To: MIT.EDU!witchhunt Date: Mon, 28 Nov 94 09:53:39 EST The following appeared on page 3 o

Master Index Current Directory Index Go to SkepticTank Go to Human Rights activist Keith Henson Go to Scientology cult

Skeptic Tank!

From:!!kgs (Ken Smith) To: MIT.EDU!witchhunt 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 repressed memories. 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 assault. 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 reasonable doubt. 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 know that. "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!kilo.uws.EDU.AU!g.forrest From:!!g.forrest (Grahame Forrest) To: MIT.EDU!witchhunt 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 February 20. 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 alleged torture. 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. DUNCAN GRAHAM Quotation ends.


E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank