11. Anyone for justice?
Not very often did I dress up in my brown suit, white shirt and tie. On Friday morning, July 28th 06 I did. It was the day I had chosen to spend some time studying the transcript of the Liddy child abuse case. My previous sharing of information, whistle blowing they call it, had as far as I could ascertain, brought no result.
I caught the bus into the city. On Walkleys Road, Valley View a girl boarded the bus. (That's interesting, the first four letters of the street name and the suburb - Walk L, V all). The young lady wore a school jumper displaying their logo - Go International.
On the way into the city I contemplated about a USA trip. Since the beginning of July a trip back across the Pacific was on my mind. I had seen a code 747 and linked it in my creative mind to a phone number etc. In the meantime, however, the idea did not go further than enquiring about fares at the Travel Agent. The desire to travel had diminished considerably, at least for the moment.
I needed to finish the job here in Adelaide. Toward this end I was sitting on the bus looking up toward the Adelaide Hills over to my left above the sprawling Eastern suburbs. It reminded me of Psalm 121 - I will lift up my eyes to the hills, where my help comes from ... the Lord is your keeper ... the Lord shall preserve you from all evil. I needed HIM in the days to come to keep me from the enemy, the evil one.
As I stepped off the bus in Grenville Street there was a brief, but heavy shower of rain. It was one of only a few rainfalls we had had all winter in Adelaide. (Recently I sent an email to a media contact. I told them in four words what I really thought about the weather - little justice, little rain. (Five weeks later still no rain* in sight).
Stop Press - As I woke and rose around 2.30 am this morning there was a brief shower of rain. Ironically, the first item I tuned into on the radio was the delay in the US Open Tennis Championship in NY, too wet to play).
The file of the Liddy court case was about a foot (30 cm) high; hell (sic) over 2000 pages. There was a small fee involved to gain access to the file ($10.20). However, to request a photocopy of a page was to cost $ 5 each. (If this was an indication of the inflated costs of our legal system, little wonder the poor feel disadvantaged - justice only if you're rich. (A photocopy in a newsagent costs 20 cents at the most).
Being at the poorer end of the spectrum, I dismissed the idea of getting selected pages photocopied. But I was told I was allowed to view the files on a tiny desk in the narrow hallway, by the public counter.
To read the whole transcript, word for word, and understand it all, was impossible. I selected certain witness statements and spent around 14 hours in total, on five separate occasions. I constantly asked God, if HE would guide my thoughts and lead me to what I needed to read.
The experience was an eye opener. In the past I had heard, and written this notion, that many times in sex allegations the prosecution does not delve into all the ugly details. The victims may become traumatized and feel the pain all over again.
If this were to have been the case during the police interviews, it certainly was not so in court. On that score I had made a rash judgment and was wrong.
I was also on the wrong track, thinking that the boys may never have been members of the Brighton Surf Life Saving Club. (I thought this originally, because one accuser mentioned a fact, which geographically seemed incorrect). In my amateurish style I admit to simplifying matters to make sense of them. I have learned a few things since.
Whilst on the surface it appears that our system is doing everything possible to give an accused a fair trial, does it really take a 2000-page document? Anyone wanting to check, if the accusers were lying, or if the defendant was telling the truth, has to deal with a monster of paperwork, much of which sounds like a foreign language.
In sexual crimes, some which go back 20, 30 or even more years, it is virtually impossible to get to the truth, let alone prove it in a court of law. My chances of success to get to the bottom of this matter, humanly speaking, was as great as David's chance to beat Goliath.
Thank God for Sunday Schools, however. That story in the bible had always fascinated me. God had the final say then. He will again have the last word. Just wait and see.
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JAMES LAST TRUMPET A GOGO 3
Outside Christian music the German musician James Last and his band wrote and produced some of the finest music to relax to and enjoy.
On August 19.06, strolling with friends through the historic town of Strathalbyn on the River Angas, I happened to spot above vinyl record on a roadside sale. I bought it for my collection.
Approx. 1/2 hour later in the distance we heard the sound of a brass band. In passing, I held up above album cover, right in front of the first trumpeter. Luckily he wasn't playing at the time - you can't laugh while playing the trumpet. I know.
On August 31 my friend, who was with us at the time, came to visit. He knew I loved James Last, so he brought around some JL music he had recorded for me. What he may not have known, unless he also reads it, the bible reading that day in the Daily Bread was headed: THE LAST WORD.
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When trying to make my friends understand that I think a man (that man) is in jail innocently, they look at me, as if I had boasted that Adolf Hitler was my grand-uncle and he was really grand. This is the tragic part of this story - people only know about this case what they have read in the paper or seen and heard in the electronic media. (Not even the internet yielded one website, except mine, which in any way agreed with my line of questioning).
