Thursday, December 20, 2012

Graham Stafford: Australia. The case for compensation; The dissenting opinion of Justice Holmes directing an acquittal in 2009 makes some very compelling points. Harold Levy. Publisher. The Charles Smith Blog.

PUBLISHER'S NOTE: As Graham Stafford prepares to bring re-new his bid for  compensation,  the Court of Appeal decision in 2009 directing a new trial  takes on increased importance - particularly the dissenting decision of Justice Holmes, who directed an acquittal. All three decisions can be found at the link below, on the superbly informative Australian web  site "Networked Knowledge," which is authored by Dr. Robert Moles, and bears the Platonic dictum  "He who commits injustice is ever made more wretched than he who suffers it." A portion of the dissenting judgment - with some   very compelling points as to why generous compensation is owed to Mr. Stafford and a public inquiry is long overdue  -  is found below.

Harold Levy: Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog

BREAKING NEWS:  "Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie announces review into murder case against Graham Stafford: To decide whether he should bring him to trial for the murder of Leanne Holland. Courrier mail.

CONTEXT: "Graham Stuart Stafford born 1963, was a sheet metal worker from Goodna, near Ipswich, Queensland who was convicted in 1992 of the murder of twelve-year-old Leanne Sarah Holland, born 1 October 1978. Leanne Holland, the younger sister of Stafford's former partner, Melissa Holland, was murdered in September 1991. Her viciously mutilated body was found three days after she was reported missing in nearby Redbank Plains. It is possible she was also sexually interfered with and tortured with a cigarette lighter. Stafford appealed to the Queensland Court of Appeal, but this appeal was rejected on 25 August 1992. In 1997, the Queensland Court of Appeal re-examined the case after Stafford lodged an application for pardon with the State Governor on the basis of evidence gathered by private detective, Graeme Crowley. The Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal again by a two-to-one majority on the grounds that there was still enough evidence to convict. Two applications for special leave to the High Court of Australia subsequently failed. Stafford was released in June 2006 after serving over 14 years in prison. Stafford, who was born in England and does not have Australian citizenship despite having migrated to Australia in 1969, faced deportation in November 2006. Some people, including Professor Paul Wilson of Bond University believe that Stafford is a victim of a miscarriage of justice. The Queensland Attorney-General, Kerry Shine, has agreed to closely consider any request on Stafford's behalf concerning a petition to clear him of the murder conviction. In April 2008, the Queensland Attorney-General referred the case to the Court of Appeal for a very rare second appeal for pardon. On 24 December 2009 the Court of Appeal overturned Graham Stafford's conviction and ordered a retrial by a 2-1 majority. The dissenting judge wanted an immediate acquittal. On 26 March 2010 the Queensland Director of Public Prosecutions, Tony Moynihan SC announced there would be no new trial of Graham Stafford for the murder of Leanne Holland."

GIST:  (Dissenting judgment directing an acquittal): Justice Holmes; "I have had the advantage of reading the judgment of Keane JA, and am grateful indeed for his comprehensive and clear review of the evidence. I agree with him that Mr Stafford has not had a fair trial on the charge of murder, the Crown case as put at trial having been fundamentally undermined by evidence since adduced. However, I have reached a different view about whether a re-trial should be ordered. I do not consider that, on the evidence which remains, a jury could be satisfied beyond doubt of Mr Stafford’s guilt. Mr Freney’s evidence, given for the purposes of the 1997 pardon petition, comprehensively demolished the theory that Leanne Holland was killed at her Goodna home. Dr Ashby, the forensic pathologist who went to the site where the body was found, did not accept the possibility that the fatal injuries were inflicted at that location; she would have expected far more blood. That was consistent with Mr Freney’s view, that there would have been an “enormous” amount of blood around. The uncontradicted expert evidence on those points means that if Mr Stafford killed Leanne Holland, he did so at a location away from the Hollands’ house in Alice Street, and then or later used his car to move the body to where it was found.........It is possible that Mr Stafford killed Leanne Holland. It is also possible that after Ms Collins saw her and before she reached home she was abducted and murdered by some other person. In my view, a jury presented with the Crown case as it now stands would experience a reasonable doubt as to Mr Stafford’s guilt. I would enter a verdict of acquittal."

All three decisions can be found at:


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Harold Levy: Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog.