Ultima Thule

In ancient times the northernmost region of the habitable world - hence, any distant, unknown or mysterious land.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Murderer too guilty to stand trial

By Aussiegirl

File this story under: We couldn't make this up if we tried. A murderer in Australia, (no, I'm not sorry I left there, the Australia I left years ago is not the Australia of today), was released by a judge because the evidence against him was so damning that the judge said it would unfairly prejudice a jury against him and make it impossible for him to get a fair trial. Which leads one to draw the conclusion that if you want to get away with murder in Australia -- just leave so much damning evidence about that the authorities will simply have no choice to but let you go, on account of your egregious behavior would prejudice the jury against finding you innocent.

Read it if you can stand it:

A MAN who confessed to killing two women walked free from court yesterday when a judge ruled the evidence too damning.

Father-of-two Lyle Simpson admitted being a killer, DNA evidence proved he was at the scene of one murder and he tried to commit suicide a day later.

Yet after three days of legal argument in the NSW Supreme Court, Judge Anthony Whealy ruled some evidence was just too damning and ran the risk of "unfair prejudice'' to the accused.

A married Simpson was accused of murdering his mistress Rhonda Buckley, 51, in September 2001 in Georgetown, Newcastle.

But the family of the victim were devastated by the decision which enabled Simpson, 45, to go free after 16 months in jail awaiting trial.
Ms Buckley's daughter Suzy Westgarth said: "I am bloody angry, so angry."

Outside the court yesterday, Simpson said: "I'm relieved to go home. I've got two disabled kids and I just want to live my life and be left alone by the police," he said.

"I've had a rough time. My wife's been through hell.

"If you haven't been in jail you don't know what it's like to be locked up in cells, no TVs and radios.

"I've never been in trouble before... I can never replace that 16 months."

He was arrested two years after Ms Buckley's death.

But in court, his defence team led by legal aid solicitor Joanne Harris successfully argued the evidence would unduly prejudice the jury.

A court source said: "The evidence would be too prejudicial for the jury to hear, they would naturaly assume from some of the evidence, that he was guilty.

"They also successfully argued that the jury could believe he was guilty if he attemped suicide when there could be other reasons for it."

Under Section 137 of the Evidence Act 1995 "the court must refuse to admit evidence adduced by the prosecutor if its probative value is outweighed by the danger of unfair prejudice
to the defendant."

What that means, is if the a single piece of evidence is so overpowering it would sway a jury from giving a fair trial, it cannot be used.
Unfair prejudice is deemed to be "if there is a real risk that the evidence will be misused by the jury in some unfair way".

But Mrs Westgarth, 28, "I definitely think the government needs to make changes... and soon."


At 7:20 PM, Blogger Timothy Birdnow said...

Aussiegirl, that is quite possibly THE craziest thing I have ever read! I would believe it to be an april fools day prank, if it were April Fools Day. Australia is often called Oz; I think Wonderland is more fitting!

We often complain about the American justice system; it`s certainly looking good now!


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