A critical new pathology report could show Jamie Koeleman is innocent of a murder he has spent more than 10 year in jail for.
The long-awaited pathology report has been submitted in Koelemen’s petition for mercy.
Justice for Jamie author Frits Maaten, who has been campaigning for Koeleman’s release for more than nine years, revealed details of the report to Southern Star this week.
In it, eminent independent forensic pathologist Dr Byron Collins, who conducted a pro bono examination of the case, backs many of the claims made by Maaten in his book that evidence used to convict Koeleman was -˜problematic’.
-œI’m pleased that Dr Collins’ report qualifies or confirms what I’ve been saying all along, Maaten told Southern Star.
Koeleman was jailed in 1999 for the murder of gay businessman Francis Barry Arnoldt, who was found stabbed to death in a Brunswick park in October 1991.
In 2007 Maaten was invited by Attorney-General Rob Hulls to submit a petition for mercy to the Justice Department.
Koeleman has served 10 years of a minimum 15-year-sentence for Arnoldt’s murder, but has always maintained his innocence while Maaten and others have campaigned for his release.
If the petition for mercy is upheld, the state governor has the power to grant Koeleman an early release by fresh appeal, a retrial or pardon.
Maaten has been piecing together evidence since his book was published, however, his last request for the pathology report was delayed 18 months after Victoria Police refused to hand over photos of the victim needed for the pathology review.
It took four VCAT hearings before Dr Collins was allowed to view the photos.
Among the allegations put forward in the petition for mercy, Maaten claims the initial coroner’s inquest into Arnoldt’s murder was -˜misled’. He also claims Koeleman’s confession is not consistent with the facts of the case.
In the new pathology report, Dr Collins says the victim’s injury was probably caused by a single knife thrust, not two as claimed by Koeleman in his confession. He further states that the wound is consistent with one caused by the blade twisting in the body as it moved, not two knife injuries.
Further, Dr Collins states bruises found on the victim’s upper arms and left lower leg could have been caused by the body being carried. The theory Arnoldt’s body was carried to the location where it was found is one of Maaten’s hypotheses and is inconsistent with Koeleman’s confession.
Dr Collins’ report also states blood found at the scene could have been there -œeither accidentally … or by intent, in order to falsify a crime scene.
Maaten alleges there is a lack of -˜hard evidence’ to link Koeleman to Arnoldt’s murder and that his confession does not match the unique circumstances of the crime, and the knife allegedly used was larger than the wounds on the victim.
In recent weeks Southern Star has been contacted by other people, including a former police officer, claiming to have information about the case.
Maaten said, whatever the outcome of the petition for mercy, he had done all he could over the last nine years.
-œI’m not even fighting it for Jamie anymore. I’m fighting it for justice -” it just needs to be done, he said.