Max Sica found Not Guilty of child’s rape and abuse


This case is one I have not been following since it went to trial, but I see it reported this morning that Sica has been found Not Guilty of the 21 sex offences that date back from 2004. Report from Courier Mail below… 

Interesting that it has been reported that “Sica has become the latest in a growing long line of infamous criminals to win judge only trials – including notorious pedophiles Dennis Ferguson and Roy Schloss.” 

While Judge only trials are rare and difficult to obtain, if a trend develops such as has been suggested, I would be surprised if there are not many more defendant’s in the future who try to argue for a judge only trial.

   

Convicted triple murderer Max Sica found not guilty of child’s rape, abuse

CONVICTED triple murderer Massimo “Max” Sica has been found not guilty of raping and repeatedly abusing a young girl over a four year period.

Sica – who is already serving a record 35-years in jail for the 2003 murder of the Singh siblings – is the latest in a growing list of reviled convicted criminals – including infamous pedophiles Dennis Ferguson and Roy Schloss – to be a acquitted after a rare judge only trial.

Brisbane District Court judge Michael Shanahan delivered the verdict to a stunned packed court – including Sica’s parents Carlo and Anna and his siblings – on Friday morning.

Judge Shanahan deliberated almost two weeks before handing down his verdict 21 sex offences – including child rape.

Sica received three life terms of imprisonment – an”d ordered to serve a minimum of 35-years – for the savage murder of the Singh siblings Neelma, 24, Kunal, 18, and Sidhi, 12.

Judge Shanahan, in his written 50-page decision, said medical evidence revealed the girl physically showed all the hallmarks of being a virgin and could not have been subjected to the sexual attack alleged.

“There is one fact … which causes me significant concern,” he said.

“Considering the medical evidence I cannot be satisfied beyond a seasonable doubt that the penetrative (sexual) acts occurred as described by the (girl).”

Judge Shanahan also commented on the girl’s “credibility”, saying her evidence raised a “number of issues of concern.”

“I am not satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that any of the counts have been proved … (and) verdicts of not guilty are entered to each of the counts.”

Sica, who stood ramrod straight in the dock of Court 31 for the verdict, breathed out deeply and smiled as he heard Judge Shanahan’s decision.

Outside court, Sica’s jubilant brother, Claudio, said: “Justice has finally been served, but not fully.”

“There was no other verdict that could have been given.”

Sica has become the latest in a growing long line of infamous criminals to win judge only trials – including notorious pedophiles Dennis Ferguson and Roy Schloss.

Sica was granted the judge-only trial after his lawyers convinced the court Sica’s notoriety would make it almost impossible to find and impartial panel of jurors anywhere in Queensland.

Sica early last month pleaded not guilty to 21 sex offences, including two counts of rape and one of maintaining a sexual relationship with the child between November 15, 2004 and September 10, 2008.

Then aged 35 to 39, he was also charged with nine counts each of unlawful carnal knowledge and indecent dealing of a child under 16.

The court had been told Sica allegedly had sex with the child, then aged between nine and 13, more than 100 times during the four-year period.

In July, a Brisbane Supreme Court jury found Sica guilty of the 2003 murder of the Singh siblings.

He was sentenced to three life terms, with a record minimum non-parole period of 35-years.

Sica has appealed those verdicts, with a two day hearing scheduled to start in the Court of Appeal in Brisbane on May 27.

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Vicki Arnold and Julie-Anne Leahy – Murder at Cherry Tree Creek


The 1991 deaths of Vicki Arnold (27) and her best-friend Julie-Anne Leahy (26) at Cherry Tree Creek in Far North Queensland have captivated the attention of the State and the nation for over 21 years and even spawned the writing of a book over the mystery.

Coroner’s inquests held in 1992 and 1999 found that Ms. Arnold bashed her best friend with a rock, slit her throat and shot her twice before turning the gun on herself – firing a shot though her thigh and two shots through her own head in an apparent murder-suicide.

From the beginning however there were many who questioned the “official” version of events and in a stunning development on 1 March 2013, following a third inquest, State Coroner Mr. Michael Barnes ordered Ms. Leahy’s husband, Alan, stand trial on two counts of murder.  Mr. Leahy maintains his innocence, but for the family of Ms. Arnold and in particular her 87 year-old mother Vida, the findings of the Coroner mark a step in their 21 year fight to clear Vicki’s name…

With an arrest warrant for Alan Leahy’s pending, here’s hoping that despite any inadequacies in the initial Police investigation, something that more closely resembles the truth will finally be revealed and confirmed in Court.

More details of the case can be found below courtesy of the Courier Mail and the following links:

Coroners Findings – 1 March 2013

Murder at Cherry Tree Creek – 60 Minutes

Third Party to Murder: The Sequel

Husband Alan Leahy ordered to stand trial for murder of wife Julie-Anne and friend Vicki Arnold 21 years ago

  • by: Kate Kyriacou, Peter Michael
  • From: The Courier Mail
  • March 02, 2013 12:00AM

Leahy, Arnold murder graphic

FOR 21 years, Vicki Arnold’s family has been told the mild-mannered chartered accountant bashed her best friend with a rock, slit her throat and shot her twice before turning the gun on herself – firing two shots through her own head in an apparent murder-suicide.

She did this, according to a police investigation and two coronial inquests, despite having no motive and no history of depression or any other mental health issues.

Yesterday, State Coroner Michael Barnes tore holes in the findings of police and the previous inquests – declaring it was more likely Ms Arnold, 27, and her best friend Julie-Anne Leahy, 26, were murdered.

In an extraordinary hearing before a packed courtroom, Mr Barnes ordered Mrs Leahy’s husband Alan stand trial on two counts of murder.

A warrant was issued for his arrest and he is expected to be extradited from Western Australia to face court in Queensland.

Mr Leahy yesterday told The Courier-Mail he would maintain his innocence.

 THE husband of a woman found shot dead with her best friend in 1991 will face trial for the deaths after a third Coronial inquest in the case.

Vicki Arnold's vehicle at the crime scene.

ARREST ORDERED: Vicki Arnold’s vehicle at the crime scene. Picture: Aaron Francis

“Of course I will fight the charges,” he said.

The bodies of the women were found inside the Leahy family 4WD in remote bushland near Cairns in August 1991 – two weeks after they failed to return from a late-night fishing trip.

“Those involved in the early stages of the investigation failed to gather, lost or corrupted evidence that may have established the truth of what happened at Cherry Tree Creek on the night of July 26, 1991,” Mr Barnes said.

“They then set about squeezing what evidence was left into an explanation that required no further action.”

He said two coronial inquests went along with the police opinion that the women’s deaths were an open-shut murder-suicide.

Vicki Arnold at work in her Hall Chadwick Office

SLOW JUSTICE: Vicki Arnold’s family at her graveside August 14, 1991. Picture: Aaron Francis

The court heard Mrs Leahy’s husband told police the women had left home after midnight to go fishing and never returned.

