Keli Lane judge expresses doubts over conviction

Martin Zavan, ninemsn
9:37am November 24, 2012
Keli Lane outside court in 2010. (AAP)
Keli Lane outside court in 2010. (AAP)

The judge who presided over the trial of Keli Lane, who was found guilty of murdering her baby daughter Tegan in December 2010, has expressed doubts about her conviction.

Former Supreme Court Justice Anthony Whealy said he thought the case would be difficult to prove as a body was never found and ''it did not make sense to me for a mother to do that", he told the Sydney Morning Herald.

Whealy has also revealed that the trial was so draining that he requested that it be his last.

"The Keli Lane trial was such an emotional, harrowing trial, that I really felt at the end I could do no more.''

However, instead of retiring he was offered a promotion and worked at the Court of Appeal for 18 months before retiring in June.

Keli Lane, a former Australian water polo player, was convicted of the 1996 murder of her baby in late 2010.

Justice Anthony Whealy in 2008. (AAP)
Justice Anthony Whealy in 2008. (AAP)

The trial revealed that she had had a number of other secret pregnancies, which she hid from her family and fiancé.

Lane had two abortions and two of the children were adopted.

Two days after giving birth to Tegan on September 12, 1996, she left hospital and attended a friend's wedding a short time later.

The baby had disappeared and a body has never been found.

Despite Lane's conviction, Whealy said the case "wasn't without its gaps".

"I wasn't, for myself, convinced that the Crown had proved its case. It wasn't my call, it was the jury's call, so my task was to try and make sure that the jury gave the woman a fair trial.''

The former Justice was cautious in his comments as Lane is appealing her conviction but said he believed that lies Lane had told about her previous pregnancies could have acted "prejudicially against her".

"I felt that really there was a question mark there over the outcome for that reason, but it will be for others to decide whether that is so or not.''

Source: Sydney Morning Herald

Author: Martin Zavan, Approving editor: Nick Pearson.

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