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Crime and Justice

The POST runs regular stories about crime and justice matters, including major murder convictions and related matters. You can see a collection of major articles and related letters here.


Please be aware the links on this page are in the process of being restored. 


Presumed Guilty reviewed by Professor Andrew Clarke 20/08/2014
“Presumed Guilty is an important and timely book. Whilst it is non-fiction, it has that read-on, page-turning magic that is the hallmark of the best crime or police procedural fiction. (Think Michael Connelly, James Patterson). So it works across several genres: as narrative, as vital historical information, and as a call for important reform in the way the justice system operates.”


Book launch, Presumed Guilty: When cops get it wrong and courts seal the deal. Review and Q & A with author Bret Christian. 23/10/2013
“A book like this comes along very rarely. Not only does it convey a poignant and important message, it is a rivetingly readable experience. This book is a masterly, incisive and compelling work of literature.” – Thomas Percy.


Barnett cutbacks threaten forensic reforms 21/02/2009
Justice John McKechnie’s scathing criticism of a “catastrophic” string of errors in a Perth murder case this week echoed problems identified by a British expert brought to WA to review the Claremont serial killings.


Inquest asked to declare wife dead 18/02/2009
Missing Daglish woman Susan Margaret Christie is likely to be declared murdered after an inquest this week, held at the request of her husband, Rory Christie.

Mint swindle libel suits wrecked health and cash
The massive human and financial costs that grew from a corrupt police officer’s libel suit were revealed in the Supreme Court this


CCC offers a peep inside a murder inquiry 11/10/2008
Perhaps nothing better illustrates how the infamous Mallard case came unstuck than the way police allegedly treated their star eye-witness in the days and weeks after the brutal murder of Mosman Park jeweller Pamela Lawrence.


Mallard trio face discipline 11/10/2008
Three of 10 people who were in the firing line over the Andrew Mallard case had misconduct opinions delivered against them this week.

Juries past use-by date: McCusker
The jury system is so outdated that it leads to unjust convictions and to guilty people being acquitted, says leading barrister Malcolm McCusker QC.


‘Refund costs to innocent people’ 23/8/2008
People who face massive legal bills to prove their innocence in court should have their legal bills paid by their state govern-ments, says a national legal body.


Justice and politics don’t mix 5/4/2008
Michelle Collins (“‘Compo denial is spot-on'”, POST letters, 29/3) is gloating over the fact that Attorney General Jim McGinty has refused an application to pay the costs of the wrongly convicted “Walsham Three” and a fourth exonerated man.


‘Compo denial is spot on’ 5/3/2008
The overwhelming majority of people, in my opinion, would agree with Attorney General Jim McGinty’s decision to reject the compensation application by the Walsham three or four.


Percy QC slams McGinty ‘disaster’ 1/9/2007
Three Perth barristers, who have exposed some of Perth’s highest-profile wrongful convictions, have been awarded the Australian Lawyers Alliance West Australian Civil Justice Award.


Letter from Malcolm McCusker QC 4/8/2007
“If you were charged with a crime and were innocent, would you like your fate to be decided by 12 people, chosen at random by lot, not qualified or experienced in assessing evidence, and no legal training? And who give no reasons for their decision, so that if they found you guilty, it would be extremely difficult to appeal?”


Letter from Peter Weygers 28/7/2007
“I am astonished that the well-educated readership of the POST has produced so many letters from readers who fail to recognise that the three young men, wrongfully convicted of the murder of Phillip Walsham, have been correctly exonerated by the Court of Appeal.”


What really happened to poor Phillip Walsham? 14/7/2007
The controversial death of Phillip Walsham is now officially an unsolved mystery.



What if it was a judge – and no jury? 14/7/2007
We will never know, but the outcome of the second Phillip Walsham murder trial last year might have taken a different turn without a jury.


Devastated parents slam ‘farcical justice system’ 14/7/2007
Phillip Walsham’s parents slammed the Appeal Court decision within minutes of it being delivered last Friday morning.