Mr Barnes said it was telling that Mr Leahy spent that night in bed with his wife’s 16-year-old sister Vanessa.

“Alan Leahy spent considerable time in his wife’s sister’s bed on the night the two women disappeared,” he said.

“A possible interpretation for what would seem cavalier behaviour is that he knew his wife would not be returning.”

Mr Barnes also found:

  • While Ms Arnold had bought the gun that was used to shoot the women, the most likely scenario was that she had done so for someone else. Mr Barnes said she knew nothing about guns, yet insisted on buying a .22 rifle while giving various explanations as to why she needed it.
  • Ms Arnold had neither the equipment or the know-how to saw down a rifle. Mr Leahy did and lied about owning a vice, which would have been used to shorten the barrel.
  • Ms Arnold had no motive, appeared content the night she disappeared and had apparently embarked on a midnight fishing trip despite having made work appointments for 6am the following day.
  • It was unlikely Ms Arnold had shot herself in the back of the head after first shooting herself in the thigh and chin.
  • Trajectory examinations found one bullet was likely fired from the back seat.
  • The sawn-off barrel from the gun, a hacksaw and instruction manual were placed inside a pillow slip from the Leahy house and left in Ms Arnold’s driveway two weeks after her body was found. Mr Barnes said “only someone who had themselves been involved in the deaths had a motive to do that”.
Vicki Arnold and Julie-Ann Leahy

SHOT DEAD: Best friends Vicki Arnold and Julie-Anne Leahy

He said while Ms Arnold did not appear to have a motive, Mr Leahy did.

The court heard Mr Leahy had been having an affair with his sister-in-law, had mounting debts and stood to gain $120,000 from his wife’s life insurance. He also lied about owning true crime magazines – one depicting a murder made to look like a murder-suicide. The court heard the day before the women disappeared, Mrs Leahy had asked her younger sister to stay home from school – a request the teenager was convinced meant Mrs Leahy wanted to confront her about the affair.

Mr Barnes ordered Mr Leahy to stand trial at the next sittings of the Supreme Court in Cairns, giving him 14 days to surrender to police.

The women’s relatives in court – and others viewing the hearing live in Cairns – cried and applauded as Mr Barnes delivered his finding.

Mrs Leahy’s brother Peter Martin punched the air.

Vicki Arnold at work in her Hall Chadwick Office

LONG BLAMED: Vicki Arnold at work in her Hall Chadwick office. Picture: Aaron Francis

“I’m on top of the world,” he said. “(The decision) takes Vicki straight out of the picture – as it should have been from word go. We can wake up tomorrow morning and have a smile on our face.”

In Cairns, Ms Arnold’s wheelchair-bound mother Vida sobbed as Mr Leahy was ordered to stand trial.

“I’ve waited nearly 22 years for this result,” she said. “I’ve lost a lot of sleep over the years. Who knows if I’ll get any sleep tonight.” She thanked Mr Barnes, her lawyer Philip Bovey and State MP Curtis Pitt for correcting a “miscarriage of justice”.

———-

THE EVIDENCE

The crime scene

Mrs Leahy’s throat was slashed, her body held upright in the driver’s seat by a seat belt wrapped around her neck. She had been bashed with a rock and shot twice in the head. Ms Arnold’s body was slumped on the passenger-side floor with bullet wounds to her thigh, jaw and behind the right ear, her hand resting on the stock of a sawn-off rifle with a shell in the breech.

State Coroner Michael Barnes said he doubted the gun would have come to rest in such a manner.

The assumption

Within four hours, police declared the incident a murder-suicide. The crime scene was cleared and the 4WD towed to Yungaburra, where it was stored inappropriately and the elements tainted any forensic evidence.

The gun

The gun’s barrel and the hacksaw used to cut it down were discovered in Ms Arnold’s garage two weeks after the women were found dead. Two police officers, Bill Hendrikse and Sgt Bernie Wilce, swore in the witness box the pillow case containing the parts was not there during an initial search of the unit. Ms Arnold’s former neighbour, Pamela Fox, said she found the gun parts in the garage the day after she saw someone running from the home during the night.

The magazines

Mr Leahy gave police a series of murder-themed magazines after the women’s deaths. He told officers Ms Arnold borrowed them from the Leahy household. But he told the inquest he did not remember the magazines belonging to the family – despite most of them having the name “Leahy” scrawled on the inside cover.

The sister

During the hearing Mrs Leahy’s teenage sister, Vanessa, gave evidence that she was in a sexual relationship with Mr Leahy and was terrified her sister would find out.

———-

MURDER MYSTERY AT CHERRY TREE CREEK

How the events unfolded

July 26, 1991: Julie-Anne Leahy, 26, and Vicki Arnold, 27, are reported missing after Mrs Leahy’s husband, Alan, says they failed to return from a fishing trip to Lake Tinaroo.

August 9, 1991: Trailbike riders find the women’s bodies about 5pm in the the Leahy family’s Nissan Patrol, about 15km out of Atherton on a bush track. Despite the bizarre scene, police rule their deaths a murder-suicide and the vehicle and bodies are hastily removed.

July 30, 1992: First inquest into the women’s deaths begins at Atherton Coroner’s Court. After hearing the evidence, Coroner Hamilton Spicer supports the murder-suicide theory.

July, 1997: Police Minister Russell Cooper announces a reopening of the controversial case, appointing former senior investigators Carl Mengler and Frank O’Gorman. A week later, convicted murderer Gregory De Jong tells detectives that notorious drug dealer Christopher Dunlea, whom De Jong confessed to shooting in 1994, admitted to him that he killed the pair.

May, 1998: The Mengler and O’Gorman report is highly critical of the original police investigation.

April 19, 1999: A second inquest into the women’s deaths begins. The Coroner’s Court hears of Ms Leahy’s younger sister Vanessa’s affair with her husband. A forensic expert tells the court it would be highly unlikely a person would shoot themself in the head twice.

February 21, 2000: Coroner Gary Casey rules again in favour of the murder-suicide theory. The Arnold and Leahy families are stunned.

September, 2005: Former Far North detective Bill Hendrikse, one of the first officers at the scene, claims a senior police officer refused to order an investigation into the suspected double murder because of overtime costs.

July, 2008: Homicide detectives investigate whether the women were killed because they knew too much about a bungled bank robbery after a witness comes forward with fresh evidence.

October 23, 2010: Attorney-general Cameron Dick announces a third inquest will be held after lobbying from Mulgrave MP Curtis Pitt – Bill Hendrikse’s nephew.

November 14, 2011: Third inquest begins before State Coroner Michael Barnes and hears evidence shedding doubt on the adequacy of the initial police investigation, and some expert witnesses say they lean more towards a double-murder scenario.

March 1, 2013: Mr Barnes hands down his findings and commits Alan Leahy to stand trial for murder.

Lloyd Rayney Murder Trial Coverage


Map of sites visited by Judge and legal teamsFor some earlier info click here on a post I did in December 2010

The JUDGE ONLY murder trial for Lloyd Rayney has began. On trial for the wilful murder of his wife Corryn…I’m sure in what will be riveting stuff for those interested, so here is where we will be covering it. Feel free to join in the conversation below!

http://youtu.be/jgqdLLS_JPU

DAY 12 – AUGUST 7, 2012 – “Rayney ‘said he hated his wife”

Courtesy of: thewest.com.au

UPDATE, 12:40pm Lloyd Rayney “hated” his wife and was concerned about a series of allegations she had made shortly before her death, including claims he was sleeping in their daughters’ beds at night, a former colleague of Mr Rayney’s and aide-de-camp to two WA governors has told his Supreme Court murder trial.

The court was also told that Mr Rayney, who is alleged to have tapped his wife’s phone shortly before her death, asked his then colleague about “surveillance” options, saying “cost wouldn’t be an issue’.

Clare O’Brien, a former Perth-based lawyer who worked with Mr Rayney at the Director of Public Prosecutions appeared as a witness via videolink this morning.

Today is the fifth anniversary of Corryn Rayney’s death.

Ms O’Brien gave evidence about a conversation with Mr Rayney at a coffee shop, in which he said he “hated” his wife.

“I asked him how the situation was at home and if he thought the marriage could be salvaged and Lloyd said that he’d been making a great deal of effort over a long period of time, which I think also included marriage counselling, but that his efforts weren’t working and it looked like it was over,” she said.

“He said that he hated Corryn… He just said the words, there wasn’t any particular emotion.”

Ms O’Brien gave evidence Mr Rayney said he wanted to “know what was going on in relation to Corryn’s plans”. She said Mr Rayney asked her if she knew anyone that knew anything about “home security or home surveillance systems”.

She said she recommended Mr Rayney speak to a friend of her brother’s, who had been involved in installing cameras in nightclubs. Ms O’Brien said she subsequently asked her brother to make contact with his friend, Tim Pearson, which he did.

Under cross-examination Ms O’Brien said police threatened to charge her, costing her both her job and reputation if she did not make a statement to police. She said she was not told what she would be charged with but that the charges would ultimately be dropped.

Ms O’Brien said police told her that “by the time we eventually drop the charge, because ie: there is no evidence, it’s too late because the damage is done,” she said. She said she was told her brother could also be charged. “I was absolutely starting to get extremely scared,” she said.

However, Ms O’Brien said nothing police said to her led her to give evidence that was untrue and she would ultimately have made a statement in any case.

Ms O’Brien recalled a separate phone conversation she had with Mr Rayney in late June or early July 2007, in which he told her Mrs Rayney was making false accusations via email. The allegations include claims he was sleeping in his daughters’ beds at night, which he said he was not.

Ms O’Brien said Mr Rayney said Mrs Rayney’s claim was ridiculous. Asked for her interpretation of the emails, Ms O’Brien said she suggested Mrs Rayney may be “setting up an email trail” ahead of divorce proceedings.

“He wanted to let a few people know that he was having some difficulties with Corryn in his marriage,” Ms O’Brien said.

“He said that Corryn had been sending emails to his work and she was writing things that weren’t true in the sense that Lloyd was sleeping in the girls’ beds at night and he asked me what did I make of that by her doing that… I said that it looked as though she was setting up an email trail indicating that things had occurred when they hadn’t in order to be able to apply pressure to Lloyd in relation to the divorce proceedings.”

Ms O’Brien and Mr Rayney discussed the implications of Mrs Rayney’s allegations on his reputation and his aspiration “to be called to the bench”, joking he wanted to be “the first black judge in WA”. Ms O’Brien said she suggested Mr Rayney move out of the couple’s home but he said Mrs Rayney should move out instead.

Ms O’Brien said she told Mr Rayney that if his wife’s allegations “got out” they could negatively affect his career prospects.

Later, in August 2007, when Mrs Rayney was missing but before her body had been found Ms O’Brien said she visited Mr Rayney at his home.

“We all sat down and I remember that… I’d never seen Lloyd look so completely shattered,” she said. “He was on the point of tears and he looked at me and asked me how was he going to be able to tell the girls that their mother was dead. It was one of the saddest moments that I could recall, watching someone even contemplating having that conversation with his children… it was a moment.”

Ms O’Brien said that in an effort to raise Mr Rayney’s spirits she told him he should not assume his wife was dead and suggested he check if his wife’s passport or any money was missing. “It was like he’s jumped to the worst case scenario and I said, ‘well, it might not be the case that she’s dead, she might be missing’,” she said.

Ms O’Brien also gave evidence about the nature of her friendship with Mr Rayney after they both left the DPP. At times she said she recommended Mr Rayney to people seeking representation, including a police officer who appeared at the Corruption and Crime Commission.

“I recommended… clients to use Lloyd for their matters,” she said.

Ms O’Brien also gave evidence about a lunch she attended at the Rayneys’ Como home in 2007 with her then-fiancee. Asked about the relationship she observed between Mr and Mrs Rayney she said they were “very welcoming”.

“The atmosphere was very welcoming, it was very warm and cordial,” she said.

“It was obvious that they regularly entertained because they worked in tandem… it was very much a team effort and we had a very nice time.”

Ms O’Brien was a lawyer at the Legal Aid office of WA from 2004 to late 2007 and before that worked at the DPP with Mr Rayney.

Ms O’Brien now lives in Queensland. The case has been adjourned until tomorrow.

TRIAL UPDATES: (click on links below for daily coverage)

DAY 1 – July 16, 2012 – “Family home scene of Corryn Rayney murder – prosecution”

DAY 2 - July 17, 2012 – ‘Lloyd Rayney place card found near Kings Park burial site’

DAY 3 – July 18, 2012 – ‘Rayney murder trial moves to park site where wife’s body was buried’

Map of sites visited by Judge (click here – then on next screen select link again)

DAY 4 – July 24, 2012 – ‘First witnesses take to the stand in Rayney murder’

DAY 6 – July 26, 2012 – ‘Murder trial told of Rayney’s security fears’

DAY 7 – July 27, 2012 – ‘Lloyd and Corryn Rayney went on Bali holiday with Gina Rinehart’

DAY 8 – July 30, 2012 – ‘The Rayney Trial – Week three begins’

DAY 9 – July 31, 2012 – ‘Lloyd Rayney didn’t drive his wife’s car on night of party – witness’

DAY 10 - August 1, 2012 – ‘Lloyd Rayney investigator says evidence was not ignored’

DAY 11 – August 2, 2012 – ‘Seed pod bag seals in dispute’

Lloyd Rayney  Previous Coverage

Accused father reunited with daughters

LAWYER Lloyd Rayney has broken his silence over charges that he murdered his wife after he was granted $100,000 bail in the Supreme Court.

‘We will catch Corryn’s killer’

THE family of murdered Perth lawyer Corryn Rayney believes her killer will eventually be brought to justice.

Rayney in court for bail variation

BARRISTER Lloyd Rayney, accused of murdering his wife in 2007, made a brief appearance in court today where his bail conditions were varied.

