Remember, police are regularly wrong

Police always think they’re right: it’s Copper 101. Watchers of Ch 10’s morning program, where police protesteth too much, might recall they’re wrong every time someone is acquitted, which is very regularly.

Remember, police are regularly wrong


By Bill Rowlings, CEO

Statement by Civil Liberties Australia in response to statement of confidence in the conviction of Sue Neill-Fraser by the Tasmanian Police, made on the Channel 10 morning program on 8 March 2016 https://youtu.be/HmHoml__ObA:

“The police, the prosecutor, the judge, and the Crown always believe they are right when a guilty – or an innocent – person has been convicted, but they are often wrong,” said Bill Rowlings, CEO of Civil Liberties Australia. He gave an example:

Thursday 10 August 2006

Acting Attorney General (of South Australia) Kevin Foley says he has declined to refer the petition (for mercy, by Henry Keogh) to the Supreme Court, after considering advice received from the Solicitor General Chris Kourakis QC (now Chief Justice of SA).

Mr Foley says that after considering the report of the Solicitor General, delivered after an exhaustive examination over two and a half years of 37 complaints contained in Mr Keogh’s third petition, he formed the opinion that it did not disclose any arguable basis on which the Supreme Court could find that there had been a miscarriage of justice.

Nor does it disclose any reason to doubt Mr Keogh’s guilt of the murder in 1994 of Anna Jane Cheney,” Mr Foley said. “The combined weight of the circumstances is more than enough to prove Mr Keogh’s guilt… It is not arguable that there has been a miscarriage of justice,” Mr Foley said.   http://netk.net.au/Keogh/NewsRelease.asp

8 years later…on 19 December 2014

 Photo: Henry Keogh walks free from court, with his daughter Alexis who grew up without him, in December 2104 after two decades of being wrongly imprisoned in South Australia.
Photo: Henry Keogh walks free from court, with his daughter Alexis who grew up without him, in December 2104 after two decades of being wrongly imprisoned in South Australia.

The Court of Criminal Appeal of South Australia today ruled that Henry Keogh had suffered a substantial miscarriage of justice. It set aside his conviction. He is freed from jail, after more than 19 years in prison, and is now a free man.

 Police are the worst judges

“The very worst judges of whether a conviction is safe, or not, are the police,” Mr Rowlings said.

“After all, they have carefully selected the information they want to be used to try to prove guilt. So, obviously they think they are right: but they are regularly proven wrong, in original trials when people are acquitted, and in appeals when someone is convicted in error in the first instance.

“In most cases of long-term wrongful conviction, where an innocent person has spent 5-20 years behind bars, some one (sometimes more than one) of the police, supposed ‘eyewitnesses’, forensic scientists, prosecutors and the judge(s) has not acted properly, or has made egregious errors for which they should be held accountable.

“If Sue Neill-Fraser is proven to have not received a fair trial, then the Tasmanian Police, and others, should come under intense scrutiny for their part in the travesty of justice.”

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