15 May Innocent, Until Proven Guilty?
The Queen v Chamberlain is one of the most prolific cases in Australian history; it is prolific for all the wrong reasons. We are dumbstruck by the sheer miscarriage of justice and the attempt by the state to close the case amid public scrutiny over actually weighing up the facts. The 1984 case is by far one of the biggest black marks in Australian Legal System.
The case is basically built on zero forensic evidence and essentially on the prosecution’s bias which ultimately jailed Lindy Chamberlain for 28 years. For 28 years, this woman was in prison while still experiencing the loss of her nine-week-old daughter, Azaria Chamberlain. The prosecution did little to look at the facts and had already decided that Lindy was guilty before the trial started. The prosecution did everything in their power to dismiss any form of defence that Lindy’s attorneys put forward to show that the State can deliver quick and apt judgement on the guilty. But the problem was that Lindy Chamberlain was never guilty, and the prosecution couldn’t care less. Eyewitness accounts that clearly proved that her story that a dingo carried and mauled her baby were discounted; Forensic testimony was thrown out the window because it didn’t fit the narrative that the prosecution was pitching. These are just some of the abuse of power that the prosecution used to get the verdict they thought was necessary.
Lindy Chamberlain could have had a better life if the prosecution took the evidence seriously, but the worst part of this case was the blatant oversight that the prosecution and the state took. In 1986, evidence was found that Azaria was indeed mauled by a dingo, but the prosecution stayed silent to save face. They stayed silent for 26 more years till the coroner’s office proved that Azaria indeed was killed by a dingo. Lindy Chamberlain was rightly acquitted and released following the coroner’s report.
Let’s take a moment to realise what has happened. A young woman lost her entire life because the prosecution wanted to look good. A young woman was accused of murdering her baby because, in the eyes of the prosecution, she was guilty. A young woman was jailed for 28 years because the prosecution abused their power. Our research ends there; we don’t know what happened to Lindy Chamberlain after that. But we hope she got a good night’s sleep after being released from prison. And we hope that the team of prosecutors realise that they robbed and prisoned a young woman because they thought she was guilty. What was that line again? Innocent, until proven guilty; well Lindy Chamberlain was never proved to be guilty, but she lost 28 years of her life. Sometimes the truth can be a lot weirder than fiction, but this isn’t a case of that; it is a case of sheer robbery, the robbery of life.