Rayney trial $3m price tag ‘unavoidable’

BUDGET documents reveal that the murder trial of Lloyd Rayney will cost taxpayers almost $3 million.

Rayney attends injustice event

PROMINENT Perth barrister Lloyd Rayney, who will stand trial for the murder of his wife later this year, was among the high profile faces who attended a fundraiser for victims of miscarriages of justice.

Rayney trial to cost at least $2m

IT’S the $20,000-a-day murder trial set to sting WA taxpayers more than $2 million.

Bail altered amid more delays for Rayney

NEW conditions will be attached to barrister Lloyd Rayney’s bail before his impending murder trial, which could still be more than a year away.

WA’s trial of the century

PROSECUTORS are set to call almost 200 witnesses and tender 200 exhibits during barrister Lloyd Rayney’s Supreme Court trial, which starts in Perth today

Rayney loses ‘persons of interest’ bid

LLOYD Rayney’s defence team has lost its bid for information about  warrants on other “persons of interest” in the murder of Corryn Rayney to be produced at his trial.

Remembering Corryn Rayney

IN the days before Corryn Rayney’s untimely death she was the happiest she’d been for a long time.

Delays in Rayney murder case

THE murder case against barrister Lloyd Rayney has been delayed because the Prosecution is yet to file key documents,  the WA Supreme Court was told today.

Rayney wins two-month adjournment

THE trial of barrister Lloyd Rayney over the wilful murder of his wife has been postponed until July after he was granted an eight-week adjournment.

Rayney bars web from trial

BARRISTER Lloyd Rayney has stopped the opening addresses of his wilful murder trial from being broadcast live on the internet or television.

Rayney killed at family home – Prosecution

PROSECUTORS in the Lloyd Rayney murder trial will lead evidence they claim shows the Supreme Court registrar was murdered by her husband in their Como home.

Rayney opts for judge-only murder trial

THE murder trial of Perth barrister Lloyd Rayney will be presided over by a judge alone, without a jury.

Rayney charged with murder

PROMINENT Perth lawyer Lloyd Rayney has been charged with the 2007 murder of his estranged wife Corryn after a dramatic arrest in the city today.

Intense interest in Rayney murder trial

THE Supreme Court is preparing for intense media interest in the epic five-month murder trial of prominent barrister Lloyd Rayney, which begins on Monday.

Husband’s frantic plea to find missing wife

THE husband of missing Perth supreme court registrar Corryn Rayney has made a desperate plea for help in finding his wife.

 

 

 

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New technology, the media and criminal trials – Let’s talk about it


Here is an interesting article folks that I found that comes at a time when the media and the internet are colliding with the long-held protocols of the old school legal system of the last century, who needs to catch up with who I wonder?

Where are we headed with blogs like this? the instant twitter commentary from courtrooms, the insatiable thirst for the information, good bad or ugly. You all know I am a believer of  Major Trials being telecast to those who want to and indeed need to watch them. Just like some have an interest in Question Time in Parliament and some do not. make it available, what is there to hide?

By Peter Gregory

July 06 2012

Are we now behind the times?

On an overseas crime website was the personal and criminal history of a man known to the Victorian public.

At the time, he was before the courts on a serious charge. The trial judge had warned jurors not to look up the internet, because they were to return a verdict only on the evidence they saw or heard in the courtroom.

Put simply, the judge’s warning was part of delivering a fair trial. If accused of crime, you are judged by a jury of your peers.

They base their decision on the material presented to them in the courtroom. Almost always, that means no reference to the previous convictions of the person on trial, or neighbourhood gossip about a case, or the wise pronouncements of media commentators.

The legal system’s assumption is that jurors, not being trained as lawyers, will find it harder to put aside prejudicial information. If you were a juror on a rape trial, and learned that the accused person had been convicted (separately) of rape six months earlier, what would you think about this case?

“Guilty,” said one student when this question was posed during a seminar some years ago. That is why jury members are told not to follow media reports, do their own research, or talk to their families about the case. They are also instructed to be wary of social media, like Twitter or Facebook.

“If your family is like mine, everyone will have an expert opinion,” one judge would say at the start of a Supreme Court trial.

“You can blame me. If they ask about the evidence, you can say the judge told you that you are not allowed to discuss it.”

Journalists would get very nervous about their court stories, fearing they might be fined or worse if they revealed information that the courts believed was likely to be prejudicial.

In one case, five media organisations were fined a collective $670,000 after reporting that a man arrested over three New South Wales murders in 1989 had confessed. The reports were likely to interfere with the administration of justice, it was found.

These were simpler times when a big worry for publishers was the potential to mix up the conservative court story written for local audiences with a more comprehensive account prepared for interstate editions.

If the Victorian jury was protected from prejudice, all was well. If a stuff-up occurred, media lawyers were sent to court to apologise.

More than 20 years later, safety and conservatism sound like foreign concepts.

The crime website which featured the Victorian suspect was not the worst by any means. True, its advertisements for criminal-related merchandise, including DVDs, calendars and magazines, was distracting, but his segment was a fairly sober summary of his court appearances, material from interviews and legal debate about his future.

Numerous other websites talk about criminals and killers. Some are moderate and feature court decisions. Others appear to follow the “hang ‘em high” school, practised with or without a trial.

Still wary of the legal process, mainstream media websites monitor or ban comments being made about court-related stories.

Inflammatory remarks can raise difficulties for many institutions which have embraced social media and the internet to engage with the public.

Bond University professor Mark Pearson recently analysed problems with the Queensland Police Facebook site, which was flooded with hard-nosed commentary following a high-profile arrest.
“I fear it will not be long before a savvy defence lawyer seizes the opportunity to use such prejudicial commentary as grounds for appeal, perhaps resulting in a trial being aborted at great public expense or even a verdict quashed,” he told The Australian newspaper.

So, what can the courts do?

Last month, the New South Wales Criminal Court of Appeal allowed a media challenge to court orders that would have forced news websites to remove thousands of archived stories about a conspiracy to murder trial. The Sydney Morning Herald said the court upheld the argument that the orders were futile because “vast swathes of information on the internet are essentially beyond the court’s control”.

“It is something of an irony that the (media organisations)…are, on one view, the only people against whom an order could properly have been made,” the court said in its published judgment.

While NSW law might let prosecuting authorities seek suppression orders over prejudicial material published online by local media, that permission could not validly apply to the world at large.

Suppression orders might cover material on internet sites beyond the control or awareness of local publishers.

Imagine the SMH finding all the international crime websites, and persuading them to take down some of their murder summaries because an Australian prosecutor was worried about them.

A Law Council of Australia committee, of which this writer is a member, outlined some other problems in a submission made to the Federal Government.

The media and communications committee said information could not be effectively censored or removed once it was available online. Material was often republished or cached on other sites. Monitoring archives for past publications would be costly and a significant exercise, and in many cases would have little practical effect, the committee argued.