They form an opinion on what is fed to them. This information then spreads by word of mouth and gets twisted, coloured, enlarged, shortened plus whatever the hearer understands of the case.
My wife's keeps repeating just such a wrong notion. She can't get over the fact that a lady, a storeowner in Kapunda, had mentioned on TV: "The house (Liddy's) was a cesspool and the gardener was a homosexual."
The first part of the statement is so broad, it means nothing. The second part, that the gardener was gay, makes listeners immediately draw conclusions about the magistrate's sexuality. Reality is, even if the gardener were gay, our laws are such that you could not do anything about it.
Therefore this statement on TV, which my wife based her opinion on, was totally out of order and only served in the downfall of the magistrate. Such reporting may indeed have influenced the jury at the time. Now I know what Mr. Liddy meant, when he wrote to me: "My lawyers are trying to sue Channel ... over false reporting".
A number of times I have written about the time I personally witnessed such misreporting. It was claimed: "The courtroom erupted into spontaneous applause, when the sentence (Liddy's 25 years) was handed down". No such thing had occurred.
(Ironically, the TV Station involved regularly reports on another perceived miscarriage of justice in a murder case. Over the years they have filled many broadcasting hours, during their current affairs programs, between advertisements for muesli, motorcars or magical margarine).
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Here are just some facts I read as I studied the transcript of court proceedings in the case against Peter Michael Liddy. If you live in South Australia and/or think you know anything about this case, see how you score in the following: Did you know?
1. Three of Liddy's main accusers all had a criminal record. One was especially brought from Queensland to testify in the case. As I read and interpreted the information, he was either given (or promised) a reduced jail term for doing so.
2. Three other men, who were in the same group of Nippers (the youth arm of the Surf Life Saving Association) testified in court that they never saw, or heard of, any sexual misconduct by Liddy. The other three claimed it was happening openly. One claims that Liddy, while transporting a load of boys, sitting both in the back and front of the van, was masturbating and then ejaculating. (For young readers, who don't understand, just remember for later - doing this while driving is bad for road safety).
3. None of the accusers said anything about alleged abuse to anyone for 15 years; not to a parent, not a teacher, not to any friend. One accuser had a girlfriend for nine years. Not even she was privileged to the dark secret of her long-term boyfriend.
4. At least one accuser admitted making a false statements to police on two separate occasions. He later changed his mind. The jury still believed these men with a criminal record, who admitted openly to having lied to police. *(Read below a reference to this in the newspaper)
5. One boy claimed Liddy placed his hand inside the boys swimwear and fondled his genitals for two minutes. He stated in court: "It wasn't long". He further claimed that he thought there was nothing wrong with it. "I didn't think, I didn't know ..." (...anything was wrong with it).
6. The alleged attack on the boys at the Glenelg Courthouse supposedly co-incited with the Glenelg Riots in January 1984. That night the police station (and courthouse) was swamped with police, while the place was belted with rocks by drunk hooligans. (Bad timing to take boys into the shower block and rape them, really). The accuser said he was held over a porcelain basin. No porcelain basins were installed at the place.
7. Peter Liddy for 25 years was the chairman of the Police Disciplinary Tribunal. (If the abbreviation is PDT I am not sure). The President of the Brighton Surf Club testified in court as to the integrity and dedicated work of Peter Liddy as coach. He told the court room that the defendant was a very successful coach and he held him in high regards.
How many did you score out of the seven? During 2000/01 I was fighting my own battle with stress overload. I had not followed the case closely at the time and would have scored zero in above test.
In late August 06 I visited the State Library and spent about an hour searching and reading newspaper articles on the case. So far (and I have only just started) I found one reference to one of above points. No. 4 - the accuser initially lied to police twice.
*The newspaper article of 16/5/01 is headed: "Victim explains why he lied to police". His excuse for initially denying sexual abuse to police went like this: His conscience got to him. His brother has two children (aged 3 & 5) and he loves them very much. He thought about it that in a few years they may become victims, if he doesn't speak up now." (I bet the jury was passing the tissue box around after that).
A second fact in the newspaper, which was either told falsely in court or written by the reporter, involved the exchange of money, the alleged bribe to silence one alleged victim. The newspaper stated clearly $ 5000 was handed in an envelope to one of the abused. What I read in the transcript was rather different and not that simple.
