Today I am most grateful to have been released after over 12 years in custody. It has been an overwhelming experience for me and those close to me. After pleading not guilty at Trial and using every appeal avenue I had available to me, it was only through the bravery of the Attorney General’s decision that I was able to have my matter referred back for an Appeal. To the Honourable (Attorney-General) Jill Hennessy I am eternally grateful.
I have been so lucky, throughout this experience, to have people who believed in me and fought for me. I would really like to thank Ruth Parker, my solicitor, and the whole team at Galbally Rolfe. Ruth has lived this case with me for over a decade. She fought my appeals with me after my conviction and has been reviewing my case ever since. Even in 2015, she was still pursuing our avenues even though we kept coming up against blocked paths. And a special thanks for the counselling also!
I would like to thank Carly Lloyd and Paul Smallwood, my barristers, for their tireless work and support. I was lucky enough to have Carly with me when I was charged with this crime. Today I was just as lucky to have her there when I was acquitted. Ruth, Carly and Paul all jumped on board and supported me at a time when no one knew the extent of the damage that had been done by Nicola Gobbo and the Victoria Police.
I want to thank my lawyers’ families for the sacrifices that they have made so that Ruth, Carly and Paul could work on my case. I know that you have all made financial and personal sacrifices in order to help me and I am so grateful to you all, including the kids who have had to put up with their mothers being on the phone to me a lot!
To Bret Walker SC and Ruth Shann, thank you for agreeing to become involved in my matter if required. Your willingness to do so meant the world to me. I also want to acknowledge and express my gratitude to the late Mr (Stephen) Shirrefs SC, whose diligence and passion has assisted me to this day, as well as the team who supported him.
I would like to thank my parents, immediate family, my very close friends (you know who you are) and everyone who has supported me throughout the years, in a variety of ways. I will be eternally grateful for your relentless support over the years.
To my beautiful partner, who has loved me and supported me, who hasn’t missed a week of visits, I cannot put into words how much you mean to me. You have had to serve this sentence with me and our lives have been on hold. We have our time now and I look forward to our future together.
I understand that there is a victim in this matter and his family. To the Peirce family, I am sorry for your loss. I hope that you get the appropriate support and care that you need, because I understand that this process will have been just as traumatic for you as it was for me.
After serving 12 years for a crime that I did not commit, I am looking forward to getting on with my life as a private citizen. I am sure that there will be more revelations from the Royal Commission, which may give all of us affected some answers, even though we may never know the full truth about what’s actually happened.
A lot has been said about me, which I had no control over. I think that many people will think that I have come out of prison bitter and angry. I haven’t. I have been lucky enough to have people who have supported me and fought for me.
Right now, I just want some privacy to be with my partner and my family.
Thank you to everyone who has shown an interest in my case.