Taking a bath can be dangerous …

Nicholas Gruen posted on the weekend about a South Australian defamation matter called Manock v Channel Seven Adelaide Pty Ltd which has been going for almost 7 years and still hasn’t even reached trial.  Nicholas quite rightly cited the case as a good example of the deplorable tendency of Australia’s legal system to foster/tolerate gross delaying tactics and utterly unnecessary complexity and expense resulting in systemic unfairness.

However, the context for the Manock case is itself fascinating and well worth a blog post in its own right.  Dr Colin Manock is a veteran forensic pathologist who performed the autopsy on a 29 year old Adelaide lawyer named Anna-Jane Cheney after her death in 1994.  Ms Cheney had drowned in her bath at home.  Dr Manock concluded that she had been murdered by someone using a technique effectively identical to the notorious UK Brides in the Bath murders in the early 1900s.  One George Joseph Smith had killed three wives in succession by suddenly grabbing their ankles and pulling their heads under water while they were in the bath.  Smith was convicted of all three murders in 1915 after some pioneering forensic work.  Dr Manock found bruises on Ms Cheney’s ankles consistent with a grip mark.  Ms Cheney’s fiance former bank manager Henry Keogh, who found her body, was subsequently charged with and convicted of her murder.

There is no doubt that Dr Manock’s testimony was a significant part of the circumstantial case against Keogh, although arguably at least as significant was the fact that shortly before her death Keogh had taken out 5 separate insurance policies on her life totalling some $1 million and had allegedly forged her signature on some insurance documents.  There was also evidence that Keogh had romantic relationships with two other women at the time of Ms Cheney’s death, and statements he made subsequent to the death in relation to the insurance policies to members of the deceased’s family. Keogh certainly had both motive and opportunity at the very least.

Subsequent to Keogh’s conviction a small group of people led by ex-Adelaide University law lecturer Bob Moles formed the view that Keogh had been a victim of a miscarriage of justice and began campaigning for a retrial or at least an independent re-examination of the evidence.   Their main arguments appear to revolve around alleged inadequacies in Dr Manock’s autopsy and his evidence at Keogh’s trial.  Unfortunately for them (and Keogh) the High Court twice rejected these arguments as did a SA Medical Board enquiry which found:

There is no basis for criticising the opinion of Dr Manock as to the cause of death.

There are valid criticisms of the autopsy which even Dr Manock acknowledged was less than perfect. However for the reasons which we have expressed, we do not regard those criticisms as a cause for disciplinary action.

I became aware of the Keogh case some years ago after I had some dealings with Bob Moles as part of my CDU duties, and he took the opportunity to send me a copy of his book about it.  Moles struck me as an intense, determined and possibly even obsessive-compulsive chap, an impression heightened by perusal of his voluminous website about the Keogh case.

After the endless publicity, petitions and court applications triggered by Moles and his group, you would have to wonder whether they are doing anyone including Keogh any favours by persisting in their endeavours.  Still, no doubt some people said similar things about those who assisted Andrew Mallard prior to his eventual exoneration and release.  That point was made by a recent ABC Background Briefing program about the Keogh case.  Even so, my own tentative conclusion about the case after reading much of the material on Moles’ site is that there simply isn’t enough doubt surrounding Keogh’s conviction to justify re-opening the case.

Nevertheless, it seems likely that Dr Manock formed a strong conviction about Keogh’s guilt at a quite early stage, and perhaps as a result failed fully to investigate and eliminate other possible if highly unlikely explanations for Anna-Jane Cheney’s death.  For example, one argument Moles and his colleagues have advanced is that Manock failed to disclose when giving evidence at trial that ordinary histology had not confirmed that one of the marks on Ms Cheney’s ankles was in fact a bruise, and that he utilised a test called polilight to confirm the diagnosis at least in respect of the thumb-print. They also argue that Manock failed to conduct an examination of Ms Cheney’s brain which, they allege, might have revealed some undiagnosed, unsuspected and completely asymptomatic medical condition such as epilepsy.  That hypothetical illness in turn might have caused a sudden blackout, which could have provided an innocent explanation for how a seemingly completely healthy 29 year old woman could accidentally drown while having a bath!!  They may well be correct about the shortcomings of Manock’s autopsy and evidence, but these arguments don’t strike me as providing a compelling case that a miscarriage of justice occurred.  Nor did they so strike the High Court (twice), the Medical Board or the SA Attorney-General (three times with a fourth petition currently being considered).

Another factor worth keeping in mind is that the second medical expert called by the Prosecution at trial also supported Dr Manock’s conclusion about the bruising and its being consistent with a Brides in the Bath modus operandi, while both defence experts conceded that Manock’s conclusion was possible on the evidence, but suggested that the bruising might also be consistent with the deceased having bumped her leg or had a fall at some earlier time. 11. KP: However, the alleged thumb-print on the inside of Ms Cheney’s ankle was fairly clearly not consistent with a bump or fall, which is why the fact that Manock was only able to establish with a polilight test that it was in fact a bruise becomes so potentially significant.  It appears that the central aspect of the current defamation proceedings between Manock and Channel 7 is the latter’s suggestion (no doubt at the urging of Keogh’s supporters), that the fact that the polilight testing was done and that it was the sole basis for Manock’s conclusion that this mark was a bruise, was deliberately suppressed by Dr Manock in his evidence at trial. It might be argued that the question of whether the mark on the inside of Ms Cheney’s ankle was a thumb-print bruise is critical to reaching a conclusion beyond reasonable doubt as to whether she was murdered in the way Dr Manock concluded. []

Anyway, make up your own mind.  Here is the full transcript of the Background Briefing program on the Keogh case, and I’ve extracted the bits particularly relevant to Dr Manock below:

Reporter: Keogh stood in the dock at Justice Duggan described the cold-blooded and long-planned execution of Anna Jane Cheney. The former bank manager was convicted by a jury of deliberately drowning Ms. Cheney in the bath in their Magill home.

Reporter: Keogh, now 41, will be in his mid 60s before he can apply for parole.

Hagar Cohen: Henry Keogh’s daughter, Alexis, was nine years old at the time.

Alexis Keogh: I remember reading things about my dad that I thought were about somebody else, they were just horrific. I was never ashamed of my dad, but because I just couldn’t deal with people’s opinions, I would often pretend that I wasn’t who I was.

Hagar Cohen: Alexis Keogh believes her father was convicted on the basis of false evidence.

Alexis Keogh: There are question marks. And that is the whole reason why the case has to be reviewed, because there shouldn’t be so many question marks. If a guilty verdict is brought down, it has to be beyond reasonable doubt, and there’s a lot of reasonable doubt. Now it’s just so hard to find out what actually did happen.

Hagar Cohen: For the past ten years a team of legal and other experts has been going through the evidence that led to Keogh’s conviction, and as we’ll hear, they are convinced it does not prove Henry Keogh killed Anna Jane Cheney.

The Keogh case is closed, so the South Australian Attorney-General must approve the re-opening of the case for new evidence to be heard. But the former Attorney-General, Michael Atkinson, refused three petitions from Keogh’s lawyers asking for the evidence to be re-examined.

In 2003, after deciding on the third petition, Michael Atkinson spoke in parliament about the campaign to reopen the case. This is a reading from the parliamentary Hansard.

Atkinson Reading: Let me apologise to the Cheney family for the hurt that has been done to them. I met with Anna-Jane Cheney’s mother and brother the week before last. They have had to live with the campaign to release the murderer of Anna-Jane for nine years.

A few people – I repeat, just a few people – including a couple of lawyers and a former law professor, have questioned the competence of the prosecution and suggested that important pieces of evidence were withheld from the court. This is wrong. I deny it. Justice was done to Henry Keogh; let it be done also to the deceased, Anna-Jane, and to her family.

Hagar Cohen: A fourth petition has now been submitted to the current Attorney-General, John Rau. A spokesperson for Mr Rau said he will not comment on the case until the petition process is concluded. …

Hagar Cohen: Joe Crowley is a recent addition to a team of people who’ve been gathering new evidence for the past 10 years. One of them, Kevin Borick, says calls to reopen the case have so far failed to convince the Attorney-General.

Kevin Borick: That is the end of the matter. You can’t take it anywhere else, unless you can persuade a politician, the Attorney-General, the case should be referred back to the court. The former Attorney-General of South Australia, who’s been the Attorney-General for most of this, has made his position completely clear, that Henry Keogh was guilty of murder.

