Why 'baby killer' Keli Lane should be released now
AN EXPLOSIVE reconstruction of the trial of convicted child killer Keli Lane has revealed serious and worrying problems that warrant her release and a retrial, one expert believes.
Lane, now 43, was convicted in 2010 of murdering her two-day-old baby Tegan in 1996, in a case that captivated the nation.
Now, a three-part ABC documentary series examining every detail of the bizarre case, Exposed: The Case Of Keli Lane, has cast serious doubt on the integrity of her prosecution.
Xanthe Mallet, a Cambridge educated and Quantico-trained forensic anthropologist and criminologist, described the trial as a "miscarriage of justice" due to the many "significant problems" with the case and how it was conducted.
"I think it's really worrying and raises questions about our justice system," Dr Mallett said.
"This is a miscarriage of justice in that someone is in prison without the standard of proof having been met. I don't think it was a reliable prosecution."
Viewers of the final episode of the series last night described the "holes" in the prosecution's case, from a missing witness to a baseless theory presented as fact.
"It's not just holes - it's worse than it. It's a massive void in which they threw a constructed narrative without any evidence that proved their case beyond a reasonable doubt," Dr Mallett said.
"The case should not have gone forward. There is no circumstantial case here - there's no witnesses, there's no forensic evidence and there's no motive."
Former New South Wales detective Sharon Rhodes led the final investigation into Tegan's disappearance and told the ABC that police "had absolutely nothing".
"I used every trick in the book. An undercover strategy, covert DNA samples, every resource that was available. There was nothing. Absolutely nothing. We didn't have anything," Ms Rhodes said.
Police were not in a position to charge Lane with murder and the case was "not ready" for trial when the Department of Public Prosecutions decided to push forward.
Dr Mallett agreed that the case should not have gone forward and has called on NSW Attorney-General Mark Speakman to intervene and order a retrial.
"This needs to be looked at urgently. I'd like to see a retrial. If she's guilty, OK, let's see the evidence to prove that beyond reasonable doubt," she said.
"I'd like to see the Attorney-General look at this and grant a retrial on the grounds that this may be an unsafe conviction.
"In the meantime, I think Keli should be released because this conviction is unsafe."
The Attorney-General declined to comment when approached by news.com.au today.
Researchers from RMIT University's Bridge of Hope Innocence Initiative have been sifting through hundreds of pages of evidence and trial notes for more than two years.
Associate Dean Michele Ruyters, who heads the group, is of the view that there are enough questions to support an inquiry into the trial.
"There is a pattern in people who firmly believe in their innocence and that is that they never give up," Dr Ruyters said.
"They refuse to take part in pre-release programs because that means admitting guilt for something they didn't do. They never stop fighting. And Keli Lane has never stopped fighting. It's an observable trend."
Whether or not Lane is guilty of the murder of her child isn't relevant in this instance, Dr Mallett said.
"People say to me that there's more to the story. Maybe. That's not the point though - she did not receive a fair trial.
"I'm not advocating for Keli and it doesn't matter whether I think she's guilty or not. The right to a fair trial is a fundamental part of our society.
"On the basis of her conviction, any of us could be accused and prosecuted of a serious crime without due process. This is a very worrying situation to develop.
"I think the ABC series has made it possible now for Keli to get a fair trial. She deserves an objective evaluation of the evidence presented and not this constructed narrative around her lifestyle."
Lane was sentenced to 18 years in prison and will be eligible for parole in 2023.
She maintains she handed Tegan over to the child's father, a man called Andrew Norris or Morris, after he agreed to raise her.
Catch up with all episodes of Exposed: The Case of Keli Lane on ABC iview.