Sunday, May 22, 2005

Balding murder trial aborted as another 'Shorty' surfaces

Stephen "Shorty" Jamieson, who was a victim of foetal alcohol syndrome and a person who was almost certainly innocent of the crimes for which he stands convicted.


NSW: The Hon Peter Breen: I have a long standing interest in Stephen "Shorty" Jamieson who has served 16.5 years in prison. A long affidavit among his papers caught my eye I began reading the document, which was prepared by a solicitor named Joanne Harris, who at the time represented Stephen "Shorty" Jamieson. Bronson Blessington swore to the truth of the affidavit and signed each page. One page said:

Stephen Jamieson had no part in the events that followed. He was not present at the kidnapping, rape and murder of Janine Balding. I know this because I was there and took part in these crimes. With me at the time were Matthew Elliott, Wayne Wilmot, Carol Arrow and Mark "Shorty" Wells. The only "Shorty" who came with us was Shorty Wells.

On the last page of the document, Blessington referred to an incident in the cells below Glebe Coroner's Court two months after the murder when the police brought in Shorty Jamieson. Blessington swore that he told his solicitor, Ken Gilson, that police had arrested the wrong Shorty.

Attached to the affidavit was a transcript of Gilson's evidence given in 1990 at the trial of Blessington, Jamieson and Elliot. Gilson's confirmed to the court that Blessington and Elliott both informed their legal representatives that Shorty Wells was the co-offender, not Shorty Jamieson.

Immediately below Gilson's evidence as described in the transcript was a notation indicating that the Attorney General had given legal protection to Shorty Wells in the form of an indemnity from prosecution. After 30 years in law, few revelations surprise me. Numerous prisoners say they are innocent--as the Minister frequently observed--although one prisoner declaring the innocence of another was unusual.

More disturbing was the Attorney General giving an indemnity from prosecution to someone who was alleged to be one of the perpetrators of the crime against Janine Balding. The indemnity mad no sense.

I learned from the affidavit the abduction, rape and murder of Janine Balding started out as a plan conceived by Matthew Elliott to steal the young woman's car. The five street kids surrounded her as she unlocked her Holden.

Wayne Wilmot entered a plea of guilty to the abduction and rape of the young woman. Wilmot's girlfriend In 1988, Carol Arrow, received a suspended sentence, as she was not considered a volunteer participant in the crimes of the co-accused. Matthew Elliot, I learned, had been transferred to Long Bay gaol under the witness protection program after he gave evidence about an assault with an iron bar in the yard at Goulburn gaol.

The prisoner told me he and Shorty Jamieson were both housed in B wing with the general prison population. This immediately suggested they are not considered by the prison authorities to be a danger to themselves or others. If they were two of the State's worst killers, I would expect them to be in maximum-security--the so-called Super Max section of Goulburn gaol. I also learned that Shorty Jamieson is the prisoner who is, supposed to look like an ape, although a small one at 145 centimetres tall and weighing around 45 kilograms.

I asked Blessington if he might be mistaken about which Shorty was involved in the crimes against Janine Balding. He said, "I swear to God Shorty Jamieson is innocent." Either the young man was lying, or he was peddling the same awful truth as the criminal law committee of the Bar Association. How could he persist with a lie for all these years of his incarceration and how could he lie in the face of the work he claimed to do for his God?

Enough questions were raised at the prosecution case against Jamieson to arouse my curiosity and I wrote to the Minister of Corrective Services seeking permission to visit the prisoner. In the weeks that elapsed before the approval came through, I spent several hours in the State Library reading press clippings of the arrest and trial of the offenders.

When I found nothing of any consequence about DNA evidence in the case, I reviewed my notes from a parliamentary inquiry by the Standing Committee on Law and Justice into new DNA laws. As a serving member of the Committee, I recalled evidence by Linzi Wilson-Wild of police forensic services to the effect that the first time DNA evidence was used in Britain in a homicide case it unexpectedly acquitted the alleged offender.