Hagar Cohen: So in light of this position, are you hopeful that anything’s going to come out of this?

Kevin Borick: It’s not a question of hope, there is no doubt that one day in the future, whether it’s going to be this year, next year or 20 years, the story of Henry Keogh will be told.

Hagar Cohen: Working closely with Kevin Borick, is Dr Bob Moles, a former law lecturer. And I spoke to him in his car on his way to visit Henry Keogh in prison.

Bob Moles: We’re on Grand Junction Road, which is the main circular road on the north of Adelaide, and we’re just a few minutes away from the Yatala labour prison. We’re going to see Henry Keogh this morning.

Hagar Cohen: Background Briefing was not allowed to speak to Keogh in prison, but Dr Bob Moles has been visiting him every two or three months for the past ten years.

Bob Moles: When I first came across his case, I was a Professor of Law at Adelaide University, and this was just one of the projects that my students had brought to my attention. When I first met with Henry, he said that if we didn’t get a move on, he will have been in prison for about six years, and that was when the Sydney Olympics were coming up, and he dreaded the thought of still being in prison at that time. He’s now been in prison for 16 years, and I have to say it’s all quite unnecessary.

Hagar Cohen: Why did you believe him?

Bob Moles: It wasn’t a question of believing him; the important thing is that I’m of the very firm opinion that no criminal event took place, and therefore it follows that he was not engaged in any criminal activity. I’ve been able to substantiate for myself, that this is a serious miscarriage of justice.

Hagar Cohen: On a Friday night in 1994, 29 year-old Anna Jane Cheney was found dead in the bathroom of her Adelaide home. Her fiancé, Henry Keogh said he found her after returning from a visit to his mum.

It became a murder case, where Henry Keogh was the only suspect.

Here’s a re-enactment from the trial, where Keogh was questioned by the Crown Prosecutor, Paul Rofe.

Paul Rofe: [reconstruction]How long after you stopped your car in the carport at Homes Avenue was it before you found Anna Jane?

Henry Keogh: [reconstruction]As long as it would have taken me to get out of my car, lock it, walk to the front door, open that, close it quickly because Jordan came running towards me, give him a quick pat, call out ‘Hello’, see that Anna wasn’t on the chesterfields, stick my head around the arch, see that she wasn’t on the phone; turn around, call out again and walk towards the bedroom, however long that takes.

Paul Rofe: [reconstruction]Perhaps a minute or so.

Henry Keogh: [reconstruction]Approximately, yes.

Paul Rofe: [reconstruction]Once you found her, you immediately took her out of the bath?

Henry Keogh: [reconstruction]I tried to get her out of the bath immediately, yes. I would have immediately checked Anna’s pulse. There was none.

Hagar Cohen: Henry Keogh’s motive was said to be money. He’d taken out five insurance policies in Anna Jane Cheney’s name.

Paul Rofe: [reconstruction]So there’s no mistake, I am suggesting you killed Anna Jane Cheney, at least in part, hoping to benefit from those five policies.

Henry Keogh: [reconstruction]No.

Hagar Cohen: The defence argued there was never a murder, and that Anna Jane Cheney’s death was an accident. But the prosecution said the circumstances of the death were highly suspicious. Prosecutor Paul Rofe put it to the jury.

Paul Rofe: [reconstruction]On 15th March last year, Anna Jane Cheney celebrated her 29th birthday. She was a fit, healthy, young woman. She had a promising career as a lawyer. She thought she was about to be married. Three days later, she was dead, drowned in the bath of her home in Magill. And on the Crown case, with recent bruising particularly on the left lower leg consistent with grip mark.

Hagar Cohen: The grip mark was only part of the story. Henry Keogh had two other girlfriends at the time he was engaged to Anna Jane Cheney. And he also took out the insurance policies on her life by forging her signature on them.

Here’s Paul Rofe again in his opening address to the jury.

Paul Rofe: [reconstruction]Her fiancé, Henry Vincent Keogh, stood to benefit $1-million-150,000 from her death as a result of five insurance policies he had taken out on her life some 12 months previously, policies for which he was the agent, co-owner and sole beneficiary. The accused, now aged 40 on the Crown case, was responsible for Ms Cheney’s death and he stands before you charged with murder.

Hagar Cohen: Henry Keogh maintained his fiancé knew about the insurance policies. A few days after the death of Anna Jane Cheney, police questioned him about the unusual financial arrangements.

At the trial, Henry Keogh was asked by the prosecutor about this visit by police.

Paul Rofe: [reconstruction]You knew, did you not, that the police had you under suspicion because of the amount of money involved. The will, the insurance, the house, as you told us this morning.

Henry Keogh: [reconstruction]I didn’t know the basis for that suspicion.

Paul Rofe: [reconstruction]Again, are you seriously suggesting that you didn’t know why you were under suspicion?

Henry Keogh: [reconstruction]I believed that it would all blow over. I really didn’t believe it could be a serious thought on the police’s mind that I had killed Anna Jane. I thought it would blow over.

Paul Rofe: [reconstruction]I suggest not only did you think it would blow over, but in time you would be able to successfully claim on the five policies you had taken out on Anna Jane’s life.

Henry Keogh: [reconstruction]No.

Hagar Cohen: The jury decided Henry Keogh was guilty of murder, and it was widely reported by the South Australian press.

ABC NEWS THEME

Reporter: The judge told Keogh his principal motive was greed. More than a million dollars in life insurance policies. It was an elaborate and coldly planned scheme to kill Ms Cheney and profit from her death. The judge said he was satisfied Ms Cheney had no idea Keogh stood to gain so much.

Hagar Cohen: A key element of the evidence for the prosecution was the grip mark on the ankle of the deceased. It was a sign, the Crown argued, that Henry Keogh had forced his fiancé under water in the bath. An expert witness for the prosecution was Dr Colin Manock, who had three decades of experience in forensic pathology.

He’d conducted around 10,000 autopsies in his career, and the autopsy on Anna Jane Cheney was Dr Manock’s last big case before his retirement. His interpretation of what happened is disputed by Keogh’s legal team, and is central to their argument that the case should be reviewed.

Dr Manock has never spoken out publicly about the Keogh case, until now. He agreed to speak to Background Briefing about the case and how he diagnosed the signs of murder.

Colin Manock: Well, we just said, cause of death was drowning in fresh water.

Hagar Cohen: But how did it happen?

Colin Manock: I think that she was in the bath and I think she was relaxing, and I think that someone close to her who she had every confidence in, was probably kneeling or crouching by the side of the bath, and he put his right hand under the heels and lifted them up until the legs were vertical, at which stage her body would slide further down the bath, and at that stage when the legs passed above her head, his left hand gripped her left ankle, which puts the left thumb on the inside of the left calf, and in that position folded over almost jack-knife position, she was unable to struggle very much.

Hagar Cohen: Are you confident that it is beyond reasonable doubt that Henry Keogh had actually murdered Anna Cheney?

Colin Manock: Yes, I am.

Hagar Cohen: And you were confident of that all along? Nothing’s ever changed?

Colin Manock: Yes, that’s right.

Hagar Cohen: Dr Manock’s murder scenario was based on a 1915 murder case in England, known as the Brides in the Baths. George Joseph Smith drowned all three of his brides in the bath during their honeymoons. He did that, using a particular method that killed the women very quickly, and left no serious injuries on their bodies. Back in 1915, George Smith’s motive was money.

When Dr Manock observed the grip mark on Anna Jane Cheney’s leg, and the condition of her lungs suggested that she had drowned, he believed the murder scenario was clear.

Colin Manock: I read the copy of the transcripts from the George Joseph Smith case. I was quite familiar with the circumstances. And when I saw the circumstances of Anna Jane’s death, it was like seeing a friend across the street; I’d seen it all before.

Hagar Cohen: Dr Manock’s use of the 1915 scenario, concerned a number of pathologists reviewing the Keogh case. For example, Melbourne-based Dr Byron Collins, has been asked by Keogh’s defence to scrutinise the autopsy findings from the trial. He’s been working as an independent forensic pathologist since the early ’70s.

Dr Byron Collins says comparing the Brides in the Baths theory to the death of Anna Jane Cheney was distracting and irrelevant.

