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Convicted cop killer Jason Roberts will be allowed to appeal

Jailed cop killer will be allowed to appeal against his conviction for shooting two police officers dead

  • Double police killer Jason Roberts will appeal against his conviction 
  • He was jailed for shooting dead Sgt Gary Silk and Snrr Constable Rodney Miller
  • Victoria’s Court of Appeal granted Roberts’ application on Wednesday 

Double police killer Jason Roberts has been granted an appeal against his conviction for the shooting murders of two officers in 1998.

Sergeant Gary Silk and Senior Constable Rodney Miller were killed while on duty, investigating a series of robberies in the Melbourne suburb of Moorabbin.

Roberts and Bandali Debs were found guilty by a jury in 2002, but Roberts has always maintained his innocence.

Double police killer Jason Roberts has been granted an appeal against his conviction for the shooting murders of two officers in 1998

Double police killer Jason Roberts has been granted an appeal against his conviction for the shooting murders of two officers in 1998

After he exhausted all appeals, new legislation allowing appeals in cases with fresh evidence gave him a second chance.

Victoria’s Court of Appeal granted his application on Wednesday.

It was the outcome Sen Const Miller’s widow Carmel Arthur was expecting.

‘It’s all going to be good. No surprises. Onward and upward,’ she said leaving court after the decision.

But coronavirus might cause delays around when that appeal can be held.

The court has experienced tech issues which might mean defence lawyers and prosecutors have to make their case on paper alone.

Roberts’ previous appeal was dismissed in April 2005 and a High Court bid was refused months later.

Judges believe now that serious questions have been raised about the fairness of his trial, and the reliability of evidence given by police.

Central to the prosecution case at trial was whether there was one or two offenders, and they relied on evidence from officers at the scene that Sen Const Miller’s dying words indicated there was more than one offender.

In a statement used at trial, Senior Constable Glenn Pullin said, knowing he had been mortally wounded, Sen Const Miller told him ‘they were on foot’.

Other officers recorded him as saying ‘two, one on foot’ when asked about the number of offenders.

But it was revealed last year Sen Const Pullin’s statement from the trial had actually been made 10 months after the murders, and was passed off as another one he made four hours after the killings.

The judges said the officer also made false statements during Roberts’ pre-trial committal hearing about the date of his second statement.

‘It raises a serious issue as to the reliability of the evidence of what Senior Constable Miller actually said by way of dying declarations,’ they said.

The fairness of Roberts’ trial is also in question.

There was evidence officers had been dissuaded from including evidence about the Sen Const Miller’s dying remarks in their original statements, that those first statements had been revised later, records of that process had been destroyed and none of those matters were disclosed at trial, the judges noted.

Officers Silk and Miller were investigating a series of 10 robberies at outer suburban restaurants and were patrolling a potential target just after midnight on August 16, 1998.

Roberts now admits he was involved in the robberies, but says he was with his girlfriend Nicole – Debs’ daughter – when the murders happened.

He was sentenced to life with a minimum of 35 years.

 

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Written by Angle News

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