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Friday, December 13, 2013

Keli Lane appeal unsuccessful

The Keli Lane trial worried me a lot.  I thought there was a definite element of doubt and half expected her appeal to be successful. But it wasn't, and even though Tegan's body was never found, the charge of murder was upheld today by three Appeals Court Judges. She will now continue with her minimum 13 years and five month sentence behind bars.

Keli Lane was a married working mum with a 2 year old daughter at the time of her arrest.  In 2004, the woman in the flat next door in a block of units in Manly had a baby and she and Lane became close friends over a three year period.  She said Lane loved to visit the new baby and was always very considerate, teaching her little girl to treat the new baby gently.  Keli Lane's neighbour doesn't think she killed her baby.

Lane's husband Patrick Cogan

Lane's husband Patrick Cogan says his wife believes the baby is living with another family and one day will come looking for her.

Lane had two unwanted pregnancies before and had both babies adopted.  She was also a doting mother of a little girl, so it just doesn't add up. And then there's the taxi driver's evidence which was totally ignored. Maybe his testimony was discounted because he was a raving nut case but his story is bizarre enough to be true.

He said he picked Lane and the baby up at Auburn Hospital.  She wanted to go to Manly but on the way, asked him to stop on River Road where there were some private homes scattered among natural bush. When he stopped, she got out of the cab with the baby and returned without her.  When he asked where the baby was, she said she'd given her to a babysitter and they continued on to Manly. When he dropped her off in Manly, he noticed she'd left a baby bag in the back seat.  He called out to her but she said "I don't need it" and left.

The cab driver decided to go back to the spot where she left the baby to give the babysitter the baby bag. When he got there, he found the baby wrapped up near a tree, with a baby bottle nearby. There was also a woman at the scene and when he asked her what was going on, she said she was going to take care of the baby, so he handed her over.  Could she have sold the baby and been too ashamed to tell anyone?

Was Keli Lane a sneaky consummate liar?  Definitely, but that doesn't make her a baby killer.  I just hope that Chief Justice Tim Bathurst, Justice Carolyn Simpson and Justice Christine Adamson made the right decision today.