Thursday, March 3, 2011

Greer Likely To Remain In Prison

Convicted murderer Arthur Greer is unlikely to be granted parole, despite new evidence that suggests he may not have killed 14-year-old Sharon Mason, according to former attorney-general Jim McGinty. Greer has served 16 years of his life sentence, more than double the minimum term set by the Supreme Court, but has had his parole request continually knocked back by the Prisoners Review Board. His pro bono lawyer Jonathan Davies has applied to the board to allow Greer parole in light of the new evidence, which may explain his long-standing refusal to accept responsibility for the schoolgirl's murder. The evidence uncovered by John Button, who was also wrongly convicted over a murder committed by serial killer Eric Edgar Cooke, was presented to the Innocence Project in WA and Edith Cowan University law students, as well as criminologists and psychologists. His years as a builder meant he was able to find a discrepancy about where the plumbing was on the Mosman Park site where Ms Mason's remains were found. It is now suggested that the remains were above pipes that were installed after the girl's disappearance in 1983, and were not located under a shed then-belonging to Greer, which was thought to have concealed the burial spot. Greer has a violent criminal record, including being convicted of sexual assault, and has been described as "a sexual, predatory psychopath". Yet advocate Estelle Blackburn said the hairs found in Ms Mason's underwear, when her body was recovered, did not match Greer's, nor did fingerprints found on the rubbish bags that housed Ms Mason's remains. Ms Blackburn said witnesses attested that they saw Ms Mason running down Stirling Highway at 10 o'clock at night looking distraught after police alleged she had been murdered. She said she had her own theories about who killed Ms Mason but ruled out Ms Mason's father, who committed suicide after coming under the spotlight during the police investigation into her disappearance. Ms Mason's mother, who was divorced at the time of her daughter's disappearance, was haunted by reminders of her daughter's gruesome death every time Greer came up for parole, Mr McGinty said. Mr McGinty was in his role as attorney-general when Greer's parole was first considered in 2001 and said he considered deporting the Liverpool-born Greer but the board rejected parole on the basis that it needed to protect the larger community, not just in Western Australia. "If there was new evidence like there was in many, many cases such as the Micklebergs, Mallard and Beamish I would have had no hesitation in bringing it for reconsideration before the courts but I can't really comment on this (evidence)," Mr McGinty said. He said Andrew Mallard, who was wrongly convicted over the murder of Mosman Park jeweller Pamela Lawrence, had "significant evidence proving his innocence" and Greer's case was "not as conclusive", despite many lawyers arguing that his conviction was based on circumstantial evidence. Mr McGinty said even Mr Mallard had to remain in custody well after he was cleared by court, pending a new trial that was eventually abandoned by the Department of Public Prosecutions. He said it was unlikely the Prisoners Review Board would grant Greer parole to compile an appeal and ultimately the decision would have to be approved by the current Attorney-General Christian Porter, who could take into account public sentiment. "It would be unusual for someone to be released on parole in a murder case and from what I know of this case I wouldn't at all be enthusiastic over the prospect of release." Read more:

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