Removing mainstream material might also bump the relevant information contained on less reputable websites up the search engine list for determined researchers.

“Suppression and non-publication orders that that operate to censor or remove historical reports by mainstream media organisations can lead to (the other) websites being elevated in lists of search results carried out, for instance, on the names of accused persons, and thus perversely increase the risk of prejudice to forthcoming trials,” the committee said.

If censoring the media does not work, the focus returns to juries. Jurors can be fined for looking up the internet during trials, if they decide to ignore judges’ warnings.

On its website, the Judicial College of Victoria has quoted court decisions describing jury members as “robust and responsible”, not “fragile and prone to prejudice”. But it warns that the availability of internet databases posed new problems for protecting jurors from prejudicial information.

Could that mean sequestering the jury – staying at hotels, not at home – for the whole trial, to keep it away from outside influences? Would that happen at all trials, or just the ones that attracted massive media attention?

One of the court decisions suggested keeping juries together during the proceedings would protect the open court principle and avoid prejudice. The accommodation costs in a long hearing, and the associated pressure to avoid mistrials, would be very likely to create their own problems.

What are your thoughts readers?

New technology, the media and criminal trials – Let's talk about it


Here is an interesting article folks that I found that comes at a time when the media and the internet are colliding with the long-held protocols of the old school legal system of the last century, who needs to catch up with who I wonder?

Where are we headed with blogs like this? the instant twitter commentary from courtrooms, the insatiable thirst for the information, good bad or ugly. You all know I am a believer of  Major Trials being telecast to those who want to and indeed need to watch them. Just like some have an interest in Question Time in Parliament and some do not. make it available, what is there to hide?

By Peter Gregory

July 06 2012

Are we now behind the times?

On an overseas crime website was the personal and criminal history of a man known to the Victorian public.

At the time, he was before the courts on a serious charge. The trial judge had warned jurors not to look up the internet, because they were to return a verdict only on the evidence they saw or heard in the courtroom.

Put simply, the judge’s warning was part of delivering a fair trial. If accused of crime, you are judged by a jury of your peers.

They base their decision on the material presented to them in the courtroom. Almost always, that means no reference to the previous convictions of the person on trial, or neighbourhood gossip about a case, or the wise pronouncements of media commentators.

The legal system’s assumption is that jurors, not being trained as lawyers, will find it harder to put aside prejudicial information. If you were a juror on a rape trial, and learned that the accused person had been convicted (separately) of rape six months earlier, what would you think about this case?

“Guilty,” said one student when this question was posed during a seminar some years ago. That is why jury members are told not to follow media reports, do their own research, or talk to their families about the case. They are also instructed to be wary of social media, like Twitter or Facebook.

“If your family is like mine, everyone will have an expert opinion,” one judge would say at the start of a Supreme Court trial.

“You can blame me. If they ask about the evidence, you can say the judge told you that you are not allowed to discuss it.”

Journalists would get very nervous about their court stories, fearing they might be fined or worse if they revealed information that the courts believed was likely to be prejudicial.

In one case, five media organisations were fined a collective $670,000 after reporting that a man arrested over three New South Wales murders in 1989 had confessed. The reports were likely to interfere with the administration of justice, it was found.

These were simpler times when a big worry for publishers was the potential to mix up the conservative court story written for local audiences with a more comprehensive account prepared for interstate editions.

If the Victorian jury was protected from prejudice, all was well. If a stuff-up occurred, media lawyers were sent to court to apologise.

More than 20 years later, safety and conservatism sound like foreign concepts.

The crime website which featured the Victorian suspect was not the worst by any means. True, its advertisements for criminal-related merchandise, including DVDs, calendars and magazines, was distracting, but his segment was a fairly sober summary of his court appearances, material from interviews and legal debate about his future.

Numerous other websites talk about criminals and killers. Some are moderate and feature court decisions. Others appear to follow the “hang ‘em high” school, practised with or without a trial.

Still wary of the legal process, mainstream media websites monitor or ban comments being made about court-related stories.

Inflammatory remarks can raise difficulties for many institutions which have embraced social media and the internet to engage with the public.

Bond University professor Mark Pearson recently analysed problems with the Queensland Police Facebook site, which was flooded with hard-nosed commentary following a high-profile arrest.
“I fear it will not be long before a savvy defence lawyer seizes the opportunity to use such prejudicial commentary as grounds for appeal, perhaps resulting in a trial being aborted at great public expense or even a verdict quashed,” he told The Australian newspaper.

So, what can the courts do?

Last month, the New South Wales Criminal Court of Appeal allowed a media challenge to court orders that would have forced news websites to remove thousands of archived stories about a conspiracy to murder trial. The Sydney Morning Herald said the court upheld the argument that the orders were futile because “vast swathes of information on the internet are essentially beyond the court’s control”.

“It is something of an irony that the (media organisations)…are, on one view, the only people against whom an order could properly have been made,” the court said in its published judgment.

While NSW law might let prosecuting authorities seek suppression orders over prejudicial material published online by local media, that permission could not validly apply to the world at large.

Suppression orders might cover material on internet sites beyond the control or awareness of local publishers.

Imagine the SMH finding all the international crime websites, and persuading them to take down some of their murder summaries because an Australian prosecutor was worried about them.

A Law Council of Australia committee, of which this writer is a member, outlined some other problems in a submission made to the Federal Government.

The media and communications committee said information could not be effectively censored or removed once it was available online. Material was often republished or cached on other sites. Monitoring archives for past publications would be costly and a significant exercise, and in many cases would have little practical effect, the committee argued.

Removing mainstream material might also bump the relevant information contained on less reputable websites up the search engine list for determined researchers.

“Suppression and non-publication orders that that operate to censor or remove historical reports by mainstream media organisations can lead to (the other) websites being elevated in lists of search results carried out, for instance, on the names of accused persons, and thus perversely increase the risk of prejudice to forthcoming trials,” the committee said.

If censoring the media does not work, the focus returns to juries. Jurors can be fined for looking up the internet during trials, if they decide to ignore judges’ warnings.

On its website, the Judicial College of Victoria has quoted court decisions describing jury members as “robust and responsible”, not “fragile and prone to prejudice”. But it warns that the availability of internet databases posed new problems for protecting jurors from prejudicial information.

Could that mean sequestering the jury – staying at hotels, not at home – for the whole trial, to keep it away from outside influences? Would that happen at all trials, or just the ones that attracted massive media attention?

One of the court decisions suggested keeping juries together during the proceedings would protect the open court principle and avoid prejudice. The accommodation costs in a long hearing, and the associated pressure to avoid mistrials, would be very likely to create their own problems.

What are your thoughts readers?

Evacuations at Brisbane Supreme Court during Baden Clay-update Bail DENIED 22/06/12


PRECAUTIONS-Police dogs check the courtyard at the Brisbane courts complex this morning

Previous threads can be found using the links below, One being very first and so on…

One (26/04/12) here Two (14/05/12)  here Three (17/05/12) here Four (20/05/2012) here Five  (23/05/12) here Six (26/05/12) here Seven (28/05/12) here Eight (30/0512) here Nine (02/06/12) here Ten (08/06/12) here Eleven (11/06/12) here  Twelve 13/06/12 here Thirteen 17/06/12 here Fourteen 20/06/12 here

A QUICK TIMELINE UPDATE FOR THOSE CATCHING UP

Bail DENIED 22/06/12

Thursday, April 19: Gerard Baden-Clay allegedly claims he last saw his wife Allison watching Channel Nine’s The Footy Show in their living room about 10pm.

Friday, April 20: Mr Baden-Clay phones police to report his wife missing about 7.30am. Police establish a command post at the Brookfield Showgrounds to co-ordinate an extensive search for the mother-of-three.

Sunday, April 22: Gerard Baden-Clay crashes a borrowed car into a bus terminal at Indooroopilly Shopping Centre.

Wednesday, April 25: Detectives interview a former female colleague of Mr Baden-Clay for three hours at Indooroopilly police station.

Thursday, April 26: Police search Mr Baden-Clay’s Century 21 Real Estate office in Taringa.

Sunday, April 29: Mr Baden-Clay attends church with his three daughters and then spends one hour at Indooroopilly police station receiving an update from police on the search for his wife.

Monday, April 30: Police reveal a body has been found by a canoeist under the Kholo Creek bridge at Anstead about 11am. Investigators are for information about the movements of the Baden-Clays’ cars – a white Toyota Prado and a silver Holden Captiva – between 8pm on Thursday, April 19, and 6am on Friday.

Tuesday, May 1: Police confirm the body discovered is that of Allison Baden-Clay.

Friday, May 11: Allison Baden-Clay’s funeral is held in Ipswich and attended by hundreds.

Wednesday, May 30: Police receive toxicology reports from Brisbane’s John Tonge Centre, but remain tight lipped about the results.

Monday, May 28: Mr Baden-Clay relocates his new business to the Toowong Tower.

Friday, June 2: Police interview a female associate of Mr Baden-Clay in Sydney.

Wednesday, June 13: Gerard Baden-Clay is charged with his wife’s murder and improperly interfering with her body about 6.30pm.

Thursday, June 14: Gerard Baden-Clay faces court for the first time. He is remanded in custody until July 9. He is taken from Brisbane Watchhouse to Arthur Gorrie Correctional Centre. His lawyers lodge an application for bail on behalf of their client in the Supreme Court.

Thursday, June 21: Gerard Baden-Clays lawyers attend court for Bail Application but building is evacuated within minutes admin a bomb threat scare. Rescheduled for tomorrow 10am Friday June 22, 2012

UPDATE MIDDAY 22/06/12 HEARING SET TO RESUME AT 1PM QLD TIME

BLOOD was found in the rear of Gerard and Allison Baden-Clays’ family car that was confirmed to be hers, according to a police affidavit submitted to a Supreme Court bail application hearing this morning.

But Peter Davis SC, for Mr Baden-Clay, disputed this, saying it was a luminol test only and not her blood.

Mr Davis said the only injury suffered by Allison as revealed in the post mortem was a chipped tooth. He asked why there would be blood in the car if she had no injuries.

At this morning’s bail application hearing for Mr Baden-Clay, it was also claimed police recovered a journal kept by his wife where she wrote about her husband’s affair with Toni McHugh on April 18.

They say in their affidavit that this would have led to an argument between the two of them but Mr Davis said that was an assumption only.

Baden-Clay’s counsel has not yet responded to these allegations.

The prosecutor Danny Boyle claimed the Crown did not need to provide evidence showing it was Allison’s blood in the car at this stage of the proceedings.

The Crown relies on the facts as outlined in submissions, Mr Boyle argued.

He alleged the financial gain from Allison’s death went to the motive for her murder.

He also alleged Mr Baden-Clay had a “deadline” of July 1 for when he intended to separate from his wife.

He claimed in Allison’s journal there was a diagram of Ms McHugh’s house, drawn by Mr Baden-Clay, as part of their counselling.

Mr Baden-Clay allegedly told police his affair with Ms McHugh had ended some time before Allison’s disappearance, “when in fact the relationship was continuing when she went missing”, the prosecutor argued.

He said Ms McHugh would give evidence at a trial.

The Crown said its case against Baden-Clay relied on several points:

  • His relationship with his wife was unstable and “his intention for a future with Ms McHugh”.
  • He was in dire financial trouble and stood to benefit greatly from Allison’s death.
  • He had the opportunity, being the last person to see her alive.
  • The deceased’s blood was allegedly found in the boot of Gerard’s car.
  • Mr Baden-Clay told police the mark on his face came from shaving but a forensic examination concluded that was not the case, and that it was a scratch.

Mr Davis, SC, has asked for a non publication order until 2.30pm today when the matter would be argued further.

TAKE TWO- Gerard Baden-Clay’s sister Olivia Walton arrives for the bail hearing on Friday morning

POLICE have conducted a security sweep of Brisbane’s Supreme Court ahead of the bail application of accused murderer Gerard Baden-Clay, after a bomb threat closed down the courts yesterday.

Police with sniffer dogs conducted another inspection of the courts complex after yesterday’s lock-down.

The bail application is set down for 10am.

The Max Sica murder trial, whose summing up was also interrupted by the bomb hoax yesterday, will resume on Monday.

Chief Justice Paul de Jersey yesterday blasted the security scare: “It’s absolutely disgraceful, if this is a hoax, that the proceedings of the state’s highest court can be disrupted in this dreadful way.”

More to come…

update 22/06/12

SWEEP-Gerard Baden-Clay’s father Nigel watches as police search his vehicle at his Kenmore home last night

DETECTIVES investigating the alleged murder of Allison Baden-Clay returned last night to her in-laws’ home where they conducted further searches of their property.

The Courier-Mail can reveal the car owned by Gerard Baden-Clay’s parents was searched. Police rifled through the boot and back seat of the couple’s silver Holden Statesman about 6pm.

After Nigel and Elaine Baden-Clay walked their dog, they were intercepted by five detectives who spent about an hour with them, mostly inside the house, only coming out briefly about halfway through with Mr Baden-Clay to search the vehicle before leaving about 6.20pm.

The couple’s daughter, Olivia Walton, was the only family member to attend the bail application hearing, which had to be rescheduled yesterday after a bomb threat. The hearing will continue today.

Gerard Baden-Clay courtroom cleared

Crowds mill about Brisbane‘s Supreme Court after it was evacuated in a security scare that interrupted Gerard Baden-Clay bail hearing.

June 21, 2012 4.29pm Update

THE Supreme Court bail hearing of Gerald Baden-Clay has been delayed until Friday due to a security threat that forced the building to be evacuated.

Justice Paul De Jersey told the media there would be no more court sittings today and business would resume tomorrow morning.

June 21, 2012 3:17PM

THE bail application for accused murderer Gerard Baden-Clay has been interrupted and the courtroom cleared.

