Thursday, July 29, 2004

Witnesses may have conspired, says judge

Criminal charges will be considered against prosecution witnesses who gave evidence at the inquiry into the conviction of Roseanne Catt over a conspiracy to murder her husband.

The judge heading an inquiry into Catt's convictions said he would refer evidence of more than 100 phone conversations between key prosecution witnesses to the NSW Police Commissioner and the NSW Director of Public Prosecutions to determine whether criminal prosecutions should be launched against them.

The acting District Court Judge, Peter Davidson, said at a final hearing on Friday that his inquiry, which began in February last year, was complete and he would forward his findings to the NSW Court of Criminal Appeal early this week for a decision on whether any or all of Catt's 1991 convictions should be overturned.

Catt spent 10 years in prison for possessing a pistol and poisoning, stabbing, assaulting and conspiring to kill her then husband Barry Catt. While the prosecution painted her as an evil and manipulative woman, the defence case has been that she was the victim of a conspiracy between prosecution witnesses.

The case was reopened after an acquaintance of former NSW detective Peter Thomas, who led the police investigation, provided the Attorney General, Bob Debus, with a statement saying Thomas told him he planted a gun on Roseanne Catt. Mr Debus then requested the Court of Criminal Appeal allow a fresh appeal in the case.

In the last days of Judge Davidson's inquiry, defence barrister Tom Molomby, SC, succeeded in tendering phone records of numbers associated with key prosecution witnesses, including Thomas, serving NSW detective Carl Paget, Barry Catt and his daughters.

Mr Molomby's analysis of the records showed phone contact between these people on more than 100 occasions during the hearing despite warnings from the judge they should not discuss the case or speak with anyone likely to be giving evidence in the inquiry.

Judge Davidson said the evidence of contact was so extensive further investigation was needed.

By Wendy Bacon posted 29 July 04


Update on Roseanne Catt case
Judge Davidson called both parties back to Court today to announce that he has finished his part of the Inquiry and to advise that he is sending his findings to the Registrar.

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The Roseanne Catt Trial
This case is fantastic! It covers ground that exposes the thorough erosion of so much that is good in our society - the issues themselves become clouded by disbelief knowing this has happened at all.

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The longest-serving female prisoner in New South Wales, Roseanne Catt, has welcomed a decision by the Government to restore funding for her battle to clear her name.

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A woman may have been charged with trying to poison her husband before police received toxicology results, the New South Wales Supreme Court has heard.

It has been brought to our attention that today Legal Aid have formally advised Brock Partners, Roseanne Catt's solicitors, that they will no longer fund the Inquiry - at this most crucial time when her hearing is set for next Monday 3rd February.

Roseanne Catt update
Since writing this letter we have learned that the Attorney General is saying that the court matter that has taken eighteen months to prepare should be adjourned. In the meantime we wait and wait and wait until they say we can proceed. This is the situation just as we prepare to go to court on Monday 3rd February 2003.

Roseanne Catt
The case of Roseanne Catt starts On Monday 3rd February 2003 at 10 am in the Downing Centre Sydney before Judge Davidson.