Walsham jury’s verdict was unreasonable 14/7/2007
National criticism of WA’s legal system has followed the conclusion of one of our most controversial murder cases.


Walsham Three Freed 7/7/2007
Three men walked free from jail on Friday (July 6) after their conviction for the murder of Philip Walsham was overturned.


What the star witness saw 7/7/2007
Without a 19-year-old Woodlands psychology student, Clare Pigliardo, there would have been no Phillip Walsham murder trial.


Trio’s dynamic young weapon 7/7/2007
When the Walsham murder case hit national television, the focus was on the fresh-faced young schoolteacher who gave up her job for two years to get her friends out of prison.


Judge: Murder jury had to speculate 23/6/2007
Evidence central to the convictions of three men jailed for murdering Phillip Walsham relied on speculation by the jury, according to the president of the Court of Criminal Appeal, Justice Christopher Steytler.


Not guilty, juror wrote 9/6/2007
An extraordinary insight into the mind of the jury at last year’s Phillip Walsham murder trial was revealed in the Court of Criminal Appeal this week.


Crucial 15 minutes will decide trio’s fate 9/6/2007
After nine years, an inquest, two trials and a full-scale appeal hearing, one of WA’s most controversial and harrowing murder cases may well run on the rocks over timing.


‘Prejudice sent trio to jail’ 9/6/2007
Prejudice may have led a jury to convict the “Walsham Three” on the “flimsiest of circumstantial evidence”, a lawyer for one of the jailed men said in court this week.


Was Walsham hit by passing car? 9/6/2007
New evidence about what happened to Phillip Walsham the night he died was not heard by the Court of Criminal Appeal this week.


Were ‘lies’ harmless or deliberate? 9/6/2007
The jury in the Walsham trial was wrongly told that some of the accused men had implicated themselves in a murder when they lied to police and gave a false alibi, an appeal by the men was told this week.


Pathologist got it wrong: US expert 20/12/2006
A US expert on pedestrian accident injuries has given a written opinion that the WA pathologist in the Philip Walsham case got it wrong


Judges set to review entire trial evidence 20/12/2006
Three judges will be asked to rule that the jury in the Walsham case got it wrong, the Court of Criminal Appeal was told on Monday.


DPP has win in withholding documents 20/12/2006
The “open book” policy of thr Director of Public Prosecutions took a knock this week when one of his prosecuters successfully fought in the supreme court to withhold hundredsof pages of documents from the defence


Walsham witness knocked back 2/12/2006
A man who defence lawyers say has vital evidence about the death of Phillip Walsham has been refused permission to appear before the Court of Appeal.


Mallard celebrates – but others wait 25/11/2006
With Attorney General Jim McGinty by his side in front of a battery of television cameras, Andrew Mallard celebrated his $200,000 part-compensation cheque this week.


Malcolm backs crime review 28/10/2006
The former Chief Justice of WA, Professor David Malcolm, says there should be major public inquiries into mistakes in the justice system.


Bungled justice can’t fix itself 21/10/2006
Eight years ago a reporter named Colleen Egan decided to take up the case of Andrew Mallard, then an extremely unpopular cause in the western suburbs.


Mallard to get millions? Don’t bank on it 14/10/2006
Andrew Mallard cannot expect the million dollar payout Lindy Chamberlain got for her wrongful conviction for the murder of her daughter Azaria.


Police are making changes: crime expert 9/9/2006
WA police are making a big effort to improve the way they investigate serious crimes and correct miscarriages of justice, says an international forensic science expert.

Walsham: The key questions that remain unanswered 26/8/2006
The Phillip Walsham murder case hit the national television airwaves again this week, with accusations that the full story had not been presented.


Hanratty’s ghost haunts the Walsham case 12/8/2006
The ghost of a small-time crook named James Hanratty haunts those of us who have serious concerns about mistakes in WA’s criminal justice system.


Car killed Walsham, says forensic expert 5/8/2006
An international forensic expert says there has been a miscarriage of justice over the death of Phillip Walsham.


