Poisoned Evidence Trail

Reportage, UTS
Sydney Morning Herald,, 2004, pp. 1 - 2
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Background The stories in this portfolio are a significant part of a major investigation into a NSW miscarriage of justice, which the journalist began before 2003 and continues now. The journalist uncovered fresh evidence which helped lead to the release of Roseanne Catt, and which now forms part of a legal case against the State. Wendy Bacon is the only journalist who has followed the case in a sustained in-depth way. The articles were published in the Sydney Morning Herald and the Australian Centre for Independent Journalism's online magazine Reportage. Contribution. Criminal convictions fix the' truth' in way that penetrate bureaucratic and media systems. Significant fresh evidence must be unearthed to destablise that truth. This research analysed thousands of documents using computer-based transcript analysis software and interviews with confidential and other witnesses to reveal the methodologies by which prosecution witnesses had fabricated evidence and drawn on gender stereotypes to achieve a guilty verdict. The researcher tracks the case to produce a continuing narrative of the injustice, including terror tactics used against defence witnesses. The journalist has used the development of new knowledge in this investigation to explore the unique contribution which the methodologies of investigative journalism can make in the broader context of knowledge production. Significance This practice based research was the only continuing media investigation and narrative of a grave injustice. It demonstrated the importance of independent and critical research to an understanding of the criminal justice system.
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