On Saturday Queensland awoke to banner headline news that the terrible Sharron Phillips murder had finally been solved.
Intrepid journalist and half-baked joke Kate Kyriacou of the august Courier-Mail, the woman who once published a story claiming I was a murderer because the school teacher who abused me as a kid necked himself when I told the world what he had done – cost her employer 10 grand in an out of court defamation settlement that one, the child abuse charities I donated it to were grateful – boldly declared that the 33 year mystery was finally over, and that the intrepid cold case coppers had finally nailed their man.
There was no body, no forensics, no DNA, no first-person confession, no witnesses, no prosecution, no conviction, and the ‘murderer’ had been dead for 15 years, but Kate’s never let the facts get in the way of a good story before and its won her awards, so why should she start doing the basics of checking stories now?
Who needed to fact-check anyway? The police had a source. The son of the ‘murderer’. He was there on the night, and heard a tied up Sharron kicking in the boot of the car he and his Dad were in – which if true makes him an accessory before and after the fact to rape and murder, a slight issue that K-K-K-Katie the Archie basher overlooked – and even better, when his Dad was dying he told the son and source that he’d killed Sharron, and another unnamed bird too (she’s being saved up by police and K-K-Katie for another chest beating exclusive announcement and story, or was anyway, but I reckon that one’s rooted now, just like K-K-Katie’s credibility).
Yep, the son said his old man made a deathbed confession so Raymond Peter Mulvihill must have done it.
Off to the Coroner for a rubber stamp.
It was outstanding detective work and absolutely brilliant reporting. Bring on the Walkley Awards, K-K-Katie was off to Brisbane Arcade to get fitted for a dress.
Let’s just hope for her sake that she didn’t pay the deposit, because I looked out the window just before and saw a journalistic award engraved with the name K. Kyriuacou on the front flying across the sky on the back of a pink pig carrying a scrunched up police promotion to Regional Commander with the name DI Hansen scrawled across the top with a big red line through it.
See sportsfans the problem from the get go with the sons story is that it didn’t fit. The times were wrong, the cab was wrong, the supposed locale of the body was wrong, the details of the ‘murderers’ Vietnam War service were wrong, the claims that he went to police oh no he didn’t oh yes he did were wrong, the ridiculous claims that his old man worked for the Bellinos were wrong, the whole bloody thing was wrong and it should have been obvious to Blind Freddie, or to any half-decent investigative journalist or experienced police officer anyway.
“But his old man confessed!” the Archie Butterfly critics cry, “On his deathbed! Raymond Peter Mulvihill must have done it! He confessed!”.
Did he? Oh yeah. Who heard it other than the son? Does he have a Mum? Brothers and sisters? If so did they hear it? Did he run and get a Doctor or Nurse to come and witness the deathbed confession? What were their names? Did he call the police? After all, his Dad supposedly told him that he had to “tell them about the two girls”. Why did he wait 15 years then?
Let’s suspend reality for a moment and pretend that the son hasn’t been granted an immunity against prosecution for his involvement in Sharron’s murder – K-K-Katie and the cold case coppers didn’t tell you that one, did they? – and that he’s not just making it up because he’s broke and chasing the $250 000 reward. I know it’s hard, but for the sake of the exercise I want you to try.
So yep, it’s all true, and deathbed confessions to murders for which there is no physical or eyewitness evidence are of and in themselves absolutely rolled gold evidence that must mean that the bloke who confessed committed the crime.
Who’s going out to the jail to let Vincent O’Dempsey and Garry Dubois out tomorrow? How much is the State going to pay them in compo for wrongful arrest, trial, conviction and imprisonment?
The pair couldn’t have possibly committed the McCulkin Murders could they, using the Raymond Peter Mulvihill logic? After all Fe McCulkin – widow of Billy, the former husband of the 3 dead women – gave a statement to police and evidence in court that her husband had made a deathbed confession to her that it was actually he himself who committed the murders, not anyone else.
He must have done it. So why are O’Dempsey and Dubois in jail for the crimes?
I’ll tell you exactly why, and no it is not because they did it.
It’s because the cold case police use the honey and a stick approach – the honey being the reward money and unconditional immunities granted to lifelong serious criminals induced to give false evidence, the stick being the blatant abuse of the CCC’s coercive powers to threaten potential witnesses with imprisonment if they don’t play ball – to jack up evidence in cold cases to fit the investigators predetermined scenario of events and facts so that they can ‘solve’ high-profile murder mysteries and make them and the QPS look like crusading super sleuths.
That’s why O’Dempsey and Dubois are in prison, that and the fact that unfortunately for Dubois he had a compliant and questionably competent defence lawyer who after 30 years of toil as a legal aid barrister was made a QC a week before his committal hearing and a judge the week after his conviction, and a judge who allowed a raft of inadmissible evidence to be entered as admissible and the poor old jury of average Australians unfamiliar with the mechanics of the law fell for it and entered findings of guilty.
That case is an absolute bloody travesty, and the worst example of injustice you will ever see, and if the destitute pensioner Dubois could get decent legal aid funded representation he would be London to a Brick of having it tossed on appeal, but unfortunately when the State has a vested interest in your convictions being affirmed that sort of state-funded representation is pretty hard to find.
I draw the parallels between the two unrelated murder cases because the public needs to know that these cold case investigations are developing quite a track record of being bloody red-hot, and unless there is new evidence due to the discovery of hard and fast documentary or first-hand evidentiary material, or breakthroughs in the forensic evidences due to advances in scientific technology such as DNA, whatever pronouncements the police make about solving these cases has to be viewed with a healthy skepticism and a close watchful eye, otherwise we are going to end up like America and our jails will be filled with scores of innocent convicted men like Dubois.
This ‘solving’ of the Sharron Phillips murder is the absolute case in point.
In the absence of solid evidence how the hell can a crime – a bloody rape and murder for God’s sake – be solved just because someone says someone else told them something? It’s not the most sound of bases for a definitive conclusion is it? Particularly when there may just well be a real murderer lurking around out there waiting to abduct, rape and kill your daughter too.
The Phillips investigation is all beginning to unravel now though, thanks in large part to the article published on this site on Saturday expressing our extreme doubts about the facts presented to the public as evidence of the veracity of the police findings about a man who has been dead for 15 years guilt.
You just watch now as the police service and the media who fell hook, line and sinker for their findings go into panic mode and begin to shut the whole circus down. The son and source Ian Seeley will disappear from sight – probably into the witness protection program after he or police claim without a scrap of evidence to back it up that he has been subjected to threats; the police who convened a press conference on Friday to proudly announce that they had solved the crime will suddenly declare that they can make no further comment pending the Coroner’s hearing; K-K-Katie and her crew will spin like crazy in an attempt to cover up their incompetence; witnesses who also get a sniff of a reward or are leaned on will suddenly start coming out of the woodwork: it will become a circus all round.
Only one thing will be missing, and its the thing that’s most important of all.
Don'[t you worry about that.