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Downer murder produces first murder conviction in Canberra since 1998

By johnboy - 25 March 2011 46

downer murder site

No case has created as much heated discussion on this site as the Downer murders of 2008 where Struan Bolas and Julie Franco were killed and their house set on fire in Downer.

In fact the families of the victims are largely responsible for this site bringing in pre-emptive comment moderation.

The Canberra Times reports that Scott Alexander McDougall has this morning been found guilty of both the murders by Justice Malcolm Gray, the first murder conviction in the ACT since 1998.

So if you kill two people, set fire to the house, sit in your car covered in blood until the police find you, and admit the killings, you can, in fact, be found guilty of murder in Canberra.

What’s Your opinion?


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46 Responses to
Downer murder produces first murder conviction in Canberra since 1998
Not 4:40 pm 25 Mar 11

Mysteryman said :

Not said :

Stop with this whole murder conviction consistency nonsense. The Australian legal system works on a pluralist ideal that means from time to time, someone somewhere will get the wrong outcome. But this system is the only one we have and it is working fine. Is it unsafe in the ACT? I would be chanting at the cops for the unsolved ones instead of a spinning a conspiracy theory claiming a bench of lenient judges. Move on already.

Evidently, there are a LOT of people who disagree with your assertion that “this system is…working fine”. By “working fine”, do you mean allowing murderers to be convicted of less serious charges and subsequently facing less serious sentences? Because that’s what’s happening.

It’s no coincidence that murder convictions stopped in the ACT in 1998. Legislation made it almost impossible to get a murder conviction in the territory, and so prosecutors opted to go for less serious charges (such as manslaughter). Add to this the fact that people like Chief Justice Higgins are well known in legal profession to be “soft” on crime and you end up with not a conspiracy, but a sad reality that the system in the ACT isn’t working as well as it should.

What a load of unsupported speculation. I am sure that the DPP would love to hear about your excuse for their alleged inability to secure murder convictions. Justice Higgins is the Chief Justice because he knows his profession better than most. To infer that any justice would be, and I quote, “Soft” on crime, ( assuming you meant on sentencing criminal matters) is as bout as cynical and unaware as I have heard. But if you are generally so convinced, then I guess just stay indoors until its safe to come out.

Mysteryman 3:13 pm 25 Mar 11

Not said :

Stop with this whole murder conviction consistency nonsense. The Australian legal system works on a pluralist ideal that means from time to time, someone somewhere will get the wrong outcome. But this system is the only one we have and it is working fine. Is it unsafe in the ACT? I would be chanting at the cops for the unsolved ones instead of a spinning a conspiracy theory claiming a bench of lenient judges. Move on already.

Evidently, there are a LOT of people who disagree with your assertion that “this system is…working fine”. By “working fine”, do you mean allowing murderers to be convicted of less serious charges and subsequently facing less serious sentences? Because that’s what’s happening.

It’s no coincidence that murder convictions stopped in the ACT in 1998. Legislation made it almost impossible to get a murder conviction in the territory, and so prosecutors opted to go for less serious charges (such as manslaughter). Add to this the fact that people like Chief Justice Higgins are well known in legal profession to be “soft” on crime and you end up with not a conspiracy, but a sad reality that the system in the ACT isn’t working as well as it should.

colourful sydney rac 2:14 pm 25 Mar 11

Not said :

Stop with this whole murder conviction consistency nonsense. The Australian legal system works on a pluralist ideal that means from time to time, someone somewhere will get the wrong outcome. But this system is the only one we have and it is working fine. Is it unsafe in the ACT? I would be chanting at the cops for the unsolved ones instead of a spinning a conspiracy theory claiming a bench of lenient judges. Move on already.

Thank you for injecting some common sense amongst the ‘hang them high’ rabble.

shadow boxer 1:19 pm 25 Mar 11

Last I heard of him he was bolting for Sydney with the police hot on his tail.

Like most of those bikies of the time he was a likeable lad as long as you weren’t the one getting the kicking. Lovely family though, nothing wrong with his upbringing.

We probably know each other troll sniffer

shadow boxer 1:17 pm 25 Mar 11

Last I heard of him he was bolting for Sydney with the police hot on his tail.

Like most of those bikies of the time he was a likeable lad if you weren’t the one getting the kicking.

troll-sniffer 1:05 pm 25 Mar 11

limitless said :

About time. I hope they put him away for the remainder of his life. Struan was a really good bloke and didn’t deserve this.

There are many northsiders who grew up in ythe 70s and 80s who would, if approached, classify old Struan as a likeable lad but somewhat the Mully of his time.

limitless 12:21 pm 25 Mar 11

About time. I hope they put him away for the remainder of his life. Struan was a really good bloke and didn’t deserve this.

Not 12:09 pm 25 Mar 11

Stop with this whole murder conviction consistency nonsense. The Australian legal system works on a pluralist ideal that means from time to time, someone somewhere will get the wrong outcome. But this system is the only one we have and it is working fine. Is it unsafe in the ACT? I would be chanting at the cops for the unsolved ones instead of a spinning a conspiracy theory claiming a bench of lenient judges. Move on already.

Ian 11:20 am 25 Mar 11

So if you kill two people, set fire to the house, sit in your car covered in blood until the police find you, and admit the killings, you can, in fact, be found guilty of murder in Canberra.

But, but, but ….he had a bad childhood, he was affected by drugs, he was bullied at school, the people he killed said mean things about him …. How can he be guilty of murder if all these were properly taken into account?

Oh hang on, sentencing is still to come.

TVStar 11:19 am 25 Mar 11

I calculate that as an infinite increase in the murder rate.

Better get him acquitted on appeal, or this will look bad!

johnboy 11:00 am 25 Mar 11

And headline of the day goes to the ABC.

Mysteryman 10:42 am 25 Mar 11

About damn time. I notice that old mate Higgins wasn’t presiding over the first murder conviction since ’98…

johnboy 10:18 am 25 Mar 11

Sorry, admitted the killing, but didn’t plead guilty to murder, fixed now.

dundle 10:14 am 25 Mar 11

Wait, you said plead guilty? This article and others say not guilty.

dundle 10:12 am 25 Mar 11

I think this shows that when it’s murder they will call it such…though admittedly some of the manslaughter convictions have surprised me. However, I think the anger held by some members of the public (largely uninformed about the facts of the case and the law) over recent self-defence acquittals becomes even more unjustified in light of this decision.

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