Friday, January 02, 2015

Australia: Henry Keogh granted bail in Supreme Court, out of jail for first in almost 20 years

HENRY Keogh has walked from court as a free man for the first time in 19 years, after he was granted bail following the quashing of his murder conviction last week.

Justice John Sulan this afternoon granted Keogh bail after the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions confirmed it would not oppose the application.

At 4.38pm, flanked by the daughters he did not see grow up, Keogh walked through the front doors of the Supreme Court into a waiting hire car.

Keogh, 58, was jailed for life in 1995, after being convicted of the drowning murder of his fiance Anna Jane Cheney at their Magill home in 1994.

The case has been one of the most controversial in the state’s legal history and was only able to be brought to appeal after laws were introduced allowing cases to be re-opened if fresh and compelling new evidence emerged.

Keogh will be arraigned for retrial on February 2, but prosecutors are yet to reveal whether he will again face the murder charge.

His youngest brother David Keogh read a statement on his behalf, thanking the supporters that had stuck by him.

"Cleary this is an emotional time for all of us. This is a momentous occasion but one that is still subject to the due process of law," Mr Keogh said. "Henry does not wish to prejudice this in any way, so he will not be making any comment on the matter itself at all."

Mr Keogh said his brother was eternally grateful for the support of dozens of people who packed the courtroom and applauded loudly as he walked free on bail.

"Henry would like to express his gratitude to the judges from the Court of Criminal Appeal for handing down their judgment so quickly after the hearing of the appeal, and in time for his release before Christmas so he can spend that time with his family," Mr Keogh said.

"Henry would like to express his enormous gratitude to his exceptional legal team. No-one will know the vast hours that they put into the case and they entered it on a pro bono basis and have done an outstanding job."

Mr Keogh said it would take some time for his brother to readjust to civilian life.

"Aside from his legal obligations, adjustment back to normal life will be extraordinarily difficult after almost two decades of incarceration," he said.

"He asks all of you to give him some space to begin that process surrounded by the people who love and care for him."

Among supporters in the court was Gordon Wood, who was convicted of murdering model Caroline Byrne but was later acquitted after an appeal. "I was aware of his case when I was incarcerated, and as soon as I was exonerated I came to support him," Mr Wood said.

"I’m just ecstatic for him, this is a huge moment for Henry. There is literally not any evidence to support a theory of murder and there has been no murder as far as we can tell."

Another loyal supporter, legal expert Dr Bob Moles, said Keogh was holding up well despite his ordeal.

"He’s very quiet and very composed, as he has had to be for the past 20 years, I am actually more emotional than he is, but it’s a lovely outcome," Dr Moles said.

Keogh sat quietly in the dock of the court as the bail application was approved, wearing a smart grey suit and tie with close cropped hair.

He winked and smiled at supporters who packed the public gallery before embracing others as he walked from the dock.

The bail application was heard in a packed Supreme Court room. It had to be moved to a larger room to accommodate the number of people in the public gallery.

Keogh’s bail conditions, with a $5000 surety, include that he not contact any potential witnesses, including the Cheney family, that he reside at one of two bail addresses and that he not leave the state without permission.

He also must not possess any firearms and must submit to any tests, including residue tests.

Keogh’s release on bail comes after the Full Court of the Court of Criminal Appeal on Friday set aside his conviction for murder over the 1994 death of his then fiancee, Anna-Jane Cheney, 28, after a landmark appeal.

It also ruled that Keogh — who was found guilty of murder in 1995 at a retrial after a first trial resulted in a hung jury — be granted a retrial.

Ms Cheney was found dead in the bath tub of her Magill home in March, 1994.

Keogh was sentenced to life in jail with a 25-year non-parole period.

On Friday, Justices Tom Gray, John Sulan and Kevin Nicholson published their reasons for granting a retrial, including that the autopsy of SA’s then-chief forensic pathologist, Colin Manock, was "inadequate in material respects".

Lawyers for Keogh have previously made multiple appeals against his conviction, all of which have been dismissed.

Keogh’s latest and successful challenge arose from amendments to the Criminal Law Consolidation Act (1935).

Those changes allow a court to hear an appeal, even after all rights have been exhausted, if "fresh and compelling evidence" emerges.

Keogh, his family and advocates including former University of Adelaide law lecturer Dr Bob Moles have long protested Keogh’s innocence.

Original report here

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