Initially, Liddy offered to help the young man out with some money to buy his girlfriend an engagement ring. He had planned to propose to her. During that week $ 3000 changed hands. On the Friday the groom-to-be wanted another $ 2000. Liddy agreed. (Never was the sum of five thousand dollars exchanged in one sum). But there's more.
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A jeweler's offer: a dazzling expression of individual style
0.30 carat of diamonds, $ 0.69 per day. (Amazing timing - unplanned magic - the date of uploading Sep. 3, 06).
$ 499 - 9 ct god.
Anyone getting engaged? Ask mel for details!
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A few days later the young man, so I read in the court transcript, wanted more money. Liddy refused, realizing he had been betrayed by this friend he had trusted. He told him: "Go to hell, you will not receive another cent".
To which the friend answered: "Well, there are other ways to get it". I also read that at this point the alleged abused man had changed his mind about proposing to his girlfriend of nine years. He did not buy an engagement ring, but went on a spending spree for himself. He joked in court that it may have included a lot of beer. (Free beer - but at what cost!)
On August 17th I could not bear the injustice any longer. I had to tell somebody. I sent an email to seven recipients around the world. (May I add - without any reply, nothing new).
My next step was to document what I had found after my five visits to the Samuel Way Building. The document came to 15 pages. But instead of pushing such a large volume under somebody's nose, I condensed my main arguments into one page. In late August 06 I started to distribute this one page flyer.
The recipients were from a spectrum of society, both ordinary folk and public figures. My target audience, however, was the clergy. I regarded those, who confessed to the teachings of Christ, to be the first to stand up and speak out on behalf of an innocent man in jail. (What a pity, so far this formula has added up to very little, unless it happens behind the scenes.)
But if this group was to catch the vision, they were the one's who had the most to gain. In a personal letter, with a copy of my flyer (which is printed below) I pleaded with a Catholic identify in Adelaide, to seriously consider helping in this case.
Here is part of my letter, where I passionately try to make him understand my point of view:
... However, I would like make a very, very important point here. If the small group, who stands up for this manís innocence is correct, the Catholic Church should stand up with us and highlight the fact that many cases of similar alleged sex offenses may have been invented in the past. The accused have no way of proving their innocence. Many are advised by lawyers to simply plead guilty to have the matter dealt with speedily and with a lesser penalty. (Itís called plea bargaining; a simple lie, admitting guilt when you are innocent - the curse of our justice system).
Sir, this is not justice the way God wants it. As a case in point on Friday 25/8 I went to see Father JP. After I had outlined this same point, he replied to me: "This happened years ago to a colleague of mine. He was accused of sexual misconduct, but said he was innocent. In the end he was advised to plead guilty, which he did".
(I have since found out that I was incorrect in thinking Mr. Liddy was Anglican. He actually belonged to the Catholic faith, another reason the Catholic Church should assist in this cause).
Only days before writing I have come across another person, who is as irate about an injustice as I am. Her friend is also accused of sexual abuse. She bets her life on the fact that he is innocent. He lost his Government job, so she told me, his life has been ruined before he even had a chance to defend himself in court. His case is scheduled to be heard in two years!
How about some good advice from a lawyer (who may charge you $ 1000 to give it): "You would be best to just plead guilty. Cases like this are hard to defend. The case will be over quickly and all you receive is a suspended sentence and a fine. That way you get your job back to pay for it and life will be back to normal! BULLDUST!!!!
In the long term, not in every case thankfully, the fruit of this madness is resentment, bitterness. It could lead to other problems. Mental Hospitals are full of such victims. Been there, seen it! The biggest tragedy is that very few know, where to turn to for real help.
I feel sad for those, who don't know God, who have never found joy, happiness and peace in a close friendship with the ONE, who never lets you down. HE can bring joy and happiness in the deepest despair - yes, even when innocently in jail. I take some comfort knowing that Peter Liddy, so I read in his letters, has come to this understanding.
However, this does not address the wrong that needs to be put right. The positive part, that a victim has found peace, despite the wrong that was done against him or her, should not let the perpetrators off the hook. I will keep working toward finding the truth, toward putting right that which is wrong.
The flyer I started to distribute in late August 06 is one step toward that goal:
Anyone for justice?
A man in his early 60ís is locked up in jail in Adelaide. So far he has served five years of a 25 year jail term for alleged sexual offenses against young boys. I believe the man is innocent. There is a high probability his accusers told lies about him to get money.
The sad story
The gentleman in jail was a highly respected member of the community in Adelaide (a magistrate for 25 years). He worked tirelessly with boys in sports clubs and surf life saving. He did not have a wife or family. His community work was his family, into which he poured his money and efforts.