Byron Collins: I think really it’s drawing a long bow. Each case has its own specific individual characteristics. And that is what needs to be assessed at the time, and if one tries to relate a particular set of circumstances such as in this case, as something that has occurred previously, it may well cloud the mind and fetter the processes of reasoned deductive exercises. So while I think you know, it gives a good description for the press of Brides in the Bath type drowning, I think that’s about as far as it goes. It doesn’t serve any useful purpose in my mind in assisting -

Hagar Cohen: What about a diagnostic purpose?

Byron Collins: No, it serves no diagnostic purpose whatsoever.

Hagar Cohen: Dr Byron Collins.

As Keogh’s legal team continued their investigations, more questions about the murder theory emerged. The most hotly disputed part of the evidence is the existence of a grip mark.

Dr Manock stands by his diagnosis of a grip mark.

Colin Manock: What’s a grip mark? Well, you’ve got four fingers and a thumb, and if you grip something firmly, then the little finger doesn’t usually leave a mark, it’s usually the index and the middle finger that are the strongest, and the thumb. But we found three bruises on one side, and an opposition mark on the other side of the leg would be the thumb.

Hagar Cohen: That mark, how do you know it was a bruise, and how do you know that it was indeed the thumb?

Colin Manock: Well it’s the only way you can space the fingers to do it, and I know it’s a bruise because I cut into it, and you could see the blood in the tissues.

Hagar Cohen: This method of examination is known as histology. A bruise is a collection of blood in the tissue, usually confirmed through histology. But years later, during an inquiry by the South Australian Medical Board, which we’ll hear more about later, Dr Manock said that histology did not prove there was a bruise. Background Briefing asked Dr Manock how he could explain the conflicting evidence.

Colin Manock: This is 16 years ago, I can’t remember. We did something unusual. I’m talking about the way in which the bruises, I’ll call them, reacted to different wavelengths of light. If you have a red mark and you illuminate it with a red light, it looks white, or it disappears altogether. But if you illuminate it with blue light, it turns black. So if you’ve got something which is very faintly red, and you illuminate it with blue or even green light, and it turns black, then that would suggest that there’s a red pigment there.

Hagar Cohen: So can you say with certainty that that bruise in the inner side of the left leg, which you call the thumb bruise, was indeed a bruise?

Colin Manock: Yes.

Hagar Cohen: And was caused by the thumb?

Colin Manock: That is my opinion, yes.

Hagar Cohen: I’ll just tell you again. From what I read, my understanding was that in the medical tribunal you actually said that the thumb mark, you couldn’t actually say whether it was a bruise or not.

Colin Manock: I think that was only into consideration the histology.

Hagar Cohen: OK, so what are you taking into consideration now?

Colin Manock: The appearance under different coloured lights, that makes the difference.

Hagar Cohen: Dr Manock’s polilight evidence was not put to the jury. So the question about the scientific validity of this method never came up.

An expert in forensic photography, Professor Gale Spring, has extensive experience using the polilight, and he is familiar with the evidence in the Keogh trial. Professor Spring says the polilight technique would be of no use in this instance.

Gale Spring: The curious thing is, if you can see the bruise with your eye, the polilight’s probably not going to give you much more information than that. Where the polilight or ultraviolet radiation might assist in visualising some things actually when, say, days, weeks, months after an incident, where a bruise may no longer visually be seen, but this kind of technique could actually show where a bruise might have been. That technique will actually make the invisible become visible, and with the Keogh case it becomes interesting that this technique would have been used on what I understand was bruises that were already visually there; you could see them. So the polilight would have been probably of no use whatsoever.

Hagar Cohen: But what else can it be? I mean we know that there’s a mark; it looks visually as if it was a grip mark because you’ve got the three marks on the outer side of the left leg, and then the thumb mark; what else can it be?

Gale Spring: Well I’m afraid I can’t say what it is, and once again, I think this is where photography in forensic situations can be kind of dangerous, because once you produce a photograph which many people believe just as fact, and then you put a story with that photograph, people begin to read into photographs what they’re told. So I was never convinced that it actually was fingermarks or thumbprints, or whatever. What it is, nobody will know.

Hagar Cohen: Professor Gale Spring.

By 2004, the team investigating the Keogh case decided to complain about Dr Manock to the South Australian Medical Board.

They claimed Dr Manock’s autopsy at the Keogh trial was incompetent and his work on the case amounted to unprofessional conduct.

After extensive investigations and a second inquiry, it was referred to the medical tribunal.

The tribunal accepted that Dr Manock had made some mistakes, but cleared him of unprofessional conduct.

Reader: We find that those deficiencies were trivial or harmless.

Holding a mistaken opinion by itself does not amount to unprofessional conduct.

There is no basis for criticising the opinion of Dr Manock as to the cause of death.

There are valid criticisms of the autopsy which even Dr Manock acknowledged was less than perfect. However for the reasons which we have expressed, we do not regard those criticisms as a cause for disciplinary action.

This entry was posted in Law, Uncategorized by Ken Parish. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ken Parish

Ken Parish is a legal academic at Charles Darwin University, with research areas in public law (constitutional and administrative law) and teaching & learning theory and practice. He has been a legal academic for almost 12 years. Before that he ran a legal practice in Darwin for 15 years and was a Member of the NT Legislative Assembly for almost 4 years in he early 1990s.

68 thoughts on “Taking a bath can be dangerous …

  1. This case is ridiculous. Keough was an insurance agent who wrote the policies for the commission and to boost his sales figures; he would have to be stupid beyond belief to have thought he could have collected upon her death – he did not fully disclose Anna Chaneys medical history so the policies were always deliberately invalid.
    Unjust people know incompetent people cooked up this nonsense case; it is disgraceful.

  2. Hi Ken, Seeing this old case again caught me by surprise. There was no motive for Henry Keogh to murder Anna Cheney; the insurance policies were always obviously invalid. This should be made into a film.

  3. There is a good deal about this post by Ken to which one could respond:
    The defamation point is really interesting and perhaps I could write about that separately in view of the recent High Court decision refusing leave to appeal.
    “alleged inadequacies in Dr Manock’s autopsy and his evidence at Keogh’s trial”
    in a couple of articles to be published later this week, I will point out that Dr Manock has given sworn evidence before the Medical Board and Tribunal in which he stated that key components in his evidence at trial were wrong. I think therefore we can drop the “alleged”.
    “Unfortunately for them (and Keogh) the High Court twice rejected these arguments”
    The High Court refused leave to appeal – which meant that it didn’t hear the arguments. In fact, over 10 years no court has heard submissions going to the substance of the complaint about a miscarriage of justice.
    As to the SA Medical Board enquiry which found “There is no basis for criticising the opinion of Dr Manock as to the cause of death.”
    You should have a look at the internal documents from the Board where the specialist on the Board were extremely critical of the autopsy – and said
    “The autopsy was sub-standard. The information recorded was deficient in detail and substance. For example, the absence of organ weights and the minimal histological examination characterise an autopsy falling remarkably short of what might be considered a minimum data set appropriate for any autopsy, let alone a forensic autopsy. It is the absence of data that is the problem in this case because it renders the conclusions untestable.
    The conclusions drawn by Dr Manock, even if reasonable and even if correct went beyond the available evidence which did not appear to allow exclusion of alternative diagnoses and did not explore potential natural antecedents to drowning. The question of to what extent alternatives might have been explored could be argued but my point is that the information assembled and recorded does not allow subsequent reflection on alternatives.”
    http://netk.net.au/MedicalBoard/Coleman16mar.asp
    As Ken would know, under the principles set out by the High Court in Nudd v The Queen, M v The Queen and many other cases, that would be quite sufficient to have the conviction set aside.
    Its also worth bearing in mind that both forensic specialists at the trial for the prosecution accepted that they had failed to disclose the exculpatory result of a key forensic test – again, that alone would justify overturning the conviction. As would the non-disclosure by the Coroner of his Findings in the baby deaths inquiry.
    “Moles struck me as an intense, determined and possibly even obsessive-compulsive chap, an impression heightened by perusal of his voluminous website about the Keogh case.”
    I find this particularly interesting in the light of Ken’s recently avowed interest in critical examination of cognitive bias – something I’d like to assist him with especially in the forensic context. Ken published his comment in December 2010 – a person reading it might think that Moles is obsessed about the Keogh case – the book to which Ken refers (A state of Injustice – 2004) discussed a dozen cases of which Keogh was one. In 2006 I did publish a book devoted to the Keogh case. However, earlier in 2010 I also jointly published a book on law and miscarriages of justice in Australia, Britain and Canada (some 450 pages) in which the Keogh case was not discussed at all.
    http://netk.net.au/ForensicInvestigationsHome.asp
    As for the “voluminous website about the Keogh case” any fair minded person would have to say that the Keogh case occupies less than 1% of the web site.
    If we really want to encourage crical thinking about the legal system in Australia, we mustn’t demonstrate such cognitive bias whilst pretending not to have any,
    Bob

  4. John Robertson ,

    Did Anna Chaney have a “medical history” of things like seizures and/or irregular heart caused blackouts?