When Shorty Jamieson was arrested for the rape and murder of Janine Balding in 1988, DNA evidence had never been used in an Australian court. Today the genetic "fingerprint" evidence is routine and DNA profiling technology is so sophisticated that a person can be identified from a single cell left at the crime scene.

It occurred to me that DNA analysis of any surviving evidence after 14 years would be the first challenge, not to mention the problem of access since police hold all physical evidence from the crime scene in New South Wales. Following conviction of an offender, the head of police investigations decides whether the evidence will be retained.

The initial trial of Blessington, Elliot and Jamieson before Judge Wood was abandoned because of the "other Shorty" allegations and the disturbing headline, "Balding murder trial aborted as another 'Shorty' surfaces".

The article states: A Sydney judge yesterday aborted the trial of two youths and a man for the abduction, rape and drowning murder of building society clerk Janine Balding in Sydney's west last year.

Justice Wood dismissed the jury in the six-week old trial after police located a man who fitted the description of a person who was allegedly at the murder scene. Police launched their search for the man after evidence last week by the two youths.

The youths said their, co-accused Stephen Wayne Jamieson, 23 known as Shorty, had been wrongly charged and described another man, also known as Shorty, who they say was responsible.

Justice Wood said yesterday that the Crown had informed him the second Shorty had been interviewed by police. He cold not be named and had not been charged. Justice Wood described the abortion of the trial as regrettable and the circumstances as "extraordinary if not unique". The judge denied bail for Jamieson after an application by his counsel Mr Ted O'Loughlin, but said it might be appropriate to reapply at some time in the future.

By a cruel twist of fate for Jamieson, Justice James Wood did not adjudicate on the second trial, despite all the parties requesting that he do so and the judge indicating his desire to continue in the case.

This is the same Justice Wood who was appointed to conduct the royal commission into the police service in 1994, and the received wisdom is that the Crown had some distance to travel before satisfying Wood that Jamieson was the right Shorty.

I wondered what happened in the Supreme Court's list office to cause Justice Wood to be replaced by Justice Newman. In the old days, judge shopping was almost a blood sport amongst well-connected lawyers, although I have not heard such an allegation in 20 years.

I suspect there was some bureaucratic mix-up, or perhaps Wood himself decided that the case needed a fresh mind to sort out all the stories. Apart from wanting to know the details of the crimes against Janine Balding in order to identify the real perpetrators, I was also painfully aware that the young woman's parents would be mortified by any attempt to diminish the culpability of those already convicted by the justice system of degrading and then extinguishing the life of their beautiful daughter.

One part of me wanted to contact the Balding's and alert them to my efforts on behalf of Blessington and Jamieson, placing my actions in the context of the need to protect the justice system from corruption.

If I were in their position, how would I feel about a complete stranger opening old wounds on account of some fanciful idea that an injustice had been done? Another part of me understood that anything done to help convicted prisoners is condemned in the modern law and order State as an act of treachery against the victims of crime and their families.

On the other hand notifying Janine Balding's parents about my intensions seemed like the decent thing to do, rather than have them find out on the grapevine, so I contacted Janet Fife-Yeomans, who was Chief editor of the Australian newspaper and the co-author of a book.

The Janine Balding Story written with Janine's mother, Beverley Balding. Surprisingly, the journalist screamed at me like a banshee, telling me I was a waste of space, and that I should have better things to do with my taxpayer-funded time.

The next day, a five column article with photographs of Janine Balding and me appeared in the Australian under the heading. "They've got the wrong Shorty, says MP". It quoted Beverly Balding saying that she was devastated by my support for Jamieson and that I should be spending my taxpayer-funded time on "more worthwhile causes".

For two days I stayed out of sight while the radio commentators peppered the message bank service on my mobile phone. By the time I rang back, the story was no longer news, and nobody wanted to talk to me.

