BY DALLY MESSENGER III. ( Further info is on the Bill D’Arcy support group website )
What disturbs me about the jailing of Bill D’Arcy
For those of you who might have forgotten, Bill D’Arcy was a Queensland Member of Parliament, sometime deputy leader of the ALP, who was convicted of raping an eight year old girl in front of a combined class of about 20 primary school children. The supposed year and month was May 1966. He was sentenced to fourteen years in the slammer.
On the grounds of an otherwise exemplary life, the appeals court later reduced this to ten years. For reducing his sentence the judges were mercilessly attacked in the media. Lot’s of grabs included remarks like “They should lock these people up and throw away the key”, and, “They should take these judges out of the courtroom and send them back to the classroom, and teach them what real life is about” etc. It was good stuff for TV ratings and newspaper sales.
At the time all this happened D’Arcy held the safest state Labor seat in Queensland. In the faction ridden ALP this was never a safe place to be. Having had heart surgery, he was in need of a second operation to replace a failing heart valve, and simply didn’t have the health and energy needed to properly fight the rumours, which had been spread , that he sexually molested children some thirty five years before.
Bill D’Arcy fathered a child to a fourteen year old? Really?
The first sensational story in the media alleged police had evidence that he had fathered a child to a 14 year old girl. This accusation later proved manifestly false, proved by DNA, but the counter evidence hardly got a mention.
Bill D’Arcy raped a child in front of 20 students? Really?
New accusations emerged, including from a woman who had a thirty seven year old “recovered memory” to the effect that Bill D’Arcy had raped her as an eight year old. He went to trial, no one with knowledge and intelligence, thought that he could be found guilty, but he was. In the light of the media frenzy, it is clear he never had any chance of a fair trial in the first place.
If you are reading this and you are over twenty you will know immediately how dicey the human memory is. You only have to revisit a scene in a film, which you “clearly” recall to find that it wasn’t like you remember it at all. “Play it again Sam” – was that what Humphrey Bogart really said?
Bill D’Arcy convicted because of a “recovered memory”? Really?
In the courts in every place in the world except Queensland, Australia, “recovered memory” is a style of evidence, which has been so often discredited, that it has no credence. In the UK and the USA there have been numerous recantations of “recovered memory” by accusers. so often have people been influenced by “suggestion”, and so often has the human memory proved unreliable, that it never gets past first base before the lowest ranked junior magistrate anywhere, except in Queensland.
Bill D’Arcy convicted without any corroborative evidence? Really?
The rape accusation against D’Arcy was patently absurd in itself. How a jury could find him guilty beggars belief. He was found “guilty” of raping an eight year-old girl in front of a class of approximately twenty children of varying ages. None of those children present saw the rape, or anything like it. The eight-year-old (eleven year old?) didn’t scream in pain, or run out of the classroom, or make any sound, or even tell her parents. She told no-one until over thirty-seven years later, and then only when a police person went to her and persuaded her that her current mental troubles must have been caused by sexual abuse when a child – a memory she had suppressed.
Bill D’Arcy was convicted of a crime at a place where he wasn’t and at a time where he wasn’t? You’re joking!
Her evidence, if examined with care, reveals that she is speaking of a time when Bill D’Arcy was not at the school in question, but had in fact left ten months earlier! She describes the school in May 1966 but D’Arcy in fact had left in June 1965. She appears to be describing another male teacher who now lives in Canada and is not available for questioning. (No innuendo of innocence or guilt is made regarding this teacher.) But this should have been evident at the trial? Surely? no these records were “lost” at the time.
About Bill D’Arcy for the record
Oh, and just for the record, Bill D’Arcy, then, in the years since, and up to the present day, (December 2018), absolutely and vehemently denies any and all of it.
Oh and just for the record, his beautiful wife, his lovely children, his circle of friends, his neighbours and everyone who really knows him, doesn’t believe a word of it.
Oh, and just for the record, his fellow prisoners, who usually are merciless towards paedophiles, didn’t believe a word of it, not did the screws, nor did the jail staff.
Oh, and just for the record, he refused to undertake the sexual offenders course which requires inmates to admit guilt, and therefore had his jail time extended.
Bill D’Arcy received an excessive sentence.
The sentence on Bill D’Arcy was excessive, given the comparative sentences given to others found guilty at the time. The original sentence was fourteen years. Even sexual assailants of children who have been filmed on video and the internet doing so, to the horror of the world, received only a third of this sentence. Bill D’Arcy served over seven years in jail, a humiliating parole period, and, to put in mildly, a lost of reputation.
There were so many who accused Bill D’Arcy of lesser offences, he must have done something? Really?
sub-heading: carpet bombing: what it means, and why it is done: Emma Husar.
Here I must diverge and give a recent example. A federal Labor Party member from Sydney, one Emma Husar, who was “carpet bombed” by persons who wanted to force her to leave parliament. They spread so many rumours about her that she obviously found it extremely difficult to cope with them all. The rumour-mongers succeeded and she declared she would not stand again. The independent enquiry found that most of the accusations were groundless but a few were left hanging in the air. So some of the press and public concluded she must have done something . Right? Carpet bombed – very effective tactic if you want to get rid of somebody.
There have been a number of trials of Bill D’Arcy, most relatively minor, since the original one. No one can work out why. Having put a man away for fourteen years (later reduced) – why was public money continually spent on more trials? – to send the D’Arcys broke with legal fees? – knowing the contradictories in the main trial, to make sure he was put away well and truly? Who knows?