In 1999 a man, in his mid twenties came forward and (for the first time ever) claimed that the magistrate engaged in serious sexual misconduct 15 years earlier. Shortly afterwards more came forward, one after another, claiming they also had been abused. The man is charged and arrested.
The media went into a frenzy. The prisoner told me in a personal letter that there was constant distorted reporting, which would have influenced the jury against him. On September 7th, 2001 the man is sentenced to 25 years in jail (18 years non-parole).
The untold story
By sheer co-incidence the arrested magistrateís main accusers were all men, who had pursued a life of crime. One was described by the defense as a career criminal. He once stated in a Family Court that he had never been abused as a child. The document, which the accused man's lawyer was able to produce, was not admissible in court. I am told the imprisoned man still holds this document, which would prove that this accuser was not telling the truth.
(A copy of this document can now be viewed in Book 7, Chapter 26).
During the trial one of the main accusers admitted openly to having lied to detectives, when making a statement. For some inexplicable reason detectives did not take tape recordings of the menís initial abuse allegations. This was despite being told to do so by their superior.
There were a number of young men, none of whom had a criminal record, who were in the same group within the surf life saving club. They testified in court that they never saw or heard anything, which indicated sexual misconduct ever took place. At least one of them questioned, why the detectives kept pressing the point; why he had to repeat a number of times that he never saw or heard anything of a sexual nature. Yet the accusers claim that the magistrate displayed sexual misconduct openly. One of them claims, the accused masturbated and ejaculated while driving with a load of boys in the van.
Who to believe?
Above findings are the result of studying the case for hours, both online and reading the transcript of court proceedings. I also had contact with a prison chaplain, who confirmed that he also believes (he actually said, he knows) the man is innocent. Likewise, a relative of the accused contacted me and told me that none of the wider family ever believed the man was guilty.
The jury believed the stories of the allegedly abused men with a criminal record. Had all the facts been permitted in the trial, had the jury known the full story behind the case, I wonder, if they still would have found the man guilty beyond reasonable doubt? I believe a lot of doubt exists in this case, which the public has never been told. I believe that a grave error has been made in the judicial system in Adelaide.
What will you do?
If you believe what I say, that there is doubt about the magistrate in jail, please pass on this leaflet to as many people as possible. Even to your local MP, neighbours, journalists or your Priest or Pastor . (The accused was a churchgoing Catholic. He took the boys to church a number of times). I pray that the man will find justice.
This pamphlet has been prepared solely by me and I take full responsibility as to the content. I am not accepting any funds.
Justice and truth should be free for all!
Dieter Fischer, Adelaide, August 2006
Friends there is only one answer - truth. Yes, I am again bringing it down to a simple paradigm - The truth shall set your free. Where do you find truth and justice?
Not with politicians, I learned this from first hand experience. A newspaper reporter? It is their job to tell us what is happening in the community, in the court rooms. There used to be reporters investigating cases, probing for truth. Were have they gone? Ah, working in the sports department, of course?
After trying a few times recently I was able to reach a journalist from the Advertiser Newspaper. He was unable to talk at that point. He said he was at an inquest.
The police, lawyers, judges? Surely it is their job to find the truth and ensure an innocently accused is vindicated? I would not be writing this, if this were so. Not what I observed at Flinders Street or Victoria Square.
This leaves us with the clergy. Men and women, who at one point in their life were called, or chose for any number of reasons, to say: Yes I will become a leader, I will take care of the flock. In German a clergyman is called Seelsorger. Two words combine - soul and worrier (carer).
From my experience there are a few, very few, who really care for the oppressed, neglected flock. The fear of losing power, position and influence renders many useless for the Kingdom of God. Nothing ruins a person's reputation more than standing up for a man (a pedophile, yuck!) in prison. But their pay cheque never suffers, so why bother?
It saddens me - the apathy of those, who preach that we are the salt of the earth, who tell us, we are called to be a light in the darkness of a sick world. Yet, their own lamp has run dry. How can they fill the lamp of others?
Replenish daily the Oil of Joy, the Spirit of Happiness; draw on the power you claim to know and draw strength from one source only - Almighty God, the creator of Heaven and Earth.
Church where is your power? (And I don't mean the decibels of your sound system).
God longs for intimacy with HIS church, his people, his special creation. But their busy lives don't have time, their stubborn hearts are closed, their eyes blinded, they turned away their ear. Therefore they don't h ear.
But God has not finished with us yet. HE is in control. His plan will succeed until the very end.
Eye has not seen, nor ear heard;
nor have entered into heart of man, the things
which God has prepared for those who love HIM.
1. Cor. 2, 9