The reason for my surprise at the vehemence with which Janet Fife-Yeomans dismissed the Shorty allegation was that the journalist had written extensively--and fairly, I thought--about the consistent claim by Blessington, Elliot, Willmot and Arrow, that Shorty Wells and not Shorty Jamieson was their co-offender.

When Ross Coulthart of the Sunday television program became interested in Shorty Jamiesons's application to the Innocence Panel, Janet Fife-Yeomans sent him a copy of Judge Newman's Supreme Court judgement with a hand written note that concluded with words, "I really can see nothing of value in putting Shorty Jamieson up as a victim of injustice".

I wrote to Carmel Tebbutt, the Minister for Juvenile Justice, seeking permission to approach Lee Mansfield and Peter Irons for an Interview. Carmel Tebbutt had no objection to me contacting Lee Mansfield, but Peter Irons no longer worked for Juvenile Justice. Speaking with Lee Mansfield on the telephone filled me with hope that I could secure another independent opinion about Shorty Jamieson's conviction. I made a note in my file, and the note reads as follows:

Spoke to Lee Mansfield, manager of the Juvenile Justice Community Service Office at Blacktown. She was the Juvenile Justice Officer for Matthew Elliot and did a report and gave evidence for him at his trial.

She cannot give any information about Matthew Elliot because she was his case officer, but she can talk about Bronson Blessington...Matthew told her right from the beginning that the police had the wrong Shorty...After the boys were sentenced, she went downstairs at Darlinghurst court to the cells.

'The boys were in three separate glass cages. Matthew and Bronson had white shirts on and their faces were as white as their shirts. She spoke with Matthew while Peter Irons spoke with Bronson. Nobody was there for Stephen Jamieson because of the way he is. Bronson was curled up in a foetal position in his cell.

Peter Irons asked how he felt and he said, "I can only think about how Stephen Jamieson must feel". About a year after the three were sentenced, she spoke to Matthew and said, "Please tell me Stephen Jamieson was there that night". Matthew said, "I wish I could say something else, but he wasn't there".

Despite numerous additional telephone calls and letters to Lee Mansfield, she decided not to meet with me for reasons that remain unclear. The file not is the only independent record I have concerning the reactions of the three prisoners to their life sentences. Another call I received in response to the newspaper article turned out to be much more helpful. Peter Moss, QC, is the current head of the Serious Offenders Review Council [SORC].

During the application by solicitor Joanne Harris for a judicial inquiry into Shorty Jamieson's police record of interview, Peter Moss spoke with Matthew Elliott at Long Bay gaol and Matthew offered to provide an affidavit confirming that Shorty Jamieson was not involved in the crimes against Janine Balding.

Moss informed me that SORC made a submission to the Attorney General about the illegality of the cement law and he, Moss, was concerned that the submission did not surface in parliamentary debate on the bill.

One of the unfair aspects of the law, he said, was that it prevented a redirection in the security classification of the 10, prisoners, which meant they receive no incentives or rewards for good behaviour. Also, they could be housed only at maximum-security gaols at Goulburn or Lithgow, a cold and depressing thought for anyone facing a long stretch in prison.

Opportunities exist to visit other jails for legal and health reasons, but these opportunities are severely limited for life prisoners. A copy of the SORC submission appeared on my fax machine and it emphasised the injustice of the 10 "never to be released" prisoners being treated as a job lot by the new law. The submission stated in part:

Most importantly, no account is taken of their [the 10 prisoners] history since the commencement of their respective sentences, nor of evidence pointing in some cases, to considerable attempts having been made towards rehabilitation. The legitimate expectation each was entitled to have of eventually becoming eligible to apply for parole under the currently applicable principles of law has not been recognised.

Janet Fife-Yeomans' story in the Australian gave me something tangible and current to send to people who may be able to assist with information about Shorty Jamieson's case. I distributed copies to all the likely places with a covering letter.