  5. No she didn’t – and although this was not checked at the time of the trial is has been checked since. However see this chapter http://netk.net.au/ltg/LTG13.asp
    heading “sudden adult death”.
    It is not entirely uncommon for the first occurrence of a condition to be fatal, in which case medical history is not predictive. At trial the jury was repeatedly told that the deceased was fit and healthy prior to her death, and so one could infer a murderous assault. The point made in the medical literature is that sudden adult death occurs more frequently amongst elite athletes.
    The error made by the medical tribunal was to accept that the pathologist had not properly examined the heart or brain, but to then go on and say that there was no reason to expect that there was anything wrong with the heart and brain, so the failure to examine them was not cause for concern. Obviously this involves a simple error of logic. The reason for examining something is possibly to find something which you might not otherwise know about.

  6. Thanks .

    Would an examination , by the methods available at the time, have revealed transient things like a seizure or a heart slowing down causing a loss of consciousness ?

    As I understand it many of the worst miscarriages of justice involve uncritically acepted pathology/science based evidence .

  7. “we mustn’t demonstrate such cognitive bias whilst pretending not to have any ..”

    I don’t pretend not to possess a range of cognitive biases. Everyone does, that’s the point. the best anyone can do is attempt to recognise them and interrogate our own reasoning processes as honestly as possible, and wherever possible avoid leaping to conclusions (even tentative ones) before examining the evidence, and so forth.

    In particular, in an area like this I certainly have some very strong biases, and not just cognitive ones. My wife’s mother was murdered some years ago in front of my then 7 year old daughter. The murderer’s lawyers tried to defend him inter alia on the basis of psychiatric evidence which fortunately was comprehensively discredited. The case was very different from Keogh, but similar at least to the extent of my reaction that Keogh’s defence IMO is just as lacking in merit as the defence of Rene’s killer.

    Clearly my subjective reaction is heavily informed by my own experiences and prejudices/biases. Regular readers of Troppo are aware of these biases because I’ve written about the situation several times over the years and mention it when it’s relevant to a current issue (as it is here at least tangentially). Being aware of my own biases I deliberately chose as a practitioner (before becoming an academic) not to involve myself in criminal matters. Nevertheless, while acknowledging my own bias/lack of objectivity, I must say I find the arguments against Keogh’s conviction to be singularly unconvincing.

  8. Ken, I think that’s a very fair response. I’m very sorry to learn of your terrible experience.
    My only criticism would be the last sentence. In what way would it be unconvincing? Bearing in mind that legally speaking the appeal court is only concerned with whether the accused got a fair trial – not whether he is innocent or guilty. In our law, that can only be determined by a jury. In fact, for a legal practitioner to express a view on guilty / innocent could amount to unprofessional conduct.
    The law states that where evidence given at trial is subsequently proved to lack probative value – the court must act and set aside the conviction – M v The Queen. The point is that the chief crown witness has stated on oath in the medical board proceedings that the evidence he gave on six crucial points was wrong (that at least means – lacked probative value).
    It seems to me that the law is clear – the facts are beyond dispute – this is one of the few instances where syllogistic reasoning could lead one to a compellable conclusion. Of course there could then be a retrial of the issue using correct evidence.

  9. Hi Bob

    I don’t have time to re-acquaint myself with the case to the extent that I was when I wrote this post, and even if I did your grasp of it would still no doubt be much greater than mine. Suffice to say that my impression was that, a little like the Bradley Murdoch one in the NT a few years ago, the case against Keogh is compelling even if one discounts Manock’s evidence that the mark on the deceased’s inner ankle was a thumbprint. The reelvant provision in the NT Criminal Code is s 411(2):

    “411. Determination of appeal in ordinary cases
    (1) The Court on any such appeal against a finding of guilt shall allow the appeal if it is of the opinion that the verdict of the jury should be set aside on the ground that it is unreasonable or cannot be supported having regard to the evidence or that the judgment of the court of trial should be set aside on the ground of the wrong decision on any question of law or that on any ground there was a miscarriage of justice and in any other case shall dismiss the appeal.
    (2) The Court may, notwithstanding that it is of the opinion that the point or points raised by the appeal might be decided in favour of the appellant, dismiss the appeal if it considers that no substantial miscarriage of justice has actually occurred.”

    It is both relevant and proper for an appellate court (or a commentator whether or not he is a lawyer) to make observations as to how compelling the evidence as a whole appears for the purpose of considering whether there has been a substantial miscarriage of justice in admitting a particular piece of evidence. The evidence in the Murdoch case that was wrongly admitted (or at least admitted in part for a wrong purpose) was evidence of facial mapping technology which identified Murdoch at a truck stop in Alice Springs. Thus it was rather more peripheral to Murdoch’s guilt or innocence than whether or not the mark on Ms Cheney’s inner ankle was a thumbprint bruise. Nevertheless, Manock’s evidence that it WAS a thumbprint would still be admissible (I think) , it would just have had to be more heavily qualified as to whether that particular mark was a bruise. Taken together with all the other evidence it seems to me that the case against Keogh remains compelling.

    Unfortunately I’m about to fly out on CDU business and won’t be able to participate further in this discussion over the next 10 days or so. You may well be able to negate or throw doubt on some of the above propositions. Feel free to do so. My cognitive and general biases almost certainly mean I won’t be convinced, but others may be. unlike Ms Cheney’s extended family, I would even be relatively unperturbed if you succeed one day in getting Keogh released, although I’d never use him as an insurance agent and I’d be very careful to take a shower rather than a bath if I knew he was in the vicinity (although Hitchcock’s Psycho would make that a nerve-racking prospect too).

  10. Am no lawyer .And The trial dos sound a bit iffy .

    But in principle.
    There are a virtually infinite number of natural but unlikely causes of sudden death, how many hypothesis should you test for?
    In the case of Lindy Chamberlain , there was no checking as to things other than fetal hemoglobin ( ie car rust proofing) that could produce the same reagent positive result. But in that case the prosecutions version of what had happened in the car was in itself bizarrely implausible. The science should have been sceptically checked , without it the case had little legs; no motive, no body, so on .

    In the Anna Cheny case, the woman drowned i.e she was breathing when she went under the water. She could have become suddenly unconscious because of some unknown(possibly undetectable) medical condition and thus drowned or some force held her under water until she was dead.
    She had bruising on her ankles -not very consistent with her just nodding off in the bath. The science fits a very plausible version of what happened.

  11. Actually John, this is not correct. There is no convincing evidence that she drowned. In fact the autopsy report states that the airway of the deceased was “packed with gastric contents”. If you think that through, that means that she could not have drowned. If there had been water in the airway at the time the gastric contents were expelled, they would have mixed with water and could not then have ‘packed’ the airway.
    There is no evidence that she was breathing when she went ‘under the water’. The pathologist at trial said that he could prove that she was breathing before being submerged, but then at the Medical Tribunal he stated that in this respect he was in error. The principle he thought was a principle did not exist.
    Drowning is accepted in the literature to be a diagnosis of exclusion – there are no signs with are ‘pathognomic’ of drowning. Therefore one has at least to examine the heart and brain the exclude stroke or heart attack. This was not done.
    It is alleged that there were bruises to the leg. In fact, the tissue slide from one of the two tested showed no signs of it being a bruise. That’s a 50% failure rate. That finding was not disclosed at the time of the trial. Other possible explanations for bruising to the leg was that the deceased was picked up and carried out of the house before being placed on a stretcher. If they were bruises they could have been caused post-mortem – artifactual. Indeed, the independent pathologist stated that in his opinion, the ‘signs of bruising’ most likely occurred during the post mortem – leakage of blood whilst taking the sample. See his affadavit at http://netk.net.au/Reports/Affidavits_List.asp (Dr Tony Thomas)
    The whole point of our critique is that none of the pathology evidence actually accords with the standards for ‘expert opinion’ in a criminal trial. The biggest concern is that the person giving the expert opinion was never properly trained or qualified and therefore was not ‘an expert’. As was said of his evidence in the R v Perry case – it was an appalling departure from acceptable standards, and was not fit to be taken into consideration. http://netk.net.au/soi/SOI9.asp – on R v Perry
    Of that particular expert the coroner had concluded in the baby death findings this his autopsy reports achieved the opposite of their intended purpose – they closed off inquries instead of opening them up – that he said he saw things which could not have been seen, because they were subsequently found not to exist (as we say of the grip-mark in the Keogh case).
    http://netk.net.au/soi/SOI12.asp – on the baby deaths
    As mentioned the nondisclosure of the baby deaths report on its own justifies the overturning of the Keogh verdict.
    Incidentally, the pattern of marks he alleges do not fit a right hand from below the leg – nor a left hand from above which are the only 2 scenarios put forward by that pathologist. His revised view was that the bruises to the leg were caused by a left hand – but he’d told the jury that the left hand was holding the head under the water.
    This is explained here: http://netk.net.au/ltg/LTG14.asp
    The basic principle is that the key witness had admitted that his evidence at trial was wrong, and so invalidates the trial.

