but have put to the Supreme Court that Harley Hicks is covering for someone. Read full story here

THE HARLEY HICKS TRIAL – DAY 18…

Hicks defence says evidence doesn’t fit

THE defence team representing Harley Hicks says there are five key pieces evidence that don’t fit with the prosecution’s case the accused man killed Zayden Veal-Whitting. Read full story here

THE VERDICT: 

Harley Hicks found guilty of murder. Full coverage here

Hicks guilty of baby murder. Read story here

A liar, a thief and a killer

Hicks’ mum breached judge’s order

Woman cautioned in Hicks trial for following witnesses out of court

Jury asks questions about Hicks coaching brother in witness box

EDITORIAL: Thoughts are with Zayden’s family.

Zayden’s family tells of heavy hearts

THE family of Zayden Veal-Whitting doesn’t want to live in a world of hate – but that intense and deep emotion blankets them because of the “monster’’ who killed their little boy. Read full story here

The plea hearing

Crown calls for life sentence for baby killer in plea hearing in the Supreme Court.

Mother’s plea to drug users

Mother of baby Zayden Veal-Whitting wants son’s killer to stay behind bars for life … and makes plea to ice users to think of her little boy and give up the drug. Read full story here

Hicks to be sentenced

Harley Hicks will be sentenced on June 13. Full story here

Galleries: 

GALLERY: The Harley Hicks trial

GALLERY: The committal

GALLERY: The trial

GALLERY: Exhibits tendered during the trial