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Monday, August 24, 2015

Roseanne Beckett wins $2.3 million

Yesterday, Justice Ian Harrison awarded Roseanne Beckett $2 million plus costs for wrongful imprisonment involving 'malicious prosecution.'

She spent over 10 years in prison for a crime she didn't commit. She was framed for trying to solicit others to kill her husband, Barry Catt, and attempting to poison him with lithium.  She was found guilty and served most her her 12 year sentence.

In 2001 she was released and in 2005 her conviction was quashed by the Court of Criminal Appeal after it was found she had been framed.  

But she didn't stop there.  She described public prosecutors as "monsters" and wanted to sue for 'malicious prosecution.'  Not possible, they said, she had to prove her innocence first.  

Undaunted, she took the matter to the High Court, asking them to review the law and in 2013 she won the right to sue for malicious prosecution.  

The first time she met Detective Sergeant Peter Thomas was in 1983. He was investigating a fire in her delicatessen in the north coast country town of Taree.  

But when he started making unwanted advances towards her, she lodged a series of complaints against him to police and that's when the trouble started.  She was then harassed and eventually charged with arson herself, a case that was never followed up.

Then in 1987, she married local panel beater Barry Catt, who was a friend of Sgt Thomas.

Justice Harrison found that Sgt Thomas harboured an intense dislike for Ms Beckett and that the fallout from the delicatessen fire was the cause of it.  "Detective Thomas utilized the legal system in a way that did not secure justice, but prevented it" he found.

A jubilant Ms Beckett said "The DPP is totally flawed, it's broken, ineffectual...we all saw that with the Man Monis case."

"Peter Thomas ran this case right up until he died last year.... the public have a right to know how their money is wasted .....they are monsters, they have dragged me through hell, court after court, costing the taxpayer...

...."Peter Thomas had his own legal team, my legal team and my bills are enormous, many millions, but Thomas paid not a cent because he had the Crown at his fingertips."

"Victory, at long last victory....thank God for Justice Harrison, he's a decent learned man, he's seen it for what it is....I've had to stay on my feet and they've kicked me and kicked me at every turn."

The DPP should hang their heads in shame for letting mad gunman Man Monis out on bail when police strongly recommended that he stay locked up.  He had scores of serious charges against him, one was even an accessory to the murder of his wife, yet they let him out and he went on to take hostages at the Lindt Cafe.

And the way they treated this brave woman, Roseanne Beckett, is a disgrace.

The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (NSW) is the independent prosecuting authority for the State of New South Wales.
We prosecute serious criminal offences in NSW courts.
We provide the people of NSW with an independent, just and efficient prosecution service.

Edit 10 November 2015.  Today, the state of New South Wales has been ordered by the Supreme Court to pay $4 million, plus legal costs to Rosanne Beckett for malicious prosecution of a woman who was wrongfully convicted of soliciting to murder her husband.

Outside court today