Gloria is flying South – getting involved in what might be a major miscarriage of justice in Adelaide, a city he doesn’t even broadcast to. Don’t say he’s got more to offer than squawks and screeching?
Kevin Naughton, host of the Drive program on ABC Adelaide 891, broke a fascinating story last week. The Parrot, Naughton claims, has got involved in one of Adelaide’s more interesting murder cases – writing to the Premier raising his concerns about the way in which it has been handled.
The matter isn’t one of the usual Adelaide gothic horror stories.
Instead, it’s part of a series of allegations of a systematic failure of forensics that could have lead to an unknown number of miscarriages of justice over more than 30 years.
The story has had national attention before. Crikey readers may recall a program Four Corners devoted to it back in 2001. Their full report is at http://www.abc.net.au/4corners/stories/s397448.htm
The particular case here concerns a Henry Keogh, currently serving a lengthy prison term after being found guilty of drowning his fiancée Anna-Jane Cheney in the bath of her home.
Many people believe the conviction was based on unsound evidence.
Our feathered friend is usually a “lock ’em up and throw away the key” type.
It is very unusual for him to take an interest in a convicted murderer – particularly one imprisoned in a city he doesn’t broadcast to.
However, Keogh’s case has also attracted some attention from another source that normally has similar views. The Adelaide edition of Today Tonight has run several programs on the matter.
State Attorney General, Labor archconservative Mick Atkinson, seems unwilling to look at the matter further.
He and Premier Mike Rann have waged a populist war against the judiciary and the legal profession on “victims rights” and sentencing issues.
The pair have been engaging in a torrid threesome with Laura Norder that would have left Casanova flagging – but seem to have no problems keeping it up.
The allegations being made here, though, are obviously of the utmost concern.
The integrity of the operations of a state’s justice system over a generation is under question.
Will the Parrot force some action? Will he prove that he’s more than squawk and screech?
This is a fascinating one not just for bird watchers – but for anyone interested in the media, politics and justice – and how they intersect.
The Bird-Watching team will be focussing their binoculars on this matter very closely to see what unfolds. V-e-r-y closely indeed.
Here, for openers, are the transcripts of what Naughton’s had to say on his program:
ABC 891AM, Kevin Naughton Drive, 13 April 2004
KEVIN NAUGHTON: Now to a story that I think probably almost all South Australians have seen in one form or another over the last few years. The central element of this story is the conviction of Henry Keogh for the murder of his fiancée. Since that point in time, and don’t forget that Mr Keogh has served something like 9 years in jail now, but for the last few years there has been a very strong lobby group, probably more properly titled these days a collaboration of people with quite eminent qualifications, whose stated aims have been: to correct the miscarriage of justice in the case of Henry Keogh to fully inquire into and expose the professional incompetence and misconduct of a Dr Colin Manock and to explore the miscarriages of justice which occurred in the Baby Deaths cases and the list goes on and also to inquire into the failure of the Medical Board of South Australia to investigate Dr Manock’s work and incompetence.
This story featured firstly on 4Corners some years ago, and has been given prominent treatment on Today Tonight on Channel 7 in Adelaide who have run something like 12 issues of this particular case. The Attorney General of South Australia in recent times has made quite clear that he is unmoved by any of this. But today we received a copy of a letter from Sydney broadcaster Alan Jones addressed to the Premier Mike Rann. Now we should point out that we tried to get confirmation from Alan Jones that the letter indeed did come from him. He has the flu today, according to his assistant, so they were unable to make contact with him this afternoon, and the Premier’s office have also advised us that they haven’t received a copy of the letter and subsequently won’t respond to its contents.
However, a member of the collaboration, I’ll go through some of the names of the people involved in this collaboration to try and correct the situation as they see it. They include people such as John Nader QC in Sydney, Tim Game Senior Counsel in Sydney, Tom Percy a QC in Perth, Kevin Borick a prominent QC in Adelaide, Stephen Howells a barrister in Melbourne, Michael Sykes, Chris Patterson, and Terry O’Gorman solicitors. Consultants include Dr Harry Harding a forensic scientist, Bibi Sangha a law lecturer, Philip Scales a solicitor, and Dr Bob Moles researcher and author. Dr Moles a legal academic is our guest this afternoon. Welcome to you.
BOB MOLES: Thanks very much Kevin.
NAUGHTON: Before we just start on recapping where all this is at, and why the focus is now on the Medical Board with all avenues of appeal being exhausted in the legal system, are you able to confirm for us one way or the other that Alan Jones has written a letter to the Premier Mike Rann?
MOLES: Yes, I’ve got a copy of the letter before me.
NAUGHTON: And you’re convinced that it comes from Alan Jones?
MOLES: Yes, yes, it was dated 31 March and addressed to the Premier Mike Rann. I’ve got a faxed copy of the letter.