  12. As to Ken’s point in evaluating the whole of the evidence with regard to their being a miscarriage of justice. “(2) The Court may, notwithstanding that it is of the opinion that the point or points raised by the appeal might be decided in favour of the appellant, dismiss the appeal if it considers that no substantial miscarriage of justice has actually occurred.” That provision is called ‘the proviso’ and the cases make it clear that it does not apply if there has been a signficant non-disclosure – as for example the failure to disclose the Baby Death findings. The reason for this is that you must have a trial by jury, not a trial wih the judge of the court of appeal acting as jury. So, the appeal judges cannot determine what the jury would have made of the non-disclosed evidence.
    The other point is that where there has been significant error at trial the proviso does not apply – by definition, it only applies to insignificant error.
    In some of the cases, the courts have said that a conviction must be set aside, even where there is overwhelming evidence of guilt. Because the principle is that guilty as well as innocent people are entitled to a fair trial.
    In my study of cases in Australia, Britain and Canada, I have never come across another case where there have been so many errors in the evidence admitted at trial as there have been in the Keogh case.

  13. Bob
    Thank you, But do you mean that the ‘actual’ cause of death was not established?

    Was she tested for likely drug residues in blood or stomach , for instance?

  14. John, at trial the cause of death was said to have been drowning – and the manner of death forcible drowning. Throughout most of the proceedings, this finding has been taken to be conclusive. But just because an error is repeated often does not make it truthful.
    Routine toxicology was done, and was said to have ruled out many of the more common drugs. Her blood alcohol was accepted to be in the range of 0.1 which is not entirely consistent with the narrative of just a couple of glasses of wine several hours before.
    Whilst the body was at the scene, one specialist says that compression must have been applied to the face to reduce swelling, and makeup was applied. Extraordinary!
    It is my opinion and that of many forensic specialists that the most that can be said is that the cause of death was not properly established and cannot now be established. It is extraordinary that the body was cremated within 10 days. At the time the law only allowed for a burial in these circumstances – unresolved criminal allegations. There are no colour photos at autopsy – indeed, not a single photo to identify the body at autopsy. Only black and white photos said to be of bruising. A forensic photographer says they are of no probative value at all. Without proper forensic testing of other organs, there are many possible and reasonable causes of death which simply were not investigated. The affidavits from the various specialists can be seen here:
    http://netk.net.au/Reports/Affidavits_List.asp
    I’d be happy to send you a copy of the book (with my compliments) if you’d like to read more about it – just email your address to “[email protected]

  15. It dose sound iffy.
    Will send you an email.
    Was there significant water in the lungs?

    0.1 blood alcohol ; was she a small woman? if so she could have been fairly pissed, and a if bath was pretty hot falling asleep is real possibility ( it happens fairly often in japan.)

    “makeup was applied”… you mean post her death?

  16. there was said to have been fluid in the lungs which the pathologist took to be bath water. However, with the blockage to the airway the question arises how it could have got from the bath to the lungs (not answered or even queried).

    I a sudden cardiac, drug related or asphixial death one would expect to find fluid in the lungs. The fluid is essentially protein based plasma which has come out of the blood. However if testing was done on the fluid, and soap or bath salts or diatoms from the bath water were to be found it it, that could provide a link to the bath as the source. In this case, the water was released from the bath by the girl’s father without any samples being retained. The fluid in the lungs was not tested for these things so the assertion that it was bath water was without any scientific basis. She was an average size woman.
    Some articles here on sudden death: http://netk.net.au/MedicalHome.asp
    And this article: http://netk.net.au/Articles/Ryan.asp
    Yes, the make-up was applied as she lay naked and dead on the floor of her bedroom.
    I have your address, so I’ll post the book with a couple of DVDs containing a number of programs which will explain these issues in further detail. I think you’ll find them interesting,

  17. It seems that a lot of the experts ,that you report, in particular doubted that the important question; whether the immediate cause of death was by inhaling water- had been rigorously examined. A narrative of Murder by drowning dose need drowning as a starting condition.

    A few years ago I had a sudden totally unexpected severe allergic shock reaction (to a tick bite). I was with my wife who (luckily) had strong antihistamines with her , none the less it was a very sudden and very scary experience.

    The description given below of Ms Chaney face- swelling of face and lips- is very easy for me to vividly imagine.

    From your (summary) of Affidavit of Associate Professor Tony Thomas:

    Drug screening incomplete

    The documentary evidence of the drug screens which were said to have been undertaken in this case were insufficient to exclude a drug-related cause of death. A full toxicological analysis of the blood should have been undertaken. It is not clear if the screening which was undertaken was able to exclude drugs which were on the premises. Certain tablets were found in the bedroom/study. The following entry appeared in one statement:
    >From Detective Man I received the following items.
    1. 10.09 pm. A plastic bottle with printed label [drug named] located on top of bookshelf in bedroom/study.

    That drug is a non-steroid anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). Such drugs used to relieve pain, reduce inflammation, swelling, redness and soreness, which may occur in different types of arthritis, including rheumatoid arthritis or osteo-arthritis, and ankylosing spondylitis in muscle and bone injuries such as strains, sprains, lower back pain rheumatism and tendonitis, and in menstrual cramps. The medicine is available only with a doctor’s prescription and not to be taken if there is any allergy to it, or any of the ingredients listed, or if one has taken aspirin or any other NSAID medicine. The manufacturer states:

    “Allergic reaction
    Symptoms of an allergic reaction may include asthma, wheezing or shortness of breath, swelling of the face, lips or tongue, which may cause difficulty in swallowing or breathing, hives, itching or skin rash or fainting. Symptoms which may occur include drowsiness, stomach upset, vomiting, nausea, dizziness or light-headedness.”

    Where there is a specific warning that a known side effect is an allergic reaction, which could produce drowsiness, dizziness, or light-headedness, then it would have been essential, in the circumstances, to undertake appropriate tests to determine if the deceased had this drug in her system. There was no report that this was done. In that case, one can only conclude that it was not done.

    The colour photographs taken by the police at the scene provide clear evidence that the deceased had swelling of the face and lips. The manufacturer of the drug stated that it can cause ‘shortness of breath’, ‘difficulty in swallowing or breathing’ and ‘fainting’. The issue of fainting was canvassed extensively at the trial. This issue should have been properly examined and excluded. It was not.

  18. Bob

    Is there a plan of the bathroom? Was it a bath with the taps in the middle ? -Very few people relax in a bath with their head at the tap end- Could a person easily stand at the end of the bath were her feet were?

    Who was the person who applied the make up?
    Who found the body /reported the event?

    One other question- I understand that CPR was attempted? , if so who by? Were their the sorts of bruising and sternum damage that CPR often causes?

  19. Anaphylactic reactions can happen very suddenly , are a significant cause of death and they can involve violent reactions to innocuous proteins that had previously caused no problems and/or proteins that you have not previously encountered.