Five minutes into the proceedings in the Supreme Court in Brisbane, Justice Glenn Martin asked for the packed court to be cleared.

Supporters of Baden-Clay and the media were asked to leave the Queensland Law Courts building.

Baden-Clay’s legal team have also left the building and are waiting in the forecourt outside.

The Brisbane man is accused of murdering his wife Allison, who he reported missing on April 20, and whose body was found on the banks of a creek 10 days later.

A hearing to determine whether Gerard Baden-Clay will be granted bail on a charge of murder is being heard today by the Supreme Court in Brisbane.

Court Evacuated- Confusion reigns

2.10pm: Gerard Baden-Clay’s sister Olivia Walton has arrived at Brisbane Supreme Court with his legal team for the accused killer’s bail hearing.

Olivia Walton arrives at Brisbane Supreme Court to support her brother Gerard Baden-Clay’s bail application

Ms Walton did not speak to waiting media on her way into court, nor did his barrister, Peter Davis SC.

2.20pm: Dozens of people have crowded into court five of the Supreme Court to hear the bail application of Gerard Baden-Clay who was last week charged with murder and interference with a corpse following the death of his wife Allison.

The public gallery and press bench are full, with at least 30 more people standing by the doors.

Baden-Clay’s sister is sitting in the front row with a friend. There is no sign of his parents.

2.35pm: Baden-Clay’s barrister Peter Davis SC has told the court of extraordinary allegations made against his client, who has undergone two forensic examinations.

The court has now been closed the media with no explanation as to why.

2.40pm: Security has instructed members of public and media in Baden-Clay’s bail hearing to leave via fire escape.

2.50pm: Media continue to wait for information on when the court will reopen.

 

Shane Andrew Bond not guilty of the murder of Elisabeth Membrey


A SUPREME Court jury has found Shane Andrew Bond not guilty of the murder of Elisabeth Membrey 18 years ago.

(video might not show, youtube is playing up, click watch in youtube…It is there and working…)

Shane Bond leaving the Supreme Court last week.

The jury this morning found Bond not guilty of murder and manslaughter.

Bond, 45, of Launching Place, denied murdering the 22-year-old at her Ringwood East unit in 1994.

Ms Membrey was last seen leaving the Manhattan Hotel in Ringwood in Melbourne’s east, where she worked as bartender, on December 6, 1994.

Her body has never been found.

This morning Bond stayed impassive as the verdicts were delivered.

The judge thanked the Membrey and Bond families for the way they carried themselves.

The accused’s mother Nola Bond and father Les entered the dock and hugged their son as mother and son wept.

At the beginning of the trial, the Crown criticised initial police investigations of Ms Membrey’s disappearance as biased and flawed and Mr Bond’s defence said there were no witnesses, DNA or fingerprint evidence linking him to the alleged crime.

In evidence given during the trial, father Roger Membrey told the jury of he and his wife’s growing concern when they went to their daughter’s unit after her disappearance and found blood.

Mr Membrey told the Supreme Court he recalled going to his daughter’s Ringwood unit with his wife Joy after phone messages went unanswered on December 7, 1994.

Elisabeth had failed to attend a doctor’s appointment that day, the jury was told.

“We were getting a bit concerned because the girls didn’t seem to be there, they weren’t answering, and the place was in darkness,” Mr Membrey said.

They managed to get inside the unit.

“We were pleased to see that everything was neat and tidy . . . so it all looked very normal, but there was one exception to that, of course,” he said.

That exception was a pool of dried blood in the hallway. Mr Membrey said he rang 000 and taxi services to see if an ambulance or cabs had been called to the home.

“It was all negative, negative,” Mr Membrey said.

DISGRACED Pedophile former MP Terry Martin walks again


These suspended sentences are a joke and a mockery for those seeking justice. This filthy dirty old man, who just happens to be a EX Tasmanian MP has been convicted twice and walked free from court without any jail time for his putrid crimes against a child, as well as possessing child porn on his computer…This makes me wonder about protected species within certain circles. His disgusting behaviour was because of the medications he was on! Oh really, Has the drug been banned from sale in Australia then?….NO…Of course not, and miraculously he is all better now, and has no interest in child porn any-more or sexual interest in children…He has NO interest in getting caught again is about all he can hope for, rotten bastard deserved a good jail term.

Judge Alan Blow said while possession of child pornography would normally dictate a prison term, he accepted that Martin’s offence was related to the side-effects of his medication. So all your kiddie fiddlers out there get hold of the right medication and they will only slap your wrist!

No wonder the girls relatives wanted to stick the boot in. If it were my daughter he raped, and I was watching him walk free I would have give him a going over too.

My original article in November 2011 on this snakebelly is linked below this story or click here

DISGRACED former MP Terry Martin, convicted of sex acts with a 12-year-old girl, was yesterday attacked by female relatives of the child as he walked free from court after being convicted of possessing child pornography.

The aunt of an abused girl attacks convicted sex offender Terry Martin outside the Supreme Court in Hobart yesterday

The former long-standing Tasmanian upper house MP and mayor was attacked outside the Supreme Court in Hobart by two women, understood to be the aunt and grandmother of his victim.

Clearly distressed, the girl’s aunt struck Martin with her bag as he walked from the court grounds into a lane-way. She then appeared to strike his groin, as court officers rushed to defend the former Labor and independent MP.

The grandmother, who is frail and elderly, had moments earlier appeared to strike Martin with her walking stick. “I’ll never, ever forgive you. The devil take you for what you’ve done,” she yelled.

The family members, as well as anti-abuse campaigners, are outraged that Martin, 54, has twice walked free from the Supreme Court after being found guilty of serious offences.

Last November, Martin was given a 10-month suspended sentence after being found guilty of unlawful sexual intercourse with the 12-year-old in 2009, and of taking photographs of her naked.

Yesterday, separate proceedings concluded with Martin receiving a one-month suspended sentence for possessing hundreds of images of child porn featuring children as young as eight.

On both occasions, the judges suspended jail terms on condition of good behaviour after accepting Martin’s defence that his crimes were the result of hyper-sexuality caused by medication taken for Parkinson’s disease.

This defence argument, supported by medical reports, has not satisfied anti-abuse campaigners and the family of the girl, who was prostituted by her mother and a family acquaintance.

Judge Alan Blow said while possession of child pornography would normally dictate a prison term, he accepted that Martin’s offence was related to the side-effects of his medication. So all your kiddy fiddlers out there get hold of the right medication and they will only slap your wrist!

The judge said since dropping the medication, Martin had no interest in child pornography and had “no sexual interest in children”.

His sentence of one month’s jail was suspended for 21 months.

Martin is understood to have been taken to hospital with a minor head injury after yesterday’s attack.

What the hell has been happening?


What have I missed people? Well let me start from today and work backwards.