NAUGHTON: Faxed from Alan Jones?
MOLES: Faxed from Alan Jones at 2GB that’s correct.
NAUGHTON: Why would Alan Jones become involved in this South Australian legal case?
MOLES: Well Kevin, I think it’s a mistake to just think about it as a South Australian case, the concerns that we have are that the medical system and the legal system in South Australia have failed to work in a fairly fundamental way. Now we only have one legal system in Australia, we don’t have a separate one for each State and Territory so it’s a single legal system, and if the legal system has fallen over in one area then it’s a matter of national significance. That’s why we’ve put together this team of lawyers from around the country and the eminent medical and forensic experts from around the country and overseas, I might add, because it is a matter of national significance.
NAUGHTON: Why would Alan Jones in particular though be a target of the information that you’ve collected? I’m presuming that the various documents that you’ve put together and that have circulated in which you’ve put together your position and your arguments on this case have been sent to him is that right?
MOLES: That’s correct yes. In fact it was sent initially to John Singleton. He was in South Australia a little while ago as you would know and he spoke with Kevin Borick who is a friend of his and Borick was talking about the issues that we are dealing with and Mr Singleton said he would like to have a briefing paper on it. So we sent it to him, and I suppose he passed it across to Alan Jones to have a look at.
NAUGHTON: Alan Jones carries a bit of weight as I think it has been well documented his very high media presence in Sydney in particular gives him a fair degree of influence. I note in the letter to the Premier he says, Mike these are serious allegations that need addressing, they put into disrepute both the legal and medical systems in your state, as some people may be inappropriately jailed they require urgent attention. And that he adds another paragraph later, I would be very grateful if you could look at these issues and let me know what the situation is rather than have me talk about it publicly. That almost seems to suggest that unless he gets a reasonable response from the Premier he would be keen to engage in a public campaign about justice in South Australia?
MOLES: Well I certainly hope that’s the case, I mean obviously I can’t talk about what Alan Jones may or may not do in the future. I merely came across a copy of his letter and I thought it was of sufficient public interest to pass a copy of it to you. But certainly I imagine that there will be a lot of people around Australia who will want to engage in a debate about what has been going on. It’s not just the Keogh case, there are about a dozen or fourteen cases in which we –
NAUGHTON: Going back to 1972 according to your documentation?
MOLES: That’s right, right back to the Van Beelen case, but in each of those cases over the years, there have been, in my opinion, very serious errors made and that really then casts questions about why it is that they haven’t been looked at over that period of time.
NAUGHTON: So your approach at this point in time and the approach of your group, your collaboration, is that if you can undermine the validity of the forensic evidence in this string of cases, and in particular in the Keogh case, which you are trying to do via a Medical Board of South Australia investigation, that if you can achieve that, then you may be able to reopen some of the legal avenues in the Keogh case?
MOLES: Oh look, I think it’s beyond question that the Keogh case will have to be re-examined as well as the other cases that we’ve pointed to. The errors of procedure and of evidence in my opinion are quite clear and will have to be addressed at some stage. It just seems to me that there are people in South Australia who are in a situation of denial and trying to hope that it will all go away which clearly it won’t.
NAUGHTON: Particularly not if someone of the ilk of Alan Jones decides to launch some sort of public campaign?
MOLES: Well that’s right you see, because I think Alan Jones would have been impressed by the range of the eminent legal and forensic experts that we have. We have the very best in Australia and some of the best from overseas, and they’ve all actually provided affidavits – sworn statements – which we’ve provided to the Medical Board to say that they’ve got very serious concerns about what has happened in the Keogh case.
NAUGHTON: So what response are you looking for from the South Australian government?
MOLES: OK well look, ultimately there will have to be something in the nature of a Royal Commission to examine these things, because clearly the current institutions in South Australia cannot properly address them. Even the Medical Board, which has very extensive powers to go out and investigate matters, has said that unless they approve of a complaint Henry Keogh himself will have to investigate the issues and provide the evidence to the Medical Board. Now clearly that is not what it says in the Medical Practitioners Act, and I think that suggestion is ludicrous. So at some stage there will have to be a Royal Commission to look at these cases. These are very – very serious issues, and the eminent experts that we have, are willing to come to South Australia at their own expense, this is the expert lawyers, and argue the case, and we’ve also as I say already got the affidavits, the sworn statements from the eminent forensic experts.
NAUGHTON: Now for those people who might not be familiar with what the essential element of this argument is, you and your group maintain that the forensic evidence from the pathologist Dr Colin Manock in a string of cases is fundamentally flawed, is that it?
MOLES: Absolutely yes, yes. The evidence simply doesn’t stand up to any sort of serious examination. You know, I’m an independent legal researcher, I came to South Australia about 5 years ago, I started having a look at the transcripts in these files and I was horrified by what I saw. And clearly Alan Jones has reviewed that sort of information and he is appropriately horrified. I think any sensible person who looks at the evidence would be horrified.