I wrote to refuges, drop-in centres, hospitals and clinics in the city with a list of the street kids involved in the case, and inquiring about their present whereabouts. I forwarded a copy of the article to the Director of Public Prosecutions, Nicholas Cowdery, QC and asked for information, including details of the indemnity signed by the Attorney General to protect Shorty Wells from prosecution.

Nick Cowdery, in my opinion, is a giant amongst lawyers and one of few public figures in the law who is free to say what he thinks on account of the independence of his office.

I visited Dubbo to discuss the Janine Balding case with Senior Constable Steve Pearson who was involved in the investigation of the crimes against Janine Balding. The policeman said he still holds negatives on behalf of police and I wanted him to confirm that only two sets of footprints led into the dam at Minchinbury, those of Blessington and Elliott. Also I was interested in the result of the physical examination of Jamieson's shoes. Pearson could not recall receiving the shoes but promised to check his records.

One myth I wanted to explode with Pearson's help was the suggestion that any of the accused had anal intercourse with Janine Balding. Blessington, Elliott and Wilmot were all convicted of rape, but only Stephen Jamieson was convicted on anal the anal intercourse charge for which he was sentenced to eight years.

I remained baffled as to how the judge arrived at this conviction and sentence when the prosecution appeared to have offered no evidence for the allegation. I showed Steve Pearson the Coroner's medical report of Janine Balding's body from the mortuary and it clearly stated there was no interference with the anus of the deceased.

Pearson said he had spoken to Michelle Franco, the forensic biologist who examined the rectal swab taken by Dr Peter Ellis who performed the autopsy, and she, Michelle Franco, might be able to assist with my inquiries.

Detective Sergeant Carroll interviewed Wayne Wilmot in the presents of his mother at Campbelltown police station. Carroll asked Wilmot to describe in detail the boy Shorty. And "also the cloths he was wearing on that night". Wilmot provided a description of Shorty Wells. The description was as follows.

His name is Mark, 22 or 23 years of age, about 155cm, small build, skinny, white singlet, brown light leather jacket and a black leather jacket with ripped light blue jeans and black heavy boots, which go half way up your leg, he's got an orange moustache, orange hair, and hangs around up the Cross."

A week after the murder Detective Sergeant Raue spoke with a 17 year old street kid named Terrence Walsh at Parramatta police station. Walsh described himself as Lizzy Lopez' boyfriend and he claimed to have had a conversation with Matthew Elliott, Wayne Wilmot and a boy named Scott on Central railway station between 3.00 and 4.00 during the afternoon of the murder.

Walsh told Raue that Matthew said, "We are going to steal a car, then we are going to go to Sutherland and find a woman that they can rape". The boy also said to Raue, "When Matthew said that I took off." Raue asked Walsh if he new a person named Shorty and Walsh said he did. When asked to describe Shorty, Walsh also gave a description of Shorty Wells. The description was as follows:

About four foot eight, about 21 to 22, he wears black something like leather jacket with short sleeves and black T shirt with "metallica" written on it and he sometimes wears a headband. He wears black army type boots.

Up to this point, the police had the name of Mark and a description that fitted Mark Shorty Wells. And then the record of interview between Raue and Wash included a fateful question. Raue said to Walsh, "Do you know the person Shorty's full name?" Walsh answered, "I only know his first name is Stephen."

Now the police had one description and two names--Mark and Stephen. Raue proceeded to have the witness identify and sign photographs of Wilmot and Elliott. He asked Walsh had he ever seen Shorty in the company of Wilmot or Elliott and the boy said, "No". Had Raue shown photographs of the two Shortys to Walsh, he would have discovered that the boy new both of them.

Towards the end of the first trial, the Crown Prosecutor called Walsh to give evidence and asked him whether he knew a person named Shorty. Walsh said he knew two Shortys and he identified Stephen Jamieson in the dock as one of them. The other one had a black T-shirt under his jacket and black army type boots that "goes up past the ankles". This was the same description Walsh had given Raue a week after the murder. The Crown Prosecutor was so concerned about the Walsh evidence that the prosecution attempted unsuccessfully to have him declared a hostile witness.