The original accuser i.e the woman who claimed to be raped as an eight year old, faced Judge Botting in the civil trial in the District Court. He disallowed this accuser’s attempt at gaining $250 000 in victim compensation. I read his findings. Though carefully worded, the Judge, in summing up, pointed to a large number of inconsistencies in her evidence. In plain layman’s terms he declared Bill D’Arcy “innocent” on the evidence; he refused her application for the lifting the statute of limitations, awarded costs to D’Arcy, stating in his opinion, that Bill D’Arcy could not get a fair trial. No headline for that one.
Bill D’Arcy was not, is not, and never has been a paedophile.
Another aspect disturbs me. Anyone who knows anything, or reads anything, about paedophiles, knows that they regularly re-offend. Bill D’Arcy was examined by a leading Queensland psychiatrist in the area of paedophilia. The psychiatrist told D’Arcy, that he exhibited no characteristics of paedophilia. This has never been clearly evidenced in court, or indeed anywhere else. Unfortunately in Queensland it is virtually impossible to have expert evidence admitted in this type of trial.
In fact in Queensland, the law does not require any evidence of corroboration in cases of alleged child sexual abuse and a person can be convicted solely on the word of the complainant. In the then current witch-hunt mentality (hysteria), this is a sure recipe for miscarriages of justice!
In jail he was again examined and tested by psychiatrists who stated he had no indications of paedophilia whatsoever.
Bill D’Arcy with his lovely wifeNot only is D’Arcy “no paedophile” but he has sustained an admirable 44 year marriage and has raised an admirable family. His wife, and his three grown children, totally love and esteem their father, totally believe in his innocence, are in daily contact with him, and have stuck together, though grievously harmed by his false conviction.
Sexually assaulted children are victims. So are men falsely accused.
There is another factor, which I think is totally central to the incarceration of D’Arcy. The Queensland political scene and the public life of Queensland at the time had been coloured by the campaign against sexual offenders of children. Though the stated objectives of this campaign are unquestionably laudable, the excessiveness and extremism of its methods, so ably criticised by the Journalist Christopher Pearson in the Weekend Australian (A Sad Case of Blind Justice Feb.19-20, 2005), has created its own list of the falsely accused. These are also victims and so are their families.
Bill D’Arcy and the Queensland Police
Let us now look at the role of the police. It is the job of the police to establish whether a crime has been committed and thence determine what action should be taken. It is not the job of the police to target a person, decide a priori that such a person is guilty, and then set out, by selecting evidence against, and ignoring evidence for, to secure a conviction.
Such a tactic is called trawling, i.e.ignoring any evidence in favour of the targeted person, and persuading those who may be persuaded, that they must strengthen their so called “evidence”, or worse, encouraging them to think about making a complaint of their own. They do this on the grounds that “we know this person is guilty but to nail him we need your help”. The Queensland police task force acted in this manner. Police can be influenced by media frenzy and let’s-find-these-pedophiles campaigns like anyone else! They followed this trawling process for two years. For example, I personally read the attempts to get witness statements from parents and others at Hendra a school were Bill D’Arcy taught. A whole page of failed attempts! Not one person had bad word to say about Bill D’Arcy, quite the contrary – so they went on to the next school
In November 2002, I personally attended the second trial and sat through it. I witnessed Judge O’Brien disallow Mr D’Arcy’s counsel from cross-examining the police on this tactic. I am still astounded by this and so I wrote to Judge O’Brien asking, as a citizen, for an explanation. I did not receive a reply.
I have many more misgivings and concerns about these series of trials – I know that much of the evidence is contradictory and faulty. I know the D’Arcy family still believe that within the law they will ultimately find justice. They are from Irish stock so they will keep fighting.
Why hasn’t Bill D’Arcy’s conviction, in the light of new evidence, not been re-examined?
My guesses are as follows:
The Crime and Corruption Commission of Queensland doesn’t want to re-examine it because “carpet-bombing” makes a case very complicated. A lot of work. It would not be popular because the press has caused public opinion to believe that the evidence is cut and dried.
The Police do not wish to be exposed as trawling and prejudiced as it would show them up in a bad light.
The Legal Profession does not wished to be exposed as being incompetent – as well as taking the D’Arcy’s life savings with their exorbitant fees.
The Labor Party does not wish to be exposed again for the ruthless and unethical way many of tis preselection battles are fought.
The conservative parties do not wish to be exposed as gleefully enjoying an opposition ALP member convicted of a crime.
The media have a lot to answer for their prejudicial coverage of Bill D’Arcy prior to his trial and their using of the rumours to temporarily but massively increase their circulation and viewers.
The protectors of children may not want Bill D’Arcy to be innocent either as the get so much publicity by the conviction of a high flyer.
So it just about suits everybody to keep Bill D’Arcy guilty, even though he is not.
SO WHAT AM I ASKING YOU TO DO?
I have been advised that even though many believe Bill D’Arcy is innocent of all charges, they say nothing because they fear the backlash of those who are convinced he is guilty. If by reading this and the website (link below) you are convinced that a fully independent enquiry is merited please let everyone know. Bring this case up in conversation –
mention the case on talk back radio,
write letters to the editor or MP,
mention and share this page
or a page from the website on facebook, Twitter and all social media.
Public support may begin the process of righting a grievous wrong.