  • A Magistrate Jelena Popovic in Victoria who announced she was an avid fan of the accused before giving a nice soft “No Conviction recorded” against Renee Geyer, who stacked her car causing great damage twice in several months, blaming “medications”… An appointed Vic Roads examiner produced CD’s for her to sign at her driving assessment after the accidents… WTF…Geyer even announced she wanted all to come to her next concert outside court…
  • A Guilty Verdict in the case against Former NSW crime fighter Mark Standen, one of the bosses of the nation crime authority, in that he attempted to import millions of dollars of pre cursers to meth drugs.
  • The Madeleine Pulver bomb hoax case A bizarre hoax bomb ransom that on a lot of levels appears to be played out by someone close to the victim
  • The final curtain call on the matriarch of a crime dynasty here in Melbourne, with the old style gangsters mole , Judy Moran, being sentences to a min of 21 years in her part in the execution of her brother-in-law, all for the greedy purpose of thinking she deserved more than she be given in over 30 years of free rides….
  • And this is just the last few days…But seriously folks I needed a big break with several family issues and health reasons at play. I have missed the place and feel bad in that It sees I may have ignored people who have written to me for help. I promise I will get to each and every one of you over the next week or so.
  • Oh yeah, the government having being exposed in trying to bury billions of dollars of wasted money in Aboriginal Affairs
  • The Carbon “Whatever it’s called this week” debacle
  • The asylum seeker mayhem, with high court hearings. The deal of the century was we give Malaysia 800 of our asylum seekers and we take 4000 of theirs. Now I left school at an early age, and if the paid me some of the  millions they spend on experts and advisors, I could have told them in 2 minutes, Fella’s, this is not a very good deal for us…. ( Not to mention they treat the asylum seekers like mongrel dogs n Malaysia)

I have so much to catch on and hope you all hang in there and we get the place up and current…

Ramazan Acar in Court- Pleads Guilty UPDATE on Appeal


Update on Ramazan Acar today 20/04/12 Victoria is behind the times as the only state that lets this Impaired ability to make calm and rational choices potentially win them a reduced prison sentence. AS Justice Nettle warned Acar though, it might increase the sentence if denied…I bloody well hope so. This rotten father slaughtered his own child in cold blood with plenty of pre meditation!

Bout 2 kill ma kid’ Facebook murderer Ramazan Acar wins right to appeal life sentence

A MAN who was dubbed the Facebook killer after posting chilling messages on the social network site detailing his plans to kill his two-year-old daughter has today won the right to appeal his life sentence.

The Court of Appeal ruled that Ramazan Acar’s underlying personality disorder may have affected his judgment when he abducted and murdered little Yazmina to get back at Rachelle D’Argent,  the child’s mother and his former partner.

Appeal judge Justice Geoff Nettle said defence counsel had argued that the judge who sentenced Acar to a minimum term of 33 years failed consider a psychiatrist’s opinion that the killer’s lack of emotional control and anger management issues contributed to the crime.

Only in Victoria an accused’s impaired ability to make calm and rational choices may win them a reduced prison sentence.

Justice Nettle warned Acar that even if his appeal is successful it did not automatically follow that his sentence would be reduced and it might even be increased, based on recent High Court authority.

UPDATE 27/01/12

This leech reckons his sentence is too harsh….Think about your daughter you slaughtered….Can you put a time on that you pig?

A JUDGE has reserved his decision on child killer Ramazan Acar’s attempt to appeal the length of his life sentence with a 33-year minimum term.

Acar, 24, was handed the sentence in July last year after pleading guilty to murdering his two-year-old daughter Yazmina.

He has appealed on grounds including the sentence was manifestly excessive.

Acar was dubbed “the Facebook killer” because he posted chilling messages on the social network site about his plans to kill his daughter.

One of his messages read: “bout to kill ma kid”.

After abducting Yazmina, he stabbed the little girl and dumped her body.

When sentencing Acar, Justice Elizabeth Curtain told him: “You killed your daughter to get back at her mother”.

Acar appeared in the Court of Appeal via video link from Port Phillip Prison today.

His barrister, Gavan Meredith, told Justice Mark Weinberg that the sentence was manifestly excessive for several reasons, including Acar’s remorse, his early guilty plea, his young age and the fact he co-operated with police.

Mr Meredith said the sentencing judge had not taken into account evidence from a psychologist about Acar’s emotional state and underlying personality disorder.

Prosecutor Brett Sonnet said Acar’s crime clearly fell into the worst category of murder and the sentence was open to the judge.

Mr Sonnet submitted that Acar knew his intended actions were demonstrably and terribly wrong.

Justice Weinberg has reserved his decision until next week.

A MAN who today admitted murdering his two-year-old daughter posted a message on Facebook which read “Bout 2 kill ma kid” just before he stabbed her with a massive Ninja-style knife.

Shortly afterwards Ramazan “Ramzy” Acar, 24, sent a text message to the toddler’s mother Rachelle D’Argent which read “It’s ova I did it”.

Yazmina Acar with her father Ramazan Acar pictured on Facebook before he killed her with a large knife.

A magistrate heard today that as little Yazmina Acar lay dying beside her father he posted another Facebook message which read “Pay bk u slut”.

The shocking details of the murder of little Yazmina were revealed in Melbourne Magistrates’ Court in a police brief of evidence.

Wearing an oversize dark suit and white shirt and tie Acar, of Meadow Heights, looked nonchalant as he appeared in the prisoners dock as Ms D’Argent and her friends and family looked on.

As the charge of murder was read to him by Magistrate Peter Reardon he replied in a clear voice: “Guilty“.

Mr Reardon remanded Acar in custody until May 18 to appear in the Supreme Court.

Ms D’Argent and Acar were estranged and Yazmina or “Mimi” was murdered on November 17 last year after he picked her up from her mother at Hallam to take her to a milk bar to buy her a Kinder Surprise.

But instead Acar kidnapped the child, stabbed her a number of times and dumped her body at Greenvale Reservoir reserve.

Straining her head towards the dock today, Ms D’Argent punched the air and wept as Acar admitted killing Yazmina in revenge for their broken relationship.

“I wanted him to look me in the eye and he did,” Ms D’Argent said as she walked from court.

“A quick glimpse but enough for him to say he was guilty.”

What sort of dad could even harm, let alone kill this gorgeous girl...

She said she was relieved she would not have to go through the ordeal of a trial.

“It was enough for me to know he did it and my daughter to know but for everybody else to hear it. Makes me all the more happy,” she said.

Yazmina Acar was stabbed several times by her father, Ramazan

“I was there for my daughter.”

Ms D’Argent said she was “getting there” with her recovery from the ordeal and in a message to Yazmina said that “mummy’s always gonna be there for you”.

In her witness statement Ms D’Argent said she and Acar were together for a number of years and at one time they were engaged but his jealousy and violent outbursts drove them apart.

On the day of the killing she said Acar arrived in his utility, and reluctantly she allowed him to take Yazmina to a milk bar at the end of the street.

But he never returned her.

Ms D’Argent said she phoned him a number of times pleading with him to bring her daughter home before calling police.