The man charged with murdering Scott Johnson more than 30 years ago is set to face court in less than two weeks. 

The body of the Sydney-based American national was found at the base of a cliff at Blue Fish Point, near Manly’s North Head on December 10, 1988. 

Scott was aged just 27. Initially, his death was ruled as a suicide by a coronial inquest a year later but the second inquest in June 2012 returned an open finding. 

The matter was referred for a third inquest and, in 2017, the then-NSW Coroner, Michael Barnes, found that Scott had been chased, frightened or pushed off the cliff because he was gay.

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 This week’s episode of the ABC’s Australian Story dived into the campaign that kept the case of Scott Johnson in the public eye, spearheaded by his brother Steve. 

He had assembled a team of investigators and lawyers, journalists and police officers using his vast resources, dubbing the campaign ‘Team Scott’.

“Over time, the team grew to 10 or 12 people in the United States and Australia,” Steve Johnson told Australian Story from his home in the US.

“Fortunately the case attracted a lot of people who just wanted to help because they thought this was important.”

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 In December 2018, the NSW Government increased the $100,000 reward to $1 million before Steve announced a further $1 million reward earlier this year.

In May, Steve received a three-word message from NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller that read, “Offender in custody.”

Following investigations, Strike Force Welsford detectives had arrested a 49-year-old man at Lane Cove on May 12, before a search warrant was executed at a nearby home.

The ABC reported that the now 50-year-old man charged with murdering Scott Johnson will appear before the court on September 8.

“He has not entered a plea or applied for bail,” Australian Story said. 

To watch the full episode on Steve’s fight for justice, click here

If you or anyone you know is seeking help, contact QLife on 1800 184 527, Lifeline on 13 11 14, or beyondblue on 1300 22 4636.

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