Terrence Walsh's evidence degenerated into high farce as he lurched from one extraordinary detail to another. The "Scott" he observed at Central railway station in the company of Matthew Elliott and Wayne Wilmot was almost certainly Bronson Blessington, but the lawyers seemed to think the witness was referring to Scott Agius.

His description of the second Shorty he knew apart from Stephen Jamieson included the following: "The bloke I saw had skin over his eye". To me it looked like Shorty Wells with an eye patch, but I suppose you had to be there. None of the lawyers called Walsh to give evidence in the second trial, and he disappeared like a shooting star in the night sky, but not before setting the police on a course of inquiry they were not prepared to give up.

Working my way through the witness statements and transcripts of both trials, I realised that most of the witnesses who gave police eyewitness descriptions of a "Shorty" seemed to be describing Shorty Wells.

This evidence is far more persuasive than the evidence of the two witnesses who claimed to have seen Stephen Jamieson, that is, Elva Matyas and Simon Lonergan. Both came to light more than a year after the murder and both relied on media descriptions of Jamieson to prompt their recollections of the person they observed.

Simon Lonergan accompanied another witness, Matthew Simmons, when Simmons spoke to Matthew Elliott and the other offenders at the Mt Druitt Shopping Centre at about 8.30 pm on the night of the murder.

Simmons had quite a different recollection from Lonergan. Simmons' description of the Shorty he saw was provided to Detective Senior Constable Kitley on 10 September 1988, just two days after the murder, at Mt Druitt police station. The description was as follows:

One of the people he [Matthew Elliott] was with I would describe as being about 28 years of age, short, skinny build, was unshaven with a moustache. He was wearing motorbike boots over his blue jeans, denim jacket and he was carrying a plastic shopping bag.

Matthew Simmons gave evidence on the third day of the second trial in 1990. He identified Mark "Shorty" Wells as similar in appearance to one of the people he observed at the State Bank ATM at Mt Druitt shopping centre on the night of the murder.

Simmons also identified Blessington and Elliott in court, but he was not asked to identify Jamieson. Ted O'Loughlin for Jamieson asked about a bundle of twelve photographs shown to the witness by Detective Sergeant Rayment on 21 January 1990, more than 16 months after the murder. Simmons said that was the first occasion he had seen the photographs. He was never asked to attend a police line-up.

Kristine Mobberley was the first person the offenders tried to abduct from Sutherland railway station immediately before they abducted Janine Balding. Ms Mobberley provided a description that generally fitted Mark "Shorty" Wells to Detective Sergeant Smith on 9 September 1988--that is, the day after the murder--at Sutherland police station. The description was as follows:

The second fellow who was standing behind the first fellow when I first saw them was about eighteen [years] old, he could have been older, I think he was Australian, he had a real long face ad he had a bad pock marked face.

He was about five foot eight [inches] tall, slimmish in build, very dark brown hair, I think it was straight and it was collar length, maybe a little bit longer. He was wearing dark clothing at the time, jeans and possibly a jumper...One thing that I forgot to mention to you was that the second guy with the pock mark face was wearing a black cloth head band, which was about an inch to an inch and a half in width.

Kristine Mobberley gave evidence in both trials of Blessington, Elliott and Jamieson. Ted O'Loughlin did not ask the witness if she recognised Stephen Jamieson as one of the offenders in the car park at Sutherland railway station.

The barrister did ask if she recognised Mark "Shorty" Wells and she said she did not. Ms Mobberley said she was asked to attend only one police line-up on 4 October 1988 when she identified Matthew Elliott as one of the offenders. Neither Stephen Jamieson nor Mark "Shorty" Wells appeared in the police line-up.