TV got it wrong: police 5/8/2006
Police have defended their investigation that led to the conviction of three men for the murder of Phillip Walsham, saying an ABC Australian Story series on the murders was inaccurate and lacked objectivity.


Is a mystery hit-run driver out there? 24/6/2006
The Phillip Walsham murder trial process is over, so we are free to contemplate the evidence that points to a nightmare.


10 years to serve before parole 24/6/2006
“The truth will come out,” one of three men who had just been sentenced to life imprisonment told his Supreme Court judge on Wednesday.


Police challenge Walsham report 20/5/2006
Police say video cameras at Stirling station were not recording vision at the time Phillip Walsham died nearly eight years ago.


Shocking catalogue of botches and bungles 13/5/2006
Vital video tapes that could have told exactly what happened on the night Phillip Walsham died eight years ago are blank or missing.


Vital video evidence ruled out on technicality 13/5/2006
Court rules prevented the jury in the Walsham murder trial from seeing a police video in which a man said he pushed Phillip Walsham to his death.


Weekend drama as jury decides 13/5/2006
A series of notes from the Phillip Walsham murder trial jury last weekend left members of the public puzzling about what was going on the in jury room.


Phillip Walsham’s last night out 6/5/2006
Few deaths in Perth have attracted as much public outrage as that of Phillip Walsham (21).
But the 10-week trial attracted media coverage only from the POST and a Sydney reporter from the ABC’s Australian Story program.


Crown ‘can’t solve the jigsaw’ 6/5/2006
Queen’s Counsel Malcolm McCusker berated the prosecution this week for the way it handled a “flimsy circumstantial case” in the high-profile charges against three men charged with wilful murder.


What happened in the missing 15 minutes? 6/5/2006
The judge in the Phillip Walsham murder case drew attention to a missing 15 minutes just before Mr Walsham met his death.


Many ways for Walsham to die, says QC 6/5/2006
The proved facts about the death of Phillip Walsham are so broad that they can be made to fit just about any theory, defence lawyer Malcolm McCusker QC told the Supreme Court jury.


‘Police failed on forensics’ 29/4/2006
Police investigating the death of Phillip Walsham did not record enough information to establish whether Mr Walsham was hit by a car, an independent car-crash expert told the Supreme Court.


‘I thought it could be me’ 29/4/2006
A man told the Supreme Court: “I thought it could be me” when asked whether he had any involvement in the death of Phillip Walsham in 1998.


Witness tells of dive off parapet 29/4/2006
A man knocked himself out when he dived over a parapet at Stirling station to avoid being attacked by a gang of teenagers.


Patient was ‘a suicide risk’ 29/4/2006
Phillip Walsham was considered at serious risk of suicide when he was taken to Sir Charles Gardiner Hospital in 1992, a casualty doctor told the Supreme Court.


Sobs halt court hearing 29/4/2006
The Supreme Court was adjourned for 10 minutes last week because one of the defendants, Carlos Pereiras, could not go on with his evidence.


Long haul for judge 29/4/2006
The judge in the Walsham murder trial admitted to a Freudian slip last week when he released a witness before the man had been cross-examined.

Was it a hit and run?
A bread delivery driver, who said he saw a man’s body lying on the road, has opened up the possibility that a hit and run driver killed 21-year-old Phillip Walsham eight years ago.


Dead pig hit with tyre lever 8/4/2006
An experiment in which a dead pig was dressed in a black T-shirt and hit repeatedly with a tyre lever was “inconclusive and unhelpful”, according to a leading pathologist who took part in the procedure.


Murder trial witness ‘changed her story’ 18/3/2006
The key witness at a Perth murder trial said this week she could not explain why she made crucial changes to her account of events surrounding a young man’s sudden death.

The POST also offers copies of the entire paper online in PDF format. You can find coverage of the Walsham murder convictions in these editions:


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– 9/6/2007
– 5/8/2006
– 24/6/2006
– 13/5/2006
– 6/5/2006
– 29/4/2006
– 8/4/2006
– 18/3/2006