Last week I published a story which laid out what I called a 'terrible conspiracy' by NSW police and Crown witnesses that led to Roseanne Beckett (Catt) spending ten years in prison for crimes she did not commit. The Crown and the NSW DPP continue to sanction that conspiracy.
On Sunday Night, Channel 7 did a short follow up on its earlier story about the case. Reporter Rahni Sadler put this proposition to Roseanne's ex-husband Barry Catt: You put an innocent woman in jail for 10 years. You helped to put an innocent woman in jail for 10 years. Shortly afterwards (at least in the edited version) Barry Catt asks to be excused, saying that he has an answer 'up his sleeve'. As he departs, he thrusts his fist into his hand - suggesting to the audience that he could resort to 'biffo'. In fact, Barry Catt has assaulted many women as the NSW DPP well knows. Even at the time of her arrest, Roseanne had charged Barry with two very serious assaults. These were part heard but were simply allowed to lapse while the NSW police got on with framing Roseanne. In their introduction, Channel 7 summarised the case this way:
Roseanne had lost the best years of her life in what’s been described as a grave miscarriage of justice. But her battle is far from over: she now has to fight for compensation. Ironically Barry Catt, who has had AVO’s taken out against him by at least nine different women, did receive compensation when Roseanne was jailed that he has not had to pay back. Today Barry still claims his ex-wife is guilty, describing her as ‘Satan’ .
Roseanne Beckett's supporters start a petition
Also on Sunday, Mary Court who first met Roseanne as a prison visitor in 1996 and has continually campaigned for her ever since, started an online petition. The Blue Mountains Gazette reported on Mary's fight for justice for Roseanne this week.The petition calls for compensation and a public inquiry into the case. Amongst many other issues,such an inquiry would find out who was responsible for the NSW DPP being prepared to continue to rely on the word of ex-detective Peter Thomas, who had been proved to have lied in another case. Why wasn't he charged with perjury? You can find the petition here:
The first politician to sign the petition was Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon who first raised questions about this case in November 2000, not long after our first reports appeared in the SMH. (I republished those early stories on this blog.) Rhiannon later asked further questions about the police role in the case and about the case of Jake Sourian, another Thomas frame-up.
I will continue to report on this story and will pursue my questions with the authorities.If the Crown had not been so determined to cover-up and there were avenues for redressing miscarriages of justice in our society, Roseanne would have been compensated years ago. Her supporter Sister Claudette Palmer reported that the NSW Attorney General's department was involved in negotiations for compensation in 2006.For some unexplained reason, these negotiations were abandoned. Given that there has been a lot of discussion in the media about journalism, neutrality and politics this week, I thought I'd add a small comment on that topic.Some people may wonder why as a journalist, I'm promoting a petition, which is after all a form of political action. Suffice it to say here that I regard the essential obligations of a journalist as being to the evidence and the 'truth'. I apply the MEAA code of ethcis which mirrors that of most organisations of journalists around the world. My views on Roseanne's case are based on months of research over many years. But once convinced by the evidence that she had been framed, my obligation as a citizen and a journalist is to help hold power accountable. The topic of politics and journalism is a much bigger one about which I will do more posts. I'm proud to be part of a long tradition of radical journalism and last year published a chapter in Left Turn, a book edited by Antony Loewenstein and Jeff Sparrow and published by Melbourne University Press.