Thursday, October 28, 2010


A group, including the youngest daughter of Henry Keogh, has gone to the Internet through Facebook to gain support for the establishment of a Criminal Cases Review Commission in Australia.

The group says it has been motivated by, "a spate of highly publicized cases have led many to question how a justice system, meant to be impartial & professional, with all its apparent safeguards, get things so wrong and for so long."

Readers of this Blog are encouraged to register their support at:

In the "About" section of the Facebook page, we are told that:

"When someone is wrongfully imprisoned, there are many hidden victims. It’s not only the convicted person who does the time, whose life gets put on hold and turned upside down; it’s every member of their family too. So even if some people don’t care about the person in prison, they need to know, and remember that the collateral damage is very real and is just as, if not more devastating. And, it’s totally unacceptable.

I am the youngest daughter of Henry Keogh, who has been in prison for 15 years - convicted & imprisoned not just for a murder he didn’t commit, but for a murder that never even happened. It has been known for a very long time now there were grave mistakes; but what has the system done?
Ignored us, then fobbed us off in a multitude of shabby & dishonest ways, misled or even lied to the courts, the media, the parliament & public & continue to ignore us year after year.

In Britain, they established a CCRC in 1997 which has led to the overturning of convictions in some 300 cases. Of those, around 50 were murder cases and 4 involved people who had been hanged. The review of cases is completely independent of Parliament, the Government, the Crown and the Defence.

A CCRC subjects cases to a robust and thoroughly impartial review to consider whether there is new evidence or argument that may cast doubt on the safety of an original decision, but as it stands here in Australia, the people in power who can, and are supposed to put these things right:
* Don’t want to know, or won’t talk to you.
* Simply won’t accept that a mistake has been made
* And seem to lack the courage, any compassion and perhaps the integrity to correct a wrong no matter how obvious it may be.

My dad is not an isolated case, proving the point if it can happen once, it can happen again and again.
What I want to know, and what everyone should want to know is exactly what our political leaders, who have a statutory and moral duty to protect ALL citizens, are going to do to right this wrong & more importantly prevent this from happening again.

Too many politicians hide behind the cliché’: the system isn’t perfect, but it’s the best we’ve got.” Well there are many eminent legal, forensic & medical experts who are telling us that our application & execution of the justice system isn’t the best. In fact, it’s far from it. I am so sick of the same old hollow rhetoric that just buys time or fills a snappy little sound bite. Surely as a democratic community we deserve some honest & meaningful answers, followed up with real and immediate action? I refuse to be fobbed off anymore by the usual cliché’ cop outs, such as “the system gets it right more often that it gets it wrong” Seriously, is that really supposed to be good enough? After 15 years fighting for my dad I say NO. I wish our leaders would remember and use this cliché: “Evil prevails when good men do nothing.”

Another predictable little gem that gets trotted out with nauseating regularity is “Well the accused was judged by their peers and found to be guilty”. Surely that or any other judgement by one’s peers can only be fair, just, and reliable when the evidence presented to them is honest and factual. And in my dad’s matter, that just wasn’t the case. It wasn’t even close.

We need to constantly remind ourselves that this or any other system is not some amorphous, faceless entity that can’t be taken to task...unless we allow it. It’s made up of actual people who have real & specific responsibilities and obligations to ALL of us and when they don’t live up to their sworn duties they do serious damage to individuals, families and the community as a whole.
Please show your support by joining and inviting your friends, talking about it at your workplace, with your families, write about it in your blogs, call up talkback radio or email members of the legislative council – anything to support the Bill for the establishment of a CCRC.

1. Are you aware that Australia does not have any legal review procedure once a person has been convicted and has had an unsuccessful appeal?
2. Even where there is compelling evidence of innocence, the court of appeal cannot reopen the appeal. The High Court will not receive the evidence.
3. When the system has failed, it has failed spectacularly because of proven incompetence & negligence that was known and allowed to continue unchecked
4. Ann Bressington MLC will soon be introducing a private members Bill into the South Australian Parliament for the introduction of a review committee.
5. The CCRC is an independent body set up to review possible miscarriages of justice and decide if they should be referred to an appeal court."

There has also been a push for a Criminal Cases Review Commission in Canada - a country which has also seen spate of wrongful convictions in recent years - in which reviews are conducted internally by the Department of Justice.

Bibi Sangha, Kent Roach and Robert Moles, point out in their recently published book "Forensic Investigations and Miscarriages of Justice: the Rhetoric Meets the Reality," published by Irwin Law in Toronto, that six judicial inquiries have called for a review process which is independent of government such as a Criminal Review Commission. (I, for one, cannot think of any other recommendation which has received the support of so many inquiries?)

Sangha, Roach and Moles cite former Supreme Court of Canada Justice Peter Cory's recommendation in his report on the Sophonow Inquiry that, a "completely independent entity" such as the Criminal Cases Review Commission be established to "effectively, efficiently and quickly review cases in which wrongful conviction is alleged....if the State commits significant errors in the course of the investigation and prosecution, it should accept the responsibility for the sad which will inevitably flow from them."

PUBLISHER'S NOTE: The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be accessed at:

For a breakdown of some of the cases, issues and controversies this Blog is currently following, please turn to:

Harold Levy: Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog;;