Man acquitted of murder seeks $5.5 million from police

The fragrant Queensland cops again. I can never get over the Barry Mannix case, where the Queensland cops pressured a kid to confess that he had killed his father. See here:

and more details here

My own experience with them was also not impressive. When my car was stolen I gave them a piece of evidence that identified one of the thieves. They "lost" that piece of evidence and made no further enquiries. The officer who "lost" the evidence, Constable Turgeon, appeared to suffer no consequences for her "negligence". I wrote to the police minster, Rob Schwarten, about the matter at the time but the response was effectively, "So sad, too bad". More details here:

A man who was jailed for six-and-a-half years and later acquitted of murder is suing two police detectives for $5.5 million, claiming he was subject to malicious prosecution.

Steven Mark John Fennell, 64, filed a statement of claim in Brisbane Supreme Court in late December alleging the two detectives who arrested him engaged in misconduct during the investigation.

Liselotte Watson, 85, was found dead on November 13, 2012 in her home on Macleay Island about 30km southeast of Brisbane.

Mr Fennell then aged 56, was convicted in the Supreme Court in March 2016 of murdering defenceless grandmother Ms Watson by using a hammer to inflict horrific head injuries.

"(The detectives) took steps to embellish, manipulate, misrepresent or deliberately conceal aspects of the evidence," the lawsuit claims.

Mr Fennell's lawsuit also alleges the detectives engaged in misfeasance in public office by using the Crime and Misconduct Commission to force him to answer questions.

The two detectives and the Queensland government, which was also named in the lawsuit, are yet to respond to the claims.

The prosecution in 2016 told court that Mr Fennell, who delivered junk mail at the time, murdered Ms Watson in order to steal her money and offset his gambling losses.

The jury rejected Mr Fennell's denials and reached a guilty verdict after deliberating for almost two days.

The High Court of Australia unanimously ruled in September 2019 that Mr Fennell's convictions be quashed and he be acquitted.

Mr Fennell spent 2373 days in pre-trial custody and prison and has claimed damages for "false imprisonment" and loss of income.

He claimed the two detectives did not give him the required warning before interviewing him in the days after Ms Watson's death and recorded his answers without telling him.

The lawsuit also claimed the case was taken to trial without any direct or forensic evidence connecting him to Ms Watson's death or the alleged murder weapon and relied on flawed accounting to determine he could not afford his gambling.


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