Thursday, March 4, 2010

Dad "allegedly" murdered mother of his two children--2 weeks after HE lost custody (Canberra, Australia)

Dad STEVEN WAYNE HILLIER has been charged with murdering the mother of his two children--just TWO WEEKS after the father lost custody. Still think that custody isn't mostly an abuse/control issue for a lot of violent men? And wouldn't you know, this sh** is out on bail. Figures. That's how seriously Australia deals with violence against mothers and children.

Hat tip to Jane.

Prosecution says DNA points to murder
02 Mar, 2010 08:08 AM

The recent re-testing of a DNA sample taken from murdered mother-of-two Ana Louise Hardwick's clothing found a statistically high match with her estranged de facto Steven Wayne Hillier, the prosecution alleged on the first day of his retrial in the ACT Supreme Court yesterday.

Hillier, now 46 and out on bail, is accused of strangling Ms Hardwick between the evening of September 30 and the morning of October 1, 2002, in her Isabella Plains home and setting her bedroom alight in a bid to destroy evidence. Hillier had lost custody of the couple's two children two weeks before Ms Hardwick's death and was appealing against the Family Court decision.

Hillier was convicted by a jury at his first trial in 2004 and sentenced to 18 years' jail, but in 2006 he had his conviction quashed.

In March 2007, the High Court partially upheld an appeal by the ACT Director of Public Prosecutions, and ordered the appeal be re-heard.

At the second appeal, Hillier successfully raised legal doubts about the validity of DNA evidence the DPP had presented at his trial. In particular, he argued that the result of a DNA sample taken from the collar of the pyjamas Ms Hardwick was wearing at the time of her death which was a strong match for Hillier's genetic profile had been potentially unreliable, as too much DNA material had been present.

Also, a second test of the same sample, which had produced results within the equipment's recommended range but was a far less conclusive match for Hillier's DNA profile, had not been raised at the trial by either the DPP or Hillier's lawyers, in what appeared to have been a serious omission by the defence team. In 2008, forensic medicine expert Brian McDonald, whom Hillier's lawyers had engaged to give evidence at the trial, told the Court of Appeal his evidence to the jury would have been very different had he known about the second test result.