Tuesday, October 07, 2008

`Day of shame' for West Australian Police

Huge police misconduct behind wrongful conviction. They framed an easy victim -- a mentally ill guy -- just to save themselves the work of finding the real culprit

Wrongfully convicted man Andrew Mark Mallard's sister has described today as a "day of shame" for WA Police. Speaking after the Corruption and Crime Commission released its long-awaited report into the prosecution and wrongful conviction of her brother, Jacqui Ms Mallard also hit out at the report, describing it as soft. "Once again, we've put our faith in people hopefully coming out and making the right decision and while the report makes recommendations I feel they are not strong enough," Ms Mallard said. "We have this report going back to the DPP and we have someone in this report who is actually a member of the DPP, so our confidence is a bit low on that level. "As John said.this is a day of shame really for the police force with this report."

Mr Mallard was convicted of the 1994 murder of Mosman Park jeweller Pamela Lawrence. He spent 12 years in jail before the High Court quashed his conviction. A cold case review into Mrs Lawrence's murder found that convicted murderer Simon Rochford was likely to have been the killer.

Ms Mallard said her brother, who was interstate and not planning to comment publicly on the report today, hoped to move on with his life once he was compensated for the 12 years he spent in jail for a crime he did not commit. She said she believed that day was coming and that her brother would eventually be able to move on. "It's a permanent thing as far as he is concerned at the moment," Ms Mallard said.

Ms Mallard said she was proud of her brother for overcoming the injustice of his wrongful conviction and subsequent incarceration. "I'm very proud of him, I'm very proud of how he has managed to overcome what has happened to him. He is not bitter, he just wants justice to be done and he is very grateful to all the people that helped him get there," she said. "He's just shown a remarkable strength and spirit and through it all he has managed to keep a sense of humour which I just love him for." Ms Mallard said she believed her brother would be disappointed by the CCC report.

Original report here

More detail on the matter above:

Western Australia's corruption watchdog recommends disciplinary action against two assistant police commissioners and the deputy director of public prosecution over the wrongful conviction of Perth man Andrew Mallard. The Corruption and Crime Commission (CCC) investigation by John Dunford, QC, centred on the prosecution and appeals of Mr Mallard, whose conviction for the 1994 murder of Perth jeweller Pamela Lawrence was quashed in 2005 by the High Court. Mr Mallard spent 12 years in jail before walking free in 2006 after the High Court found there had been a miscarriage of justice.

The CCC report tabled in the West Australian parliament listed four findings of misconduct against assistant commissioner Mal Shervill, who led the murder investigation as a detective sergeant. It included two findings of misconduct against assistant commissioner David Caporn, who worked on the case as a detective sergeant. There were also two findings of misconduct against the deputy DPP Ken Bates, who prosecuted Mr Mallard at his 1995 trial. The report found Mr Shervill had caused witnesses to change their statements, dropping references to their earlier accounts.

It said Mr Shervill made false entries in police records in relation to those changes and asked a chemist to delete any reference to salt water testing on Mr Mallard's clothing in a report given to his defence lawyers. Mr Dunford's report said Mr Shervill had also failed to disclose witnesses' original statements, including forensic test reports and unsuccessful attempts to locate a weapon capable of inflicting the wounds that Mrs Lawrence suffered, to Mr Mallard's lawyers.

Mr Caporn had written a letter to the police prosecutor in 1994 which contained incorrect and misleading information relating to the case and also caused witnesses to alter their statements.

Mr Bates had prosecuted the trial on the basis that a wrench depicted by Mr Mallard in a drawing, was the murder weapon, but made no attempt to prove Mrs Lawrence's injuries were consistent with the use of a wrench, the report said. He had also failed to disclose forensic test results about the wrench to Mr Mallard's lawyer and did not ensure the results were disclosed by police.

Labor MP John Quigley, who acted for Mr Mallard in the case, had not engaged in serious misconduct in threatening to disclose the identity of an undercover officer, Mr Dunford found.

Mr Dunford's report also made recommendations regarding police interviews of mentally ill suspects, police training and the documentation of advice received from the DPP's office.

Original report here

(And don't forget your ration of Wicked Thoughts for today)

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