Saturday, November 27, 2004

I tracked down Janine's killer, says MP

A Miscarriages of Justice ... MP Peter Breen and Inset Innocent Stephen Wayne "Shorty" Jamieson cemented into Goulburn Prison for Life and Victim Janine Balding.

This time last year, Peter Breen came face-to-face with the man he suspects of raping and murdering a 20-year-old Sydney bank teller, Janine Balding, in 1988 and getting away unpunished.

Homeless and living on Brisbane's Queen Street Mall, "Shorty" was an easy mark for Mr Breen because he was wearing the same black clothes he was questioned in by Sydney detectives 15 years ago. "I went up and talked to him; he told me who he was and we had a good chat," the independent NSW upper house MP said. "I didn't identify who I was. I just said that my name was Peter and I was interested in how he got by on the streets and where he stayed."

As Shorty turned to leave, he spat on the ground; Mr Breen pulled out a handkerchief and stooped to collect the mucus. He had what he came for: a DNA sample he hopes will exonerate another Shorty - Stephen "Shorty" Jamieson - who was convicted for the Balding murder.

One year on, at Mr Breen's prompting, the Public Defenders Office has written to the Attorney-General, Bob Debus, asking that a crucial piece of evidence - a headscarf used to gag Ms Balding - be sent to the US for DNA testing.

A test had been carried out by the government analytical laboratories last year after an application by Mr Breen to the NSW innocence panel. However, it failed to produce any DNA other than Ms Balding's and the outcry from victims' groups caused the Police Minister, John Watkins, to suspend the panel on the basis the process was too hurtful to grieving families.

Mr Breen recently learnt of the overseas test, specifically to detect minute traces of male DNA. He hopes it can detect DNA to match the sample he collected on his handkerchief.

Stephen Wayne Jamieson was convicted partly because he anally raped Ms Balding, but Mr Breen said a review of evidence by the innocence panel found DNA related to the rape from two other men, but not Jamieson.

If successful, he hopes the new piece of evidence will cause Jamieson's case to be reopened. It has captured Mr Breen's interest since he was lobbied by the NSW Bar Association over the Carr Government's 2001 legislation to "cement " 10 of the state's worst criminals in their cells, marking their files "never to be released".

Jamieson was among those targeted by the law, along with the other Balding murderers, one of whom was 14 and another 16.

The quest has made Mr Breen an easy target. He got a death threat after one talkback radio host broadcast his contact details.

"I can understand people being really angry about this, that the justice system doesn't appear to be working and that [families] have to relive their grief while these people get another go at the justice system," he said.

"I'm not naive. I expected I would be unpopular. But I don't mind being unpopular. I'm always running unpopular issues."

The Institute of Criminology and the Australasian Chapter of the International Academy of Law and Mental Health (IALMH) are pleased to announce a seminar:

By Sean Nicholls 27 November 04


A Question of Innocence
A man serving a life term for one of the state’s most notorious murders is again pressing for his release. And he has the support of a state MP. The case was the rape, abduction and murder of Sydney woman Janine Balding 15 years ago.

Weak Carr Government suspends Innocence Panel
The DNA evidence panel is under investigation and the New South Wales Innocence Panel's operations have been suspended and a review of how it works ordered.

The NSW government has finally appointed somebody (Justice John Nader) to head up its Innocence Panel and has produced leaflets and forms for people convicted of serious crimes (eg murder) to apply for DNA testing if they believe it may help prove their innocence. You can get the info by phoning 1300 881 717 or writing to the panel at GPO Box 45 Sydney NSW 2001.

Criminal's DNA filed under relative's name
The New South Wales Opposition is calling for an investigation into claims that police have entered DNA data for serious offenders under incorrect names.

New unit investigates unsolved deaths?
A new police unit has been established to investigate more than 360 unsolved deaths in New South Wales, with many of the deaths dating back more than 30 years.

The Breen Machine - Reform The Legal System Party
Last year the Carr Labor government introduced a vicious sentencing law that cemented in several prisoners without any consideration of their individual circumstances and possible rehabilitation. This law was extremely popular with the tabloid press and talkback radio journalists. But the sentencing law was retrospective, it was mandatory and it involved redefining life sentences. Next month Reform the Legal System will be supporting a challenge in the High Court by the Public Defender to this grossly unfair and discriminatory sentencing law.

The Daily Terror attack Mr Breen again!
This time they are alleging UPPER House MP Peter Breen used his $102,000 public salary to fight for yet another cause, the newspaper doesn't agree with.

Peter Breen MP attacked by the Terror
LILLIAN SALEH and STAVRO SOFIOS both reporters for the Daily Terror have written an article allegedly for Bob Carr in today's Daily Terror.

Victim plea for counselling?
The mother of murdered Wagga Wagga woman Janine Balding said she remains a supporter of the death penalty despite one of her daughter's killers pleading his innocence and despite that penalty not being an option in Australia.

Practicably Perfect
Do you remember your first driving lesson? You were to steer as close to the curb when parking 'practicably' not perfectly or practically. Why? Because we are not as perfect as Premier Bob Carr wants to be seen. The degree of our mistakes depends on our experience and reflects on our upbringing and sometimes the lack of it.

Some Practicalities Of Emptying The Prisons [287]
The very notions of the rule of law and judicial punishment are socially corrosive and damaging to the spiritual consciousness of both the people subjected to them and those that practice them. The following diagram shows the choices we have, right now, as the 2nd Renaissance gathers pace and a Level 4 Civilization lies ahead of us.