Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Lindy Chamberlain: Case Revisited 30 Years On

It was Australia's most celebrated murder case, dividing the nation and igniting fierce debate even years on.

Now it has emerged that the jury at Lindy Chamberlain's trial was similarly spilt - and, as in the wider community, the women were more convinced of her guilt than the men.

According to a 30-year-old police file, all three female jurors believed that Chamberlain killed her baby daughter, Azaria, who disappeared from the family's tent near Uluru (then called Ayers Rock) in 1980. At least four of the nine men, by contrast, had to be persuaded to return a guilty verdict.

In a hitherto secret record of the jury's deliberations, the foreman wrote of one woman: "Doesn't believe dingo" - a reference to Chamberlain's claim that a dingo snatched Azaria from their tent.

Sentenced to life at the end of the seven-week trial in Darwin in 1982, Chamberlain was released three years later following the discovery of her baby's matinee jacket at the base of Uluru. Her conviction was overturned in 1988.

The jury's notes, salvaged from 145 boxes of police documents and exhibits relating to the case, were reported in News Ltd newspapers yesterday.

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