According to the medical reports in the police brief of evidence, Mark Wells was diagnosed as suffering "acute exacerbation chronic paranoid schizophrenia", and he was delusional, experiencing auditory hallucinations that people were trying to kill or punish him.

Three months before the murder of Janine Balding, he informed a psychiatrist at St Vincent's Hospital at Darlinghurst that he killed a priest in Queensland when he was fifteen years of age and "nailed him to a wall". The psychiatrist said:

In other visits he had a preoccupation with guilt and was washing himself constantly in a ritual cleansing. He was prescribed anti-depressant medication, which improved his behaviour.

Mark "Shorty" Wells provided detectives with a detailed description of the abduction of Janine Balding. He qualified the information in court by saying he saw it in a dream. The most likely explanation for Wells' detailed knowledge of the events is he was there.

Blessington's barrister, Kevin Coorey, questioned Wells about the most incriminating piece of evidence against him, being the black headband. Wells acknowledged in that cross-examination that he was the owner of the black head band.

Police brought Wells to Sydney towards the end of the first trial and kept him in cotton wool. A leading silk, Bruce McClintock, QC--the same Bruce McClintock who has done the recent review of the ICAC--was assigned to Wells' case and advised him to claim the privilege against self-incrimination. Detective Rod Dayment of the Parramatta Homicide Unit interviewed Wells at the Darlinghurst court on the last day of the first trial.

Dayment told Wells in the presence of his lawyer that he was making enquiries into the abduction of subsequent murder of Janine Balding on 8 September 1988. The detective asked Wells a series of questions including: "Are you prepared to answer any questions or assist us further in this matter?

Are you prepared to supply police a sample of your blood? Are you prepared to be placed in a line-up? To each of these questions Wells replied "No" on McClintock's advice. During the second trial, the lawyer formally waived the privilege against self-incrimination on behalf of his client, ten days after the Attorney General's indemnity from prosecution was in place. This is one case, it seems to me, where a suspect needed all the protection the law had to offer.

Whoever was responsible for Shorty Jamieson's police record of interview, they greatly overstated the role of Wayne Wilmot in the crimes against Janine Balding. As the police investigation proceeded, it became apparent that the main perpetrators of the offences were Matthew Elliott and Bronson Blessington.

Carol Arrow was deemed an unwilling participant and all charges against her withdrawn. When Janine Balding was abducted, Matthew Elliott drove the car and Wayne Wilmot travelled in the front passenger seat. At some point on the journey to Minchinbury, Elliott stopped the car and got into the back seat.

Wayne Wilmot took over the driving and Carol Arrow sat next to him in the front. Just past the Archbold Road overbridge, Wilmot slowed the car and drove off to the side of the freeway as directed by Elliott. The car came to a halt about 30 metres beyond the grass verge near the edge of a paddock and waist-high barbed wire fence. Some 30 metres beyond the fence was a shallow reedy dam.

Detective Caroll interviewed Wilmot at Campbeltown police station on 11 September 1988 and the policeman asked Wilmot whether he had sex with Janine Balding . Wilmot answered, "No, I've got me own girl".

Wilmot also said that Elliott and Blessington had sex with the young woman in the back seat of the car while he and Carol Arrow remained seated in the front, which is consistent with Bronson Blessington's assurance that nobody had sex with Janine Balding except he and Matthew Elliott. What puzzled me was that Wilmot pleaded guilty to four counts of sexual intercourse without consent. I realised I needed to talk with Wayne Willmot and I found him at Lithgow Correctional Centre.

Wayne Wilmot has been a ward of the State since he was nine years old an lived on the streets of Sydney since he was fourteen. He is one of those unfortunate victims of life's fragile circumstances who seems destined never to learn from their errors.

He said he was "stitched up" for his latest crimes, committed while he was on parole for the crimes against Janine Balding and when I offered to assist him, he said, "It's no use--you can't beat the system."

