The convictions of a man imprisoned for life for killing two Melbourne policemen for the « reprehensible » behavior of investigating officers have been revoked.
Jason Roberts was convicted of murdering Sergeant Gary Silk and First Police Officer Rodney Miller in 1998, after two decades in prison
His attorneys have informed of plans to file a request for his release on bail after he ordered three senior judges in the state to remain behind bars before his retrial
A jury convicted Roberts and Bandale Debs in 2002 and sentenced them to life behind bars, Roberts has served 20 years of a sentence of at least 35, now overturned
The appeals judges said they had determined that the long-standing unspoken misconduct of a particular officer had corrupted Roberts’ preliminary trial « to the point of poisoning it to its root. »
Senior Officer Glenn Boleyn destroyed his original statement about the murders and replaced an old statement containing statements of Miller’s death, indicating the presence of two perpetrators
Pauline subsequently committed perjury by lying about the second statement, and failed to reveal his existence, which the court found amounted to « gross and fundamental corruption in the trial process »
This was combined with the fact that primary and potential related data by four officers had not been preserved and are now missing, only revised data was included in the evidence summary, and a senior investigator initially informed the officers not to include Miller’s notes in their statements.
The judges concluded that it would not be unfair or unjust for Roberts to face a new trial.
“Although the lack of disclosure did not result from an innocent error and reflected the reprehensible conduct of police officers, we do not accept that the need to deter a recurrence of such behavior is sufficient in itself to justify an acquittal”
“The annulment of the appellant’s convictions and the fact of a retrial will have a deterrent effect.”
He had always maintained his innocence in the murders while confessing to being involved in the thefts the officers were investigating that night, he claimed he was with his girlfriend Nicole – Debs’ daughter – when the officers were killed
The Anti-Corruption Watchdog, AIPAC, investigated allegations that the police used evasive methods of gathering evidence and failed to reveal vital information in Roberts’ trial
AIPAC Commissioner, Robert Redlish, said that some officers have, historically, received inappropriate practices at the Victoria Police Academy
“As Victoria Police never explicitly summons and discontinued such inappropriate practices, AIPAC has found that there is a real risk that these practices will continue to be used by some police today,”
Murders at the hands of Silk Miller Police, Gary Michael Silk, Rodney James Miller, Pandali Debs, Police Officer, Motion cancellation
World News – AU – Jason Roberts indicted for the Silk Miller murders Victorian court overturned it
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