Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Derek Bromley: Australia; Convicted of murder in 1984 on the say of a schizophrenic and on dubious forensic evidence which has been systematically demolished by Dr. Bob Moles, who is described as "a one-man innocence prjoject." A powerful piece of journalism by Mark Whittaker; (Must Read. HL); Sydney Morning News.

STORY:  "I didn't do it, I wasn't there," by Mark Whittaker, published by the Sydney Morning Herald on December 21, 2013.  (The story illustrates how  Dr. Bob  Moles, has played a remarkable role in rectifying miscarriages of justice in Australia. Dr. Moles, along with  Professor Bibi Sangha, and others he has inspired along the way,  has also played an important role in pushing Australian jurisdictions to establish independent review boards which are free of political influence - and will doubtless continue until such boards are in place throughout the country. He is an inspiration to opponents of wrongful convictions and  law reformers not only in his own country but also far beyond its borders. I am fortunate to to be able to regard him both  as a mentor and a friend.  Harold Levy. Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog.)
GIST: In 1984, Derek Bromley was convicted of murder on the say of a schizophrenic and disputed forensic evidence. Now, his appeal may finally be heard, writes Mark Whittaker.........The jury perhaps chose to overlook those flaws because there was also a third plank to the prosecution case, the forensic evidence. So long as the forensics supported the other two planks, the case held together. And it was while looking into this, that Milera found Dr Bob Moles. Bob Moles, tall, grey and just a little dishevelled in the way of a pin-striped law boffin, is a one-man innocence project. He has quit his job as an associate professor of law at the University of Adelaide to pursue his crusade to free the innocent, particularly those who'd been put away by the evidence of South Australia's former chief forensic pathologist, Dr Colin Manock. It had started when a student came to Moles with a project that examined Manock's evidence in a murder trial. "I wasn't particularly interested in miscarriages of justice," says Moles. "I said, 'Can you bring me any evidence?' The student brought me a barrow load. I read it and thought, 'This is crazy. It can't be right.' But it was, and because Manock was the chief forensic pathologist, we thought there must be more cases like this. So we had a look and quickly came up with a dozen more." One of those cases was Derek Bromley's. When Moles met Bromley in prison, he knew he was someone he could work with. "Derek's very much on the front foot. He's intelligent, articulate ... Sometimes he'll ring me up and say, 'You have to talk to this fellow and that fellow.' Half an hour later he'll ring me back and say, 'I've talked to the other fellow and he's agreed to meet you.' Then, half an hour later, he'll ring back and say, 'I've arranged the meeting for Friday at 10.' " The thrust of Moles's argument - tabled by the South Australian Parliament's legislative review committee - is that Manock, as the chief forensic pathologist for the state, performed 10,000 autopsies and yet was not properly qualified as a forensic pathologist. "It's important to appreciate that the so-called scientific evidence he gave at the Bromley trial was utter nonsense," says Moles. In that evidence, Manock had asserted the various cuts and bruises on Docoza's body had occurred in the hour before death and that Docoza had drowned. Adds Moles, "Manock gave a number of descriptions of injuries: this one would have been caused by a kick; this one could have been caused by a barbell; this one could have been caused by scraping on the ground. All those descriptions exactly correlated with [Carter's] description of the fight. So you have a good match between the scientific evidence and the eyewitness evidence. You put them together and you come up with a conviction." Manock's opinions went through the trial and the appeal uncontested. But one of Australia's foremost forensic experts on drowning, Professor Vernon Plueckhahn, as quoted in the tabled document, said it was his "firm opinion that there is no scientific basis in the post-mortem findings for an unequivocal diagnosis of death from drowning". In fact, Moles says, there wasn't enough evidence to say that Docoza was even murdered. "Once a body's been immersed in water for about two days," he says, "the tissues become putrefied and they become a bit like jelly, so if you could identify injury to the body you couldn't possibly determine if it's happened before or after death."
The entire story can be found at:


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