Conviction Overturned For Australian Man Who Confessed To Murdering Gay U.S. Student
Scott White was convicted earlier this year after pleading guilty to murdering Scott Johnson (in fact, he literally screamed that he was guilty in the middle of court), but now that conviction has been overturned. This is insane, and it sounds like the defendant is, too. Via BBC:
An Australian man who confessed to killing US mathematician Scott Johnson in 1988 has had his conviction overturned on appeal.
Scott White was sentenced to jail in May, 33 years after Mr. Johnson’s body was found at the base of cliffs in Sydney. The death was ruled as suicide at the time, but his family have long believed it was a gay hate crime.
Mr. White, who is cognitively impaired, maintains he did not kill Mr. Johnson. His lawyers successfully argued the 52-year-old’s guilty plea was made when he was “confused” and “stressed”.
Mr. White – who was 18 at the time of the alleged murder at North Head in Manly – had surprised his legal team when he declared “I am guilty” during a pre-trial hearing in the New South Wales Supreme Court in January.
Within half an hour, he had signed a statement saying he didn’t kill the 27-year-old and had made the plea because he was worried his ex-wife – who claimed he had confessed the killing to her – would “come after” him.
But the court rejected an attempt by Mr. White’s lawyers to withdraw the plea and he was sentenced to eight years and three months in jail.
On Friday, the NSW Appeal Court found that the application to withdraw the plea should be considered again, setting aside Mr. White’s conviction and sentence.
So, the guilty plea will be successfully withdrawn, and now they’ll start all over again with an actual full trial. How is a jury supposed to ignore the fact that this nut already confessed? Laws are obviously different down under, and White will presumably face the retrial once the appeals court makes their final decision.