NAUGHTON: Dr Bob Moles thank you very much
NAUGHTON: Dr Bob Moles, legal academic and one of the key figures behind a group that has been lobbying now for some years for a reopening of some elements of the Henry Keogh murder case. And as he has mentioned there, Alan Jones has written a letter to Premier Mike Rann, and as I indicated earlier, the Premier’s office say that they have not seen the letter as yet. So we will simply stay on top of the story and see whether or not the government deems it necessary to reply to the Sydney broadcaster.
ABC 891AM – Kevin Naughton Drive – 14 April 2004
KEVIN NAUGHTON: And continuing through this hour, we have a look at the rather intriguing story of “it”. The Premier’s office says that he hasn’t see “it”. Alan Jones’s office says he sent “it”. “It” is the letter that is the latest in a four year battle to challenge forensic evidence in major South Australian criminal cases and we look at that in a second.
Well first up today we go back to lasts night’s story that commercial media heavyweight Alan Jones has written to Premier Mike Rann claiming that the State’s legal and medical systems are in disrepute. So much so that he says in his letter of March 31 that some people may be inappropriately jailed. The letter is in reference to the Henry Keogh case, and a string of other matters, where the prosecution tabled evidence from State forensic pathologist Dr Colin Manock. Manock’s work has been under attack for several years.
The Keogh case for those of you who might not be across this, just to recap, is this, banker Henry Keogh was found guilty of murdering Adelaide lawyer Anna Jane Cheney in 1994. Anna Jane Cheney who was his fiancée was murdered by drowning in the bath. This was a month before they were due to marry and that was the finding of the court that he was sentenced to a minimum of twenty five years in jail. And appeals to the Full Court, the High Court and even Petitions to the Governor have all subsequently failed – although a third such Petition is currently being considered. In that time, Keogh has had a solid band of supporters, including Speaker Peter Lewis, prominent QC Kevin Borick, senior pathologists from other States, and former police officers.
As we revealed yesterday, high profile and politically influential Sydney broadcaster Alan Jones has now joined the list with his letter to the Premier. However, I might add that the Premier’s office insisted today that they had no record of the receipt of the letter. Now we’ve got a copy of the original which was faxed to the Premier’s direct fax number. And Alan Jones’s office insisted it was sent on the 31 March. All parties concerned now have a copy of it anyway.
With all legal appeal avenues exhausted though, the focus in this push is on the Medical Board of South Australia. Why so? Well Kevin Borick QC good afternoon to you,
KEVIN BORICK: Good day Kevin how are you
NAUGHTON: Very well. Before we look at the Medical Board and why that is now your focus, how did Alan Jones get involved in this issue?
BORICK: Well, a primary reason was because of the number of senior lawyers and medical experts and other experts from outside South Australia who have given all of their time free of charge and put their professional reputations on the line for what on the face of it is a South Australian case. I mean, they’ve all got their own problems in their own States, so why did they come to this case? Now yesterday you mentioned ten lawyers concerned, but it’s probably important and I’d like your listeners to know some of the other experts involved in order to appreciate why I believe every journalist in this country should become interested. Can I just mention some of the names?
Professor Stephen Cordner Professor of Forensic Medicine and Director of the Victorian Institute of Forensic Pathology, Professor Anthony Ansford senior pathologist in Queensland, Professor Malcolm Fisher, Clinical Professor in intensive care medicine North Shore hospital in Sydney, Professor Derrick Pounder professor of pathology Dundee University in Scotland, Associate Professor Peter Scally Director of Radiology at the Princess Alexandra hospital in Brisbane, Dr Byron Collins an independent pathologist based in Melbourne, Dr Michael Rodriguez a neuropathologist New South Wales, Professor Gale Spring, one of the world’s leading experts in forensic photography now based at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Police Superintendent David Cook, Head of Crime Support Surrey Police Headquarters in the UK, and Robin Napper former UK Police Superintendent, now engaged with the Dept of Forensic Science in the University of Western Australia. And Kevin, they’re just some of the experts providing assistance to our own experts, Professor Tony Thomas, Flinders University, Dr Terry Donald Director of Child Protection at the Women and Children’s Hospital here, Professor Maciej Henneberg, at the University of Adelaide.
To our knowledge this is the first time in Australian legal and medical history that such a team has evolved, given their time free, over a million dollars worth, to help one man who claims to be wrongly convicted of a crime. And that in our view is why your listeners should realize that there is something out of the ordinary in the Keogh case.