I told Wilmot the way to beat the system is to do the right thing and he scoffed at the idea. I asked if he had sex with Janine Balding and he said he had his own girl. I said, "I thought you were very courageous to tell the Crown Prosecutor that Shorty Jamieson shouldn't go away for something he never done."

He replied, "They were wrong to put Shorty Jamieson away." I said, "You went away for something you never done--you didn't rape Janine Balding". "That's different", he assured me. "I did a deal with the coppers.

They agreed not to charge me with murder if I pleaded guilty to abduction and rape. What could I do?" I said, "But you didn't rape her!" He said, "That's the system. Like I say, you can't beat the system."

The Jamieson and Blessington case went to the Institute of Clinical Pathology and Medical Research's Division of Analytical Laboratories. It was subject to the processes of the Innocence Panel.

There were many months of correspondence, and issues were raised. Finally, when I must confess I least expected it, the Innocence Panel was suspended by the police Minister. It was suspended on the basis of Jamieson's application. In the best of the Westminster traditions when a government policy initiative self-destructs, the announcement of the disaster took the form of a press release from the Minister. Part of that press release is as follows:

Minister for police John Watkins today suspended the NSW Innocence Panel from taking further applications--pending a review of the operations of the panel and draft legislation being prepared. Mr Watkins said he'd acted after discussions with the Innocence Panel chairman, former Supreme Court judge Mervin Finlay QC, which raised questions about the current process.

Mr Watkins today said Stephen Wayne Jamieson, convicted over the rape and murder of Janine Balding in 1988, was one of 13 applications who had come forward since the Panel was created. Jamieson was convicted of murder by his own confession, and eyewitness testimony on his part in the horrific crime. In addition, he was convicted of abduction, four counts of sexual assault, and robbery. A 1992 application to the Court of Criminal Appeal, an attempt to seek leave to appeal to the High Court, and an application for a Supreme Court 'Part 13 A ' hearing were all dismissed...

"I'm suspending the operations of the Innocence Panel because I don't believe there are sufficient checks and balances to protect the victims of crime from further anguish. In this case, the Balding family has suffered enough and without legislation to underpin the Panel, the process just means more uncertainty and pain.

This is distressing and I believe the Panel needs legislative support to help it protect victims better. The Innocence Panel process, as it is, leaves too many questions unanswered. It should be more transparent for applicants, victims and their families. We need to clarify its operations and we need to get it right.

"The experience in this case tells me the system must be changed--to better protect the victims and protect the community." Mr Watkins said Ms Balding's parents were last week informed of these developments, in person, by a member of the Innocence Panel. "I've also offered them whatever assistance, counselling or support they may require," Mr Watkins said.

Indeed it is worth saying that the Innocence Panel doors still remain firmly closed. The Innocence Panel results most notably, the rectal swab was the only item to disclose DNA of anyone other than the victim.

This was extraordinary given my previous discussions with Robert Goetz and Michelle Franco of the Division of Analytical Laboratories to the effect that the previous testing of the rectal swab was likely to have destroyed any semen.

Back in 1988 the only genetic material that could be identified in the rectal smear was a single male reproductive cell, but 15 years later, according to the Innocence Panel, it had become possible to identify the DNA of two know individuals from the remnants of the rectal swab.

The written advice from the panel would not say who the two known individuals were, but Shorty Wells and Shorty Jamieson were both excluded the advice from the panel also said.

By Just Us 22 May 05


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.

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.

A Question of Innocence
Katrina Bolton: Stephen Wayne Jamieson, one of three men convicted of one of the country’s most brutal murders, applied to the Innocence Panel. For Jamieson, the legal system has been made political, and very personal. In 2001, special legislation was passed to make sure he and nine other men never get out of jail. But his lawyer, crusading MP Peter Breen, says he’s convinced “Shorty”, as he’s known, is innocent. Peter Breen was elected on a platform of legal reform. He first became involved in Shorty Jamieson’s case when visiting one of the other men convicted of Janine Balding’s murder.

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.

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.

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.

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 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.