  20. Yes, the bath was one with the taps on the wall half way along the bath. It was said that for some reason the deceased was sitting at the plug end of the bath. I think most people would accept that as being highly unlikely, as it would be very uncomfortable.
    The more likely explanation is that she collapsed as she was getting in or out of the bath and that is just how she ended up.
    If in fact there had been some ‘murderous assault’ whilst she was in the bath, it is highly likely that injuries would have been caused by coming into contact with the taps.
    The make-up was applied by the mother of the deceased.
    Henry Keogh said he found her collapsed in the bath and rang the police and ambulance.
    One ambulance officer said that Keogh’s story was suspicious because of the water in the airway.
    The other ambulance officer said that Keogh’s story was suspicious because of the absence of water in the airway.
    Re anaphylaxis, there is a mark on the leg of the deceased apparent on a photograph at the sccene consistent with a bee sting or injection mark. It was not noted at the time nor examined.
    Keogh said he attempted CPR but could not get a clear airway. The ambulance officers said the same. Damage to the chest area was not reported. The autopsy report can be seen here:
    http://netk.net.au/Keogh/Keogh22.asp
    Although it says blood alcohol at 0.8% in trial evidence they said that because of the dilution effect from the water, the ante-mortem level could have been as high as 0.1%.

  21. Were both ends of the bath accessible or did she need to have been at the plug end to allow easy access to her feet/ankles/shins?

  22. Sounds like the investigations thinking about the range of possible motive(s) for taking out life insurance , on a alive and well wife, was recursively colored by her subsequent sudden death. The investigations starting condition was actually an assumption about motive that there was one – that linked the policies and her death in a causative way- and this introduced a unconscious selection bias toward narratives (of her death ) that showed signs of motive and resulted in a lack of enough attention being given to testing narratives of a misadventure/purposeless kind.
    Feel that without the assumption of motive the events in that bathroom become more opaque; there are explanations that look more plausible- more in line with the picture that I see- than murder by drowning.

    Is rorting of commissions a known in the insurance biz?

  23. Its called ‘tombstoning’ – because the commissions on the setting up of the life policies are sufficient to cover the cost of premiums for the first 2-3 years, the agent can take out a policy and then cancel after that time without cost to himself. So, where’s the benefit? This is to be found in the ‘new business’ figures which in some cases might secure a promotion because they are artificially inflated, and which is Keogh’s case, he hoped would be sufficient to keep his agencies open.
    I’m very interested in the ways in which thought processes develop in investigations, especially where they can be seen to have gone wrong, and particularly when those with responsibilities to question them fail to do so.

  24. “artificially inflated, and which is Keogh’s case” can be independently verified ?

    Take it that he did not have large gambling type debts?

    Have you ever read much of S J Gould on unconscious ‘paradigm’ related investigative bias ?

    The chamberlain case is interesting example – because the idea that a dingo could have really done it was assumed by the investigators to be intrinsicaly impossible, it created a situation where a otherwise implausible prosecution narrative was ‘over tested’ for.
    In a cooler light the prosecution narrative was pretty implausible- While on holiday with her apparently quite normal family, mother kills baby in the car, husband(and the two other children ?) help dispose of body , concoct an implausible ‘ cover story’, proceed to public camping area , behave perfectly normally for hours and then announce that they had spotted a dingo and that the baby was missing.

    The starting condition- ruling out of the possibility that they were telling the truth- made it possible for otherwise quite intelligent people to believe a very absurd story.

  25. Bob

    ‘Anna using a bath was a rare event’ ‘ — has there been any disputing of this proposition, by people who knew her well?

  26. If its true that, she was rarely (if ever) in a bathtub, then the Murder story is a ‘just so’ story,
    ; utterly unbelievable.

  27. Mr Parish
    According to a long term friend and former flatmate “in twelve years I have never known her[Anna] to have a liking for baths” Anna’s house cleaner also stated that the bath in that house had never (previously) been used.

    So a woman who had little liking for baths, comes home after a hard days work (her job involved bringing actions against other Lawyers) and decides to do something she normally had little liking for; Why?- Because it is necessary for the ‘ plotted’ murder story??? Or because Keogh somehow talked her into a bath? – her job suggests that she had Character – that story is not likely either.

    Could it be that Anna did something unusual (on the evening she died) because she herself, on the evening she died, was feeling ‘unusual’, ‘not quite her self’, ‘a bit odd’, she suddenly felt slightly unwell and thought ‘maybe a bath might help’ ?

    The bruise marks are equally consistent with clumsy dragging out of bath and clumsy CPR.
    The insurance policy’s are also equally consistent with a bit of artificially boosting your standing as an agent.

    I ask you, who would think of a plot involving, drowning in a bathtub, somebody who was rarely if ever to be found, in a bath tub?

  28. I’m not sure that it was specifically disputed. I think the response must be that it was irrelevant. The claim after all was not that she ‘never’ took baths. There was evidence from a house cleaner that because the bath was not used frequently, it might have well been very slippery because he polished it every week. The infrequency of baths cannot possibly distinguish between accident or homicide, and therefore should have been regarded as inadmissible because it was ‘non probative’. It did not tend to prove any of the facts in issue.
    Did the book arrive ok?

  29. Bob yes got it ,thank you.

    The Quote from her long term friend and former flatmate “in twelve years I have never known her[Anna] to have a liking for baths” is from your book, do you have context to it?

    “she ‘never’ took baths” is not needed, it just needs to be that on the ‘odd’ occasion she took a bath ; its the combination of – long term intention , a particular method needing a particular situation AND the need for unusual (unpredictable) behavior by the victim that makes the idea of a ‘plotted in advance’ event, a bit implausible .

    The prosecution narrative is not of a unplanned act of violence , hence if bath was odd behavior by the victim, homicide becomes a fairly implausible story.

  30. Bob
    Don’t know about Henry, he does come across as pretty slippery.
    However because he was an ‘obvious’ cause of her ‘odd/unexpected’ death in a bathtub, he also sort of blocked the view ; the examination for causes ,of her unexpected death, that were ‘internal’ to Anna was very cursory.

    Feel that they did not look past Henry at all. It reminds me of the post about Chess problems.

  31. Sorry should have read -
    hence if bath was odd behavior by the victim, homicide in a bath becomes a fairly odd story.

  32. Bob

    A man who could misdiagnose a very battered baby with a fractured spine as :a death caused broncho-pneumonia! (3 times!!)

    If the crown summing up had stated that the reason why causes of death, internal to Ms Cheney, were excluded was because they had not been properly examined what do you think the verdict would have been?

  33. I would like to make two points:

    1. If the same level of medical competency was applied to practicing medicine to save the lives of the AG would he be quite as tolerant of the errors – oh whoops sorry I made another mistake – oh well another live lost!!

    Look at the actual words coming out of Mattocks own mouth

    when asked about the fact that there was no compelling medical evidence of
    murder (see channel 9 interview) Maddock said ahh but there was circumstantial
    evidence

    By it’s very definition – medical tests are medical tests are medical tests

    Medical test results are not influenced by insurance policies or girlfriends

    To use the AG’s own family – if his family member has a blood test – the results are the results – they are not influenced by “Circumstances” – they are simply medical fact

  34. Mattock misses the point

    It is his job to present pure medical facts

    It is the Police Officers job to worry about circumstatial evidence

    Mattock further misses the point that when you go to court you must

    “Tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth”

    He failed on both counts

    As Retired Justice Kirby said on the ABC background briefing it is a concern when experts go beyond their level of expertise

    What medical tests did Mattock run that led him to his “Circumstantial Evidence” findings

    Mattock you can only run medical test and report them in full and that is it….

  35. My second point is that we need an independent review process as proposed by Ann Bressington

    However I would like to suggest that we could save a lot of time, money, lives, and labourious correction of poor procedure if we applied the review as a test in the first place

    Any medical articles before they can be published in a reputable medical journal are reviewed by a suitable tean of experts

    I would like to see any expert advice also be tested before it can be tossed at the public members of the jury, willy nilly

    There are accepted standards already inplace in the various areas of expertise – I would like tosee then applied beforehand – to test if the “Expert Advice” meets acceptable minimal standards

    It is no different to testing if the speed detecting equipment is working before you are allowed to be charged with speeding

    All so obvious when you think about it

    There should be more thinking about it

  36. In Closing

    The need for minimal standards to be met

    and

    The need to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth

    is based on a very fundamental aspect of all medical professional training

    Students are taught to use The Surgical Sieve

    This means that for every diagnosis they run through all the bodily systems

    This is done everytime and applies to helping sick people just the same as carrying out a post mortem

    It is a basic fundamental principal to run through all the bodily systems

    Hence there was quite obviously a case of professional incompetence

    To such an incredible level I am surprised he passed any medical exams, was offered a job and managed not to get himself sacked

  37. Some interesting and thoughtful comments there Aggie:
    we have been promoting proposals in Australia and with UK authorities that there be a pre-trial hearing to establish the soundness of expert evidence proposed to be admitted at trial. There have been so many convictions overturned in the UK because of incorrect or unsubstantiated expert opinions, that the trial judges need to do more to ensure that expert opinions going to the jury really have some basis to them.
    Of course, it is entirely inappropriate for an expert witness to be influenced by matters external to their sphere of expertise.
    It is also inappropriate for an expert witness to express a personal opinion about the guilt of otherwise of an accused person.
    R v Boucher is the Canadian case in point and which has been cited with approval in UK and Australia.

