Keli Lane is getting ready to appeal her sentence. She may be the queen of deception and a consummate liar, but I don't believe her trial proved beyond reasonable doubt, that she killed her baby Tegan.
On Friday 24th June 2005, Keli's father said he and his wife were shocked to learn that their unmarried daughter Keli had given birth to three children without their knowledge. He agreed that hiding one pregnancy from family and friends would be difficult but three was surreal and bizarre.
Senior Crown Prosecutor Mark Tedeschi QC said "Over the course of seven years, from 1992 to 1999, the accused became pregnant no less than five times - in fact she became pregnant four times in five years. The first two pregnancies were terminated, the third and fifth were adopted, and the fourth was baby Tegan." He alleged it was Lane's "over-riding ambition" to represent Australia at the Sydney Olympics in 2000 in her chosen sport of water polo that led to her "not wanting to be saddled with the responsibility of having a child."
Keli Lane comes from a popular sporting family who live on the right side of the tracks - the northern beaches of Sydney. Her father was a successful rugby union coach and Keli was an elite water polo player, representing her state and country. She lived at home with her parents who had no idea she had ever been pregnant - having a fuller figure, she was able to disguise it very well.
Keli chose the Auburn hospital to have Tegan, a Western Sydney suburb, a long way from her home. It would be very unlikely that she would run into any friends or family here. But the day she left hospital, she attended a wedding, without her baby, and therein lies the problem - what happened to baby Tegan? She says she gave Tegan to her father, but he cannot be found.
Lane's appeal is set to argue that the jury should have been instructed that manslaughter and infanticide were alternative charges to consider. The finishing touches of the appeal are being put together by experienced barrister Winston Terracini SC, who will also apply for bail.
Winston Terracini SC
The trial's presiding judge, Supreme Court Justice Anthony Whealy QC, now retired, said he did not personally believe the Crown had proved its case against Lane and was unconvinced of her guilt.
It will also be claimed that the trial "miscarried by reason of the prejudice occasioned by the crown prosecutor" Mark Tedeschi. He built his case around the lies Lane had told, and there were many, and that the police couldn't find the father. Judge Wealy warned the jury they must take into account that telling lots of lies does not make you a murderer.
Mark Tedeschi was responsible for the guilty verdict of Gordon Wood, since released on appeal and also Des Campbell, the man who took his wife camping and said she accidentally fell off a cliff to her death in the dark.
Tedeschi also had Qantas pilot Graeme Wiley's wife and friend Karen Jenning, a teacher, both found guilty of manslaughter for trying to help Wiley, who had dementia, commit suicide. Jenning, who had cancer, took her own life a month before she was due to face a sentencing hearing. She left a suicide note accusing Tedeschi of harassment. "During the trial, I felt persecuted and harassed by him" she wrote "He is a bully boy."
Keli Lane gave two babies up for adoption and is a loving mother to the daughter she decided to keep and raise. And there is one important detail Tedeschi could not prove, that Tegan is dead.