Stephen Wayne Hillier gets another day in court (much to his displeasure I would imagine) this time in front of the full bench of the High Court (news reports).
Stephen was initially convicted by jury trial of the murder of Ana Louise Hardwick but this was overturned on appeal by a full bench of the ACT Court of Appeal (2 to 1) and the conviction and sentence (18 years) set aside. This decision has lead the Crown to appeal to the High Court for the Court of Appeal decision to be reversed and either the original conviction and sentence be reimposed or a new trial ordered.
The Court of Appeal decided that the juries verdict was unsafe and unsatisfactory. The defence at trial raised the prospect of a 3rd person (mystery lover) being responsible and the death was the result of some â€œsexual perversionâ€ going awry and evidence of handcuffs at the scene and some bruising on her wrists consistent with their use was presented in support of this thesis (along with a few other things like traces of semen and the Stephens DNA being on her collar because of secondary transfer as opposed to primary transfer). Thus their Honours concluded â€œthe evidence suggesting that another person may have been present as the time of her death makes it impossible, in our opinion, to conclude that it was open to the jury to find that the guilt of the appellant had been proven beyond reasonable doubt.â€
Today Chief Justice Gleeson and Justice Callinan decided that the matter should be fully argued in front a full bench at a date to be set.