  38. Actually there was a speed camera in Melbourne that clocked a very clapped out 120Y doing 180Ks , it did result in a lot of convictions being overturned.

    Suspect that is what the authorities in SA are worried about.

  39. Thanks Bob
    I suspect there will also be more lawyers with further degrees in their area of specialty – eg engineer/lawyer, dental/lawyer – certainly doing double degrees seems to be the norm
    How will all this help Henry though – what to do, what to do ….

  40. I’ve just added a new doc to the Keogh Homepage –
    http://netk.net.au/KeoghHome.asp
    Statement of Claim in the matter of Estate of Anna Cheney v Life Insurance Companies.
    This makes it clear that Anna Cheney knew that Keogh had arranged some life insurances on her life – and that he had done so in good faith and that she had explicitly relied upon the fact that he had done so. It obviously follows that she knew that he had signed her name to the applications, because she had not done so.
    This rather undermines the claims made at his trial that she was ignorant of the insurances, and being a lawyer would never have allowed him to sign documents on her behalf.
    I understand that the insurance companies paid a significant sum of money to the Cheney estate.

  41. The last comment by Moles demonstrates the inadequacy of all the arguments that the supporters of keogh peddle.

    To say, “…It obviously follows that she knew that he had signed her name to the applications, because she had not done so…” is ridiculous.

    Given that Keogh was the agent with access to all the required forms I would suggest that Anna-jane signed the forms for the amount of insurance that she thought she had and subsequently Keogh filled out and forged her signature on new applications without her knowledge, which he then presented to the insurance companies.

    There goes the argument put up by Moles and co.

  42. My understanding was that all of the five forms were signed by the same person. At trial, it was said that that person was Keogh. If that was not correct as Mark claims, then that amounts to a further error at trial.
    A series of articles have been published on this and related issues by Lexis Nexis – they can be accessed at the Networked Knoweledge homepage: http://netk.net.au
    As for the point “the inadequacy of all the arguments that the supporters of keogh peddle” it is illogical. Even if there were an error on one point, that would not prove the inadequacy of other points.
    It should be appreciated that Mark is the brother of Anna Cheney, and this might account for the somewhat disrepectful tone of the comment.

  43. Dear Mr Walker

    I do not usually engage in ‘forum’ over this matter.
    But I do my best, to keep abreast of what is ‘published’.

    I note, Dr Moles has been kind enough to furnish you with a copy of his first book, “State of Injustice”, which included some detail over the death of Anna Jane Cheney.

    There is a reference in the book to me.
    It is pleasing to see, after 14 years since my concerns were first raised over the death of Anna Jane Cheney. That discussion, such as is occurring here, with sensible objective minds is continuing.

    I have particularly chosen to speak to you, as your previous experience of an ‘allergic’ reaction, appears to have brought you to understanding of the urgency of such an event, something that was not considered in the remotest way, by the pathologist involved in the autopsy, nor as it stands in the case of Henry Keogh, in the Court.

    You may care to look at some video placed on ‘youtube’, as, 23investigator Anna Jane Ross Cheney.

    Whilst the objective of the video presentations, is intended to show ‘broader considerations’, surrounding the tragic death. They may also serve to demonstrate the degree of swelling of the face, neck and ear that was present, when photographs were first taken at the scene of death, to then be depleted by the time the last photograph was taken showing the face.

    Robert Sheehan

      • Dear Mr Walker.
        The ‘seven’ Video series, have been removed by YouTube, who advised at the time 9 April 2012, after having exhibited all seven since June 2011,
        “that a family member of the victim submitted a complaint regarding your content. Out of respect for the victim and the family, we have removed the content in question”.
        To date, a request made to YouTube, to explain what content they consider “inappropriate” as it has been labelled has not been answered.

        Robert Shehan

  44. Dear Mark

    Should Dr Moles be correct, that (you) are in fact the brother of Anna Jane Cheney, may I say how tragically sad the death of (your) sister is.

    Assuming so.
    But if not, the context of the following, is to help address possible misconceptions contained, or brought about, by the previous post of “Mark”. .

    In respect to (your) opinion raised that Anna Jane Cheney, signed applications for portion of the insurance taken on her life in 1993, the reports by three document investigators ‘argues’ otherwise.
    All three reports state, that none of the applications for insurance they were provided for ‘examination’, bore the signature of Anna Jane Cheney.
    Which, whilst not an expert in these matters, from observation of the documents involved, this seems to be the case.

    In that {you) have said, that Anna Jane Cheney advised (you), prior to her death, that she had cover on her life for a figure of $400,000.
    As Dr Moles has stated, it would appear that she had to be aware, that the necessary application forms were filled in by another person than herself.

    Whilst, this does not explain, for the remaining applications taken out in 1993,
    whether Anna Jane Cheney was aware of them.
    There is certainly, a considerable amount of other documentation pertaining to Anna Jane Cheney through the year 1993, and early 1994, which suggests she was aware of insurance on her life, above the $400,000, that (you) appear to have been made aware of.

    Having spent an immense amount of time researching these considerations, it has brought me to the point of raising them with (you), with a hope that (you) may come to realise the opinion (you) have expressed is not supported by ‘proper’ consideration of documents, and that (you) may be able to come to some peace over this.

    Robert Sheehan

  45. I am leaving this comment having stumbled across this case by accident but nevertheless find it endlessly fascinating. I would just like to correct a not insignificant point raised about Anna Cheney’s knowledge of how much life insurance had been arranged on her ” behalf.” Bob Moles suggested the followsing and I quote “Statement of Claim in the matter of Estate of Anna Cheney v Life Insurance Companies.
    This makes it clear that Anna Cheney knew that Keogh had arranged some life insurances on her life – and that he had done so in good faith and that she had explicitly relied upon the fact that he had done so. It obviously follows that she knew that he had signed her name to the applications, because she had not done so.This rather undermines the claims made at his trial that she was ignorant of the insurances, and being a lawyer would never have allowed him to sign documents on her behalf.”

    In fact it doesn’t make that clear at all. What it makes clear is that Anna Cheney knew that life insurance had been arranged on her behalf for $400,000 but she clearly had no idea the real amount was $1.2 million. In other words she did NOT know she had been insured for another $800,000. In my view that is a significant point.

    • Dear Damien

      It is very ‘dangerous’, to come to such a conclusion, without the benefit of all the documents that were provided the Court, regarding Anna Jane Cheney’s loan applications in the period 1993-4 to consider.

      The prosecutor Rofe QC, was the one responsible for the provision and formulation of the documents, some, and ‘significantly’ very important ones, not until the second trial of Keogh was in progress.

      Careful consideration of one set, which was used to argue, that Anna Jane Cheney was not aware of all the insurance, therefore not including it in her loan applications, come under serious concern, in the ‘form’ they were presented.
      Sufficient to say at this point, the Bank Manager who was asked to give credibility too them, stated in his evidence, ‘he had never seen them before’, Rofe QC responding immediately, ‘I am not suggesting you have’.
      David QC, who did not have the documents available prior to the second trial, obviously had his concern over them, showing annoyance, by referring to them by, the exercise that the prosecutor asked you to do in relation to adding up and dividing it to get $36 from this hand writtten thing here it just can’t apply to your case can it.

      Damien when you get your head around all this, you may then be, in a better position to pass a judgement.

      Who knows, there may be the assistance of the material going before an ICAC or a CCRC for proper forensic assessment, to assist you, along with many other people, to come to a better understanding, of misrepresentation, put before the Court, in the trial of Keogh.

