Another man has come forward to cast doubt on Jamie Koeleman’s conviction for the murder of gay businessman Francis Barry Arnoldt.
Ray Gardiner, a former Transit Patrol officer, has written to Attorney General Rob Hulls claiming another man serving time for a similar crime should be investigated as a possible suspect.
In the letter Gardiner states that as a transit officer in the early -˜90s he arrested a man for a stabbing robbery almost identical to the crime Koeleman was convicted of.
-œDespite the police at the trial of Koeleman saying no other crimes of a similar nature occurred in the area, [a] knife attack at a public toilet occurred less than three kilometres away, Gardiner wrote.
The Justice Department is already considering a petition for mercy over Koeleman’s conviction by author Frits Maaten.
Koeleman has served more than 10 years in jail for the murder of gay businessman Francis Barry Arnoldt, who was found stabbed to death in a Brunswick park in 1991.
In his book Justice for Jamie, Maaten alleges a number of serious flaws in the prosecution’s case. He recently submitted the results of independent pathology tests to the department which Maaten claims cast further doubt on Koeleman’s conviction.
Gardiner said he arrested the man at a known Frankston beat when he was wanted for a stabbing assault in a Fitzroy toilet block. Arnoldt’s murder occurred just two days after the said man was released from prison for the Fitzroy toilet block attack.
-œI am not saying [the man] committed this crime, but these facts, along with the police statement, should be considered when making a decision, Gardiner said.
The man named in Gardiner’s letter is currently serving time for a separate 1996 stabbing murder.
Gardiner said his memory of the arrest was prompted after reading Maaten’s book earlier this year.
-œAll I’m saying is, he is a person of interest who should have been interviewed by police given the circumstances, the similarities in the nature of the crime and the time frame and the fact he was let out of jail two days before the Arnoldt murder, Gardiner said. -œ…there’s certainly not enough evidence to send [Koeleman] to jail.
The department said it would view Gardiner’s information in conjunction with other evidence submitted by Maaten in the petition for mercy submission.
It is expected to take several months before any decision is made.