Sunday, 23 March 2008

No compo for four falsely accused

Four Western Australian men acquitted of murder have failed in their bid for an estimated $1 million compensation payout.

Phillip Walsham was found lying under a footbridge at the Stirling Train Station 10 years ago.

While two of the men admitted kicking him earlier in the night, all three denied any involvement in his death.

But after a coronial inquest, a hung jury and a retrial the men were found guilty of murder and spent two years in jail before having their convictions quashed last year.

WA Attorney-General Jim McGinty says their actions on the night were deplorable and an acquittal does not automatically entitle them to compensation.

The men said last year that the fight for justice had cost each of them more than $350,000.


Man denied compo calls for McGinty meeting

A Western Australian man denied compensation after being wrongly jailed for murder has called for a meeting with the state's Attorney-General.

Sal Fazzari and two other men spent more than two years in jail for the murder of 21-year-old Phillip Walsham, whose body was found under a footbridge at the Stirling Train Station 10 years ago.

The three had their convictions quashed last year, but the Government has rejected their compensation claim saying an earlier assault on Mr Walsham must be taken into account.

"A mere acquittal is not enough to found a claim in compensation," Attorney-General Jim McGinty said.

"In this case there was a vicious assault of Phillip Walsham and in all of the circumstances the government has decided that a claim for compensation should not be granted."

Mr Fazzari says the government is missing the point.

"We didn't spend time in prison and have legal bills of $500,000 for the assault," he said.

"We pleaded guilty to the assault in 1998 and six years later we were charged with a murder we didn't commit.

"It just goes to demonstrate that Jim McGinty is denying our compensation just to try to win some votes, so to speak."

Propaganda claims

Mr Fazzari says he can prove there was misconduct by those involved in their prosecution.

"There's been propaganda against us from day one by the media and a lot of what the public know about the case, they've been misinformed," he said.

"We'd suggest there has been wrongdoing and we'd be happy to take up the opportunity to prove so."

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