To: MIT.EDU!witchhunt Date: Mon, 28 Nov 94 09:53:39 EST The following appeared on page 3 o
From: romulus.ehs.uiuc.edu!maths.uq.oz.au!kgs (Ken Smith)
Date: Mon, 28 Nov 94 09:53:39 EST
The following appeared on page 3 of "The Australian", the national daily
newspaper in Australia, on Monday 28 November 1994.
This court case is the first involving "recovered memories" in Australia.
Although not all aspects of the case are clear yet, the initial decision
and the directions of the judge to the jurors indicate that it is not
likely that Australia is going to suffer the same rash of cases brought
by people who claim to have recovered memories of past abuse.
This will make it all the easier for those who are dealing with genuine
cases of abuse.
---------------Newspaper item starts here--------------------
Jury rejects sisters' recovered memories of sexual abuse.
By Colleen Egan
A West Australian jury has refused to accept the "recovered memories"
of incest by two women as conclusive evidence that they were sexually
abused in childhood.
The Supreme Court jury in Bunbury, south of Perth, handed down a
mixture of acquittals and undecided verdicts yesterday after four days
of deliberations in Australia's first trial based on so-called
After weeks of expert psychological and medical evidence, the credibility
of the sisters' testimonies--that they suffered 25 years of horrific sexual
torture but remembered nothing of the alleged events until they began
therapy in their late 20s--could not be established.
The 65-year-old father of the two women, aged 31 and 34, was acquitted
of three charges involving the older daughter and 12 charges relating to
the younger. He was remanded on bail to again face the court on the
remaining 27 counts, which include rape, sodomy, deprivation of liberty and
The women had accused their father of bizarre and sadistic acts,
including ritualistic torture and the use of power tools, knives, crucifixes
and animals as sex aids.
Flanked by detectives and supporters, the sisters sobbed in the courtroom
yesterday as they realised the jury did not believe their stories beyond
Their father. who showed little emotion throughout the trial apart from
a few tears when a video showing a happy family gathering was shown,
nodded his head after each "not guilty" verdict was announced. He
repeatedly turned to his daughters when the foreman announced that
"the jury cannot agree", but was given no response.
The retired school principal and fundamentalist church leader said
outside the court: "I believe I just have not done any of these things, I
"I have been under tremendous strain and I do not want to say much more.
Defence barrister Mr Andrew Hodge had told the jurors that his client
at no time believed his daughters were deliberately lying but that
therapists had encouraged them to concoct memories of abuse to explain
their unhappy marriages and depression.
The man, who would have faced about 15 years in jail if convicted of the
major charges, is believed to have spent $130,000 so far on his defence.
Although he is due to face the Supreme Court in February to set a date
for retrial on the 27 undecided counts, legal sources told _The
Australian_ that the charges will probably be dropped within months.
Lawyers were yesterday trying to find a pattern in the not guilty
verdicts, which related to incidents alleged by each of the women.
Acquittals resulted from some charges for which there was only the
prosecution evidence corroborating the women's stories--scarring
allegedly caused by sexual and physical torture. The jury did not
acquit on the only charge for which the accused had an alibi -- an
alleged rape on the younger woman when she was 25 years old.
Mr Justice Seaman had told the jurors before they retired on Wednesday
afternoon that they should look for such corroboration rather than
relying on the memories alone before convicting on any charge. He told
them this was especially important because the case involved repressed
memories recovered under therapy.
"You have to decide if these are real memories," he said.
The jurors, who had witnessed emotional breakdowns from family
members and supporters throughout the trial, were visibly drained when
they returned yesterday morning.
The once close and outwardly happy family has been fragmented by the
women's allegations, which include gang rape involving their grand-
father, uncles and brothers.
Mr Hodge told the jurors in his closing address last week: '~You know
and we know that they are all ruined, whatever the verdict."
---------------Newspaper item ends here--------------------
From: romulus.ehs.uiuc.edu!nepean.uws.edu.au!g.forrest (Grahame Forrest)
Date: Mon, 28 Nov 1994 12:46:06 +1100
The following appeared on page 3 of the Sydney Morning Herald,28 Nov. 1994.
MAN CLEARED OF RAPE IN REPRESSED MEMORY CASE
A 64-year-old retired school principal and Open Brethren Church elder was
acquitted in the Western Australian Supreme Court yesterday of 15 charges
of raping, sodomising and torturing his daughters over a 25-year period.
The jury could not agree on a further 27 charges relating to the two women
and the man has been remanded on $20,000 bail to reappear in court on
The trial, at Bunbury, south of Perth, is believed to be the first in
Australia to be based on the evidence of alleged memories repressed and
later recovered under therapy.
The women,aged 31 and 34,said they recovered their memories only recently
after hypnotherapy and counselling following depression and marriage
problems. Following treatment the women said they started having "flashes"
of ghastly events. These gradually became more complete "memories" of the
Mr John Manners, a psychologist who treated both women, told the court he
believed the recovered memories were of real events.
Defence psychologists said recovered memories could not be relied upon
without supporting evidence. They said the profession was divided on the
validity of the syndrome.
E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank