The Trials of Justice Murphy
An interesting mix of legal and political history, this book delves into the story of how it came about that Lionel Murphy, one of Australia’s most senior judges, was once accused of putting his freedom, and the reputation of the High Court, in jeopardy to help a friend.
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October 2016 marks thirty years since the death of former High Court Justice Lionel Murphy, a controversial legal and political figure who despite his many achievements is perhaps best known for being charged with attempting to pervert the course of justice.
The book takes an in-depth look at the unique story of how Murphy, a High Court judge at that time, was charged with serious criminal offences, found guilty of one and subsequently sentenced to imprisonment. The book examines the first trial in depth, turning then to the appeal and second trial, at which Murphy was acquitted. Facing a further inquiry, Murphy was diagnosed with a terminal illness, but controversially returned to sit as a judge, delivering his last judgments just an hour before he died.
Follow the fascinating story of how it came about that one of Australia’s most senior judges was once accused of putting his freedom, and the reputation of the High Court, in jeopardy to help a friend.
- Discussion of conduct of trials, including some legal and practical aspects of advocacy and evidence
- A fascinating look into one story of Australia’s political and legal history
Field, Crimes That Shaped the Law, 2015
Howard, R v Milat: A Case Study in Cross-Examination, 2014
Table of contents
- Background to the Story
- The Main Crown Witness: Clarrie Briese, the Lutheran from Trungley
- Morgan Ryan’s Dinner Party: Briese Meets Murphy
- The Age Tapes: Allegations Against a Judge
- A Senate Inquiry
- An Allegation Against Another Judge
- The Pope’s Jockey Saddles Up
- A Second Senate inquiry
- Murphy is Charged
- The Committal Hearing
- A High Court Judge is Committed for Trial
- The Trial: Part 1 — The Beginning
- The Trial: Part 2 — The Crown Case
- The Trial: Part 3 — The Defence Case
- The Trial: Part 4 — Character Witnesses
- The Trial: Part 5 — Addresses and Summing Up
- The Verdicts
- The Public Discusses the Verdicts
- Some Press Observations on the Trial
- The Jurors Respond to Critics
- Jury Disclosures Become Part of the Case
- An Interlude: The Law About Jury Disclosures
- Murphy Becomes a High Court Litigant
- The Sentencing Hearing
- A High Court Judge is Sentenced to Imprisonment
- The Foord Trial
- Murphy’s Appeal
- Murphy is Granted a Retrial
- Murphy’s Second Trial
- The Final Verdict and its Aftermath
- Murphy’s Dock Statement Has Other Repercussions
- A New Inquiry
- Murphy’s Last Judgments and His Death
Appendix 1: Chronology of events
Appendix 2: 'Proved misbehaviour': Section 72 (ii) of the Constitution
Appendix 3: The McClelland ‘perjury’ confessions
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