      Robert Sheehan

  46. Damien, thanks for the comment, but we must check carefully to see what you are disagreeing with. I merely said that Anna knew that Keogh had arranged “some” insurances on her life – and you agree that is correct. In order to determine whether or not she knew about the amount of the insurances you have to go to the loan forms which she completed. When applying for a bank loan she was asked how much per week she spent on life insurances. She put down the amount of $36 per week. Which is the correct amount to cover the cost of the $1.2m of life insurances which she had. This transcript provides the further details: http://netk.net.au/Keogh/Keogh60.asp

    • ” There is documented evidence that Anna in fact knew about all five policies. Their weekly premiums totalled $36.00. The exact amount Anna put down as her weekly “life insurance” expenses in two separate bank loan applications she made in Nov 1993 and March 1994.”

      Bob, thanks for the reply. This really is an intriguing case. Is there any chance of you uploading the documented evidence you mentioned? Would love to read it. Of course what you are saying is that Anna had full knowledge and was complicit in her partner’s intentions with regard to insurance policies real or otherwise.Also interested to know why the Court of Appeal in SA and the High Court either dismissed the appeal or refused to hear it? With my scant knowledge of this case it occurs to me that there appears to be a clear and present miscarriage of justice as Keogh supporters maintain and certainly the forensic “evidence” which the conviction was built around suggests there is a reasonable doubt then surely if follows the conviction is unsafe so why has there been no action on the part of the judiciary? Do they believe the conviction was safe? It doesn’t make sense. I would be interested to read the reasons published by the Court of Appeal and the High Court for refusing to give leave.

      • Call me cynical but from my reading of the evidence, this dubious conviction rests upon forensic examinations that should have been done but were not done by a pathologist who did a lot of criminal cases …….

  47. I am very concerned whenever I hear any comments about Anna’s family and friends in relation to ensuring justice for Henry.
    It can be no help to them to have Henry treated unjustly.
    For real justice we need Anna and Henry’s family and friends to find what real peace they can.
    Unjustly leaving Henry in jail now will not give Anna’s family and friends any more peace.
    What is happening now.
    What can we all as a community, do now
    What can we do to ensure a Just society.
    One day it could be your son, your husband, your friend – what can we all do now

  48. Dear Damien,
    this is the link to the Keogh Homepage: http://netk.net.au/KeoghHome.asp which has some of the legal cases on it – other legal cases arising from Medical Board proceedings are here: http://netk.net.au/Reports/KeoghIndex.asp#MedicalBoard
    Some of the forensic docs are here: http://netk.net.au/Keogh/Keogh22.asp
    If you go here you will see links to some of the online progs – with Discs 1-3 I can send you copies of the DVDs if you would like me to. You will see disc 3 prog 8 is about the insces and that will show you the docs involved. You can email me on “[email protected]” with your address for sending discs to. I also have copies of the keogh book still available.
    In ten years of seeking legal redress, not one court has looked to the merits of Keogh’s appeal or petition application. In his first appeal, his barrister didn’t mention the non-disclosure of the baby deaths report – as to the significance of this see the article here: http://netk.net.au/CrimJustice/DirectLink1.pdf

    • Dear Bob,

      Thanks for the reply. I have read the High Court transcript and their reasons for refusing leave to appeal and I quite frankly wonder if Mr Keogh’s predicament has a lot to do with the quality of the legal advice and representation he was receiving or should I say the lack there of.

      It seems to me that the grounds that were argued before the High Court to try and persuade the jduges to grant leave was fatally flawed from the start. The argument clearly had no hope of getting across the line and the High Court judges did not wait anytime before kicking it to touch. And of course you have mentioned the behaviour of his barrister at the first appeal failing to mention the non disclosure of the baby deaths report.

      Incredibly that man is now a District Court judge. I have read the reports of Professor Stephen Cordner, Byron Collins and Associate Professor Thomas who all professionally rubbish the findings of the pathologist who did the Cheney autopsy and the Ross review as pure fiction. The fact that so many established protocols were not followed is extraordinary.

      There are substantive issues here that go to the very heart of our justice system. Surely there must be another avenue to have this tested and deliberated upon by the highest court in the land?

  49. Dear Aggie, I agree, I don’t understand how any members of Anna’s family would want to resist a review of the case if it came to the wrong conclusion. We say there is no evidence that Anna was murdered – an accident / natural causes death has been misinterpreted as a homicide – as happened in the Nichols case in the UK – in that case the deceased had vomited and inhaled her own vomit as obviously happened in Anna’s case if you look at the autopsy report, available here: http://netk.net.au/Keogh/Keogh22.asp
    The pathologist in the case has given sworn evidence that at least 5 of the basic principles he relied on at trial were not correct. That means that in law the conviction must be set aside. As you can see from my evidence to the parliament, there cannot be any sensible reason for an Attorney-General not to refer the matter back to the courts – http://netk.net.au/CCRC/LRCEvidence.pdf
    As you say we are all threatened by this failure of the justice system and as many people as possible should have meetings, and write to the AG to say that something must be done.

  50. You are right, Ken. Just because the pathologist may have made mistakes in other cases (out of a total of 10,000 – there will be errors) and even in the Keogh case – the potential error doesn’t warrant a new trial for a number of reasons you have already covered:
    1. Most importantly, Keogh was not a credible witness! Even without the bruises being attributed to finger marks, this is a very strong circumstantial case – a healthy young woman dies in a bathtub and the last person to see her was Keogh, his lies to Anna, her parents, police, her forged signature, her parents distrust of him, his financial gain if she dies.
    2. Through his behaviour, he has demonstrated that lying comes as naturally to him as breathing. A charming con-man. Lying doesn’t make you a murderer but it certainly doesn’t help Mr Keogh’s case.
    3. It appears that Anna did not know about the other 3 life policies – that paying $36 per month does not mean she was aware of them.
    4. From my understanding of the law – and I could be wrong here – the ‘allergic reaction’ proposition is not new evidence and so a new trial will not be granted.
    5. His 000 call to police would be deemed deceptive by statement analysis (statement analysis.com).
    The most important point to address Bob Moles saying Keogh would have been stupid to put himself as the beneficiary on the life insurance policies and then kill Anna is this: criminals are often stupid – that is why they get caught. If you lie a lot, as Keogh did, you can get complacent – after all – he hasn’t been caught yet.
    Bob Moles is a great believer in Keogh and no doubt an interesting fellow with a fierce intellect. Looking at all the facts – not just one pathologists potential ‘error’ (that is supported by other pathologists) – I’d convict him and sleep well knowing he hadn’t got away with one more lie.

  51. Apart from Ken and Emma’s concerns, a careful review of the case only has me wondering two things
    What is the hold up with the new appeal
    What is the hold up with finding him innocent and having him rightly released
    Every day spent inside is another day with this injustice going on!!

  52. Looking at various opinions posted here I thought it might be worth mentioning that both Manock and James stated to the Medical Board hearing that when they looked at a microscopic slide taken from the “bruise”, they saw there was actually no bruise.
    It is a little more than just a “a little mistake” to present something in court, that plays a crucial part in the findings of that court, that you know to be completely unsupported by any scientific findings.
    Our legal system is based on the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth
    Just the facts gentlemen, the facts, ALL the facts, and nothing but the facts
    It’s not that hard
    No amount of slinging mud at Henry’s character changes the fact that an injustice has been committed and should be rectified

    • Dear Aggie

      I can sense your frustration: which is quite understandable if you are keeping an open mind to this matter.
      Having travelled to whole journey of the efforts to obtain Henry Keogh a fair hearing; even the most ‘stoic’ are being tested.
      From the day I first set the ‘ball in motion’ in 1998 by asking the police for access to the photograph negatives and prints from same: there has been a determined obstruction by the authorities.
      This is the first time the Court has been able to be involved directly in the Keogh matter since the decisions of the previous appeals.
      Let’s give them a go.

      There is no doubt that those who do not want the truth to come out are fighting determinedly: but they really have no idea what is just around the corner from them.

      Courts: as law stands in our country: are there as the ‘bastions of fairness’: lets give them a go.

      peace be with you

      Robert

      • DEAR AGGIE

        I notice my ‘typo’, sorry about that.

        But I should have mentioned to you, that Dr Byron Collins reported to me in 1998: in his opinion there was no bruising in the specimen from the medial side of the left leg.

        Dr Tony Thomas in the early 2000s, reported the same thing; sorry can’t remember the date but not going to look it up.

        Professor Cordner was of the same opinion when we conversed during this period.

        Mean while Dr James kept insisting there was a bruise, and there was a photograph to prove it, also telling me a number of times I did not know what I was talking about.

        When the writing was on the wall after expert witness and the Medical Board inquiry: he then spat the dummy: the rest is history.

        Robert

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