NAUGHTON: Now the list of names keeps getting bigger, and bigger. However, there has never really been any prospect of movement on this case now for some years. The response to the Petition to the Governor I think was fairly clear, and even when you go back Kevin Borick, and read the decision of the High Court for example, in the High Court judgment, perhaps the pathology evidence may not have been as crucial as many would think and that the original decisions were based on a string of other elements of circumstantial evidence?
BORICK: The High Court never had the benefit of any of the evidence that I’ve just spoken to you about, but in addition, the High Court only get 20 minutes to have what’s called a Special Leave application, and when and if they believed that the pathology was not significant then they were wrong, and can I tell you why, can I just give you a quick reason why?
The prosecution case in Keogh was that, despite what the Director of Public Prosecutions may now say, depended totally on the evidence of Dr Colin Manock and this what in his own words Rofe told the jury.
But there are two things you might think that are crucial to this case. If those four bruises on her lower left leg were inflicted at the same time, and that time was just before she died in the bath there was no other explanation for them other than a grip, if it was a grip it must have been the grip of the accused, if it was the grip of the accused it must have been an act of murder.
And he went further and said:
You might give Keogh the benefit of the doubt, except for the one positive indication of murder namely the grip mark on the bottom left leg.
Now Kevin, every single one of us, the names I’ve just read out, all the lawyers, we can tell you there was no grip mark on the leg there was no bruise on the inside –
NAUGHTON: So now is that why having moved quite strongly down that legal path, but having exhausted all those avenues, your focus is now on the Medical Board of South Australia, who in December said that they weren’t really all that interested in investigating the competency of the forensic pathologist concerned?
BORICK: Kevin, just let me take you back to this one positive indication of murder, because when our Attorney General addressed Parliament, he said Dr Manock’s evidence as to how the bruises came to be on the victim’s leg in the Keogh case had marginal weight and relevance to the prosecution case. Now Kevin you cannot reconcile what Atkinson told the Parliament and what Rofe told the jury. I can tell you –
NAUGHTON: So, what’s your plan of action from here now?
BORICK: Well we have two plans of action. First of all, we’re waiting to see what the Solicitor General has to say about it because the Attorney General has referred it to him for a report. Secondly, we with all of this evidence, which was not before the High Court, or before the Court of Criminal Appeal in South Australia, or before the jury, or before any court – ever, we are taking this to the Medical Board because they are responsible for maintaining standards in South Australia. And this is what Jones is on about too, and it is what every journalist in South Australia should be on about Kevin, because you can’t avoid the one simple fact that what Atkinson told the Parliament is irreconcilable with what Rofe told the jury.
NAUGHTON: But the decision of the Medical Board in December last year – and I forget the exact details – but it was along the lines of that the only person who could bring a complaint was actually Keogh himself and he clearly doesn’t have the capacity or the resources to do so whilst he is in jail does he? So how do you get around that?
BORICK: Two things in that Kevin. Firstly, they have given notice that they are going to hold an inquiry – so they have to hold an inquiry. The second thing is they’ve said well, now we’re going to have difficulty in holding this inquiry because we haven’t got the resources. Well you see if they haven’t got the resources, Parliament’s got to give it to them – and they have to hold it. It’s overlooking the fact that we’ve done all this work, all the experts, we’ve done the job for them. Now, sooner or later, the Medical Board of South Australia are going to have to have an inquiry.
NAUGHTON: So, that’s what you’re looking for from the Government? You’re looking for the Government to resource the Medical Board of South Australia to conduct that inquiry?
BORICK: And if the government won’t resource them – and if the Parliament won’t do anything about it – then we’ve got two other recourses. We’ll go to the Supreme Court to make them do their job, or alternatively, and with at the same time, we rely very much on people like Alan Jones and you Kevin to bring this to the attention of the South Australian public – that we are not going to go away, we have a very valid point to make about the miscarriage of justice in the case of Keogh.
NAUGHTON: How often do you visit Henry Keogh?
BORICK: I’ve only ever met him once in my life. I had nothing to do with his trial or his appeals and I came into it three years ago, and had a look at it and then this team has evolved.
NAUGHTON: So, it’s not a personal lobby team, but in fact something which seems to have evolved, what – some five or six years after he went to jail?
BORICK: Yes, because as each one of us looked at it in turn, and as we got further and further into looking at the whole of this scene, it became apparent something was very wrong. Look, Kevin, you can ask the Attorney General this – he got up in Parliament and said that the bruise on the inner side of the inner left ankle does not exist. But he said that that’s probably explainable by the fact that Dr Manock took the tissue sample from some other part of the body. Now we think that the Attorney General has been badly advised. We think that the Parliament of South Australia should be told the truth of this matter. And if they’re not going to get down to the issue and resolve it, you guys will have to make sure that people know what is going on.
NAUGHTON: Well thank you Kevin and it certainly seems that with the group that is now being assembled that this is one matter which is not going to go away.