View Full Version : Where's the Justice??

5th Mar 2006, 05:58
Dateline Melbourne -

"A former primary school teacher who lay in wait in a "sniper's nest" and shot dead her abusive husband walked free from court yesterday after being cleared of murder.

A jury of seven women and five men found Mrs XXXX not guilty of murder or a lesser charge of manslaughter."

Now, my almost ex-missus, who has subjected me to abuse over the years and has upped the ante since separation proceedings started (despite making over-generous financial provisions (the court's view); having recently made additional provisions to cover minor possessions; and am now subject to her refusing to sign off until she actually gets some of those possessions) would be a likely candidate to be bumped off from a "sniper's nest" with as much malice and aforethought as I could muster but what do you reckon are my chances of walking away scot free??

5th Mar 2006, 11:50
Can you afford the best lawyer money can buy? Can you afford the best judge money can buy?

Not a joke, judge-shopping can be a big help. I was on a civil jury years ago. The judge handled minor matters in other cases for an hour each morning before our case began. He could see extenuating circumstances and redeeming social virtue in almost every situation. I'm 99.9% percent sure that he did not take money on the side. Have your lawyer shop for a judge like that.

5th Mar 2006, 12:26

I agree, but thats the Jury System! Seems unfair some times, and at others you really do wonder where they plucked their verdicts from.


Its not the Judge that makes up his mind if there is guilt, it is the Jury. She was found not guilty, his role in that, unless he missdirected them is nil.

5th Mar 2006, 12:34
You can choose your own lawyer but not the judge. Here in W.A., cases are assigned by the Chief Judge (for the criminal trials) and she decides which judge will hear which case. It is very rare for a civil trial to use a jury although it has happened on rare occasions.

bjcc is correct about the mis-direction thing. It is one of the grounds for the granting of leave to appeal, and one of the most important reasons why judges are extremely careful in delivering their charge to the jury.

5th Mar 2006, 12:48
I did read the case mentioned here, but I don't have it immediately to hand. Perhaps allan907 could provide a link to the very recent story to refresh my memory, because I want to make sure I have this right.

My memory must be faulty you see, because it tells me that a man, one of 50% of men who have suffered through a separation involving a loss of possessions (oh, sorry, and unspecified abuse) apparently sees in his situation the equivalent of a woman who has been beaten and raped, systematically and ruthlessly, over many years. It could, to those given to unkind thoughts, even appear that killing the woman responsible for taking some of his assets would not be a heinous crime at all.

Perhaps I will be proven wrong on presentation of the facts. I know the internet is a dangerous place to make assumptions, and sometimes we get entirely the wrong impression, and I'm sure that must be the case here. I look forward to providing a sincere apology if that proves to be so.

5th Mar 2006, 15:12
I hate that tabloidesque phrase 'walked free from court'. What's wrong with 'was acquitted by the jury'?

6th Mar 2006, 02:43
Binos I didn't want to get too heavy here. All I was trying to do was to point out that there does seem to be some dissimilarity with the way society at large treats women and men. We seem, somehow, to automatically assume that women are the 'weaker' sex, can do no wrong, and that there must be some sort of very good reason to commit unspeakable acts.

If the woman in this particular instance was that brutalised then when didn't she leave the bloke? OK, hard in some circumstances, but not impossible. If there was no family or friends to support then the State or Federal social infrastructure could step in. Why did she, with malice and aforethought, lie in wait for him and then plug him with a round or two? That would seem to make a prima facie case of premeditated murder. But instead she is acquitted of both murder and manslaughter! Would a bloke in similar circumstances walk away from court without a stain on his character?

6th Mar 2006, 03:42
Men are frequently acquitted of murder, allan907, even after they have admitted guilt. Two cases spring to mind ... Morgan who fired six shots at close range into his victim (and admitted guilt) and Waters who also shot his victim. (Both cases 1997). Both were acquitted. There are plenty more examples if you care to look them up.

The dynamics of abusive relationships are complex and the reasons why the woman did not simply leave would be difficult for the "ordinary person in the street" to understand. Any theorising about it here would be mere guesswork.

... my almost ex-missus, who has subjected me to abuse over the years ...
Why did you not simply leave your own abusive relationship?

6th Mar 2006, 05:34
There was once another badly abused and mistreated woman. Her name was Ruth Ellis. The jury took only 15 minutes to make up their minds and she kept her appointment with Albert Pierrepoint.

So, the question remains. Where or what is justice? It all seems a bit of a lottery to me.

Loose rivets
6th Mar 2006, 05:41
The pain of divorce is horrific, so I am lead to believe. I can sympathize with a jury that are in turn sympathetic...but it is the premeditation part that seems extraordinary.

The case of the man that shot dead the driver that killed his son...and then stuck his fingers up at him (the father) after getting off, is what I was searching for. But then while having a look round at other cases, I came across the report of the appeal of van Hoogstraten.

Living here a lot of the time, I have gaps in my follow-ups of such cases.

Having seen him interviewed on T/V, I would have thought a million years would have been fair...is he really free at this time?

6th Mar 2006, 09:05
Bluey I did! Perhaps that's why she's being so negative now - she lost control over me.