Bill D'Arcy is innocent

The Supporters Group
Bill D'Arcy supporters consist of

1. Those who believe, because of the extensive pre-trial publicity, that Bill D'Arcy had no chance of a fair trial. And/or

2. Those who believe, because of a plethora of uncorroborated "evidence", contradictory allegations and conflicting "evidence", he should never have been found guilty. And/or

3. Those who believe that because of evidence given at the trials, evidence suppressed by the police, and evidence which has been clarified or uncovered since, that he was not guilty of any offence even the lesser charges. And/or

4, Those who believe that the consistent refusal of all government and legal authorities to ignore Bill D'Arcy's request for an independent enquiry into his case, given the circumstances, is reprehensible.

An Inquiry into Police Trawling
The British House of Commons - 2002 -
and how it relates to the case of Bill D'Arcy.

Police Trawling Report -House of Commons

Police Trawling -the Ely case

Police Trawling -Richard Webster

Police Trawling - a witchhunt

(A fuller explanation is available from the British House of Commons Report.)

A Definition of 'Trawling' (quotes from Report)

11. Police methods for evidence lie at the root of the concern, expressed to us, that trawling produces unreliable evidence.

12.  'Trawling' is not a technical term, rather it is a convenient label used to describe the police practice of making unsolicited approaches to former residents from many of the institutions under investigation. In any investigation, including those into past institutional abuse, the police will contact persons named by the complainant in his or her statement of complaint. Trawling, as we understand it, refers to the process when the police go one step further and contact potential witnesses who have not been named or even mentioned. In a trawl, the police will contact all, or a proportion of, those who were resident at the institution under investigation during the period when the abuse was alleged to have occurred.
Further down in the report it deals with the inherent problems of police trawling and its propensity to lead to false accusations and wrongful convictions:

The dangers of trawling for evidence
14.  The concerns about trawling were shared by a number of those who gave evidence to this inquiry. David Rose, Special Investigations Reporter for The Observer, told us that:

The problem with trawling as it is now carried out is that it is an absolutely unregulated process and it is a process almost tailor-made to generate false allegations.[11]

Later concerns in the report raised the issue of methods used to interview persons whose names came up during a trawl.

Interviewing potential complainants and other witnesses

35.  More serious concerns have been raised in relation to the conduct of police interviews with potential witnesses.[50] Claire Curtis-Thomas MP has said:

"The police will plant suggestions producing narratives that fit their case rather than the truth. What a kind of indirect collusion which develops through witnesses' unrecorded contact with members of the same police team".[51]

36.  A former resident of a children's home, who was interviewed by South Wales Police on three occasions, described his experience to us. He said:

"During those interviews I was amazed that the police openly named suspects who were known to me and they confirmed that these suspects had been named by other former residents. Even though I made the police aware of my medical condition (I am epileptic) they continued to pressurise me into making a complaint, which I did not do. I found the whole experience very distressing and I felt that I was being bullied by the police into making a complaint.
I was horrified when I was asked during the interview,
'Did Mr B touch you up?, did he touch your penis? other people have complained that he did'.
At this moment I was appalled and explained that nothing of that nature went on at the school."

37.  Other witnesses have given further examples of occasions when the police have named suspects or asked leading questions during interview.[53] In addition, we have heard of instances in which the police have shown photographs to potential witnesses[54] and/or discussed compensation.[55] We have been told that the police often make repeat visits to witnesses before the final statement of their testimony is drawn up.[56] We have also heard that in some cases the police will put the suspect's rebuttal of the allegations to the complainants, thereby undermining any future cross-examination of the complainant at trial.[57]

It is worth quoting and commenting upon those of the Key Conclusions & Recommendations (below) of the Report that relate directly to the D'Arcy investigation; had such recommendations been in operation in Queensland at the time, the outcome may have been that Bill D'Arcy was never been charged at all.

Further Excerpts from the House of Commons Report 2002:

3. We believe there is a strong argument, in cases of this kind, for introducing a general requirement to record police interviews of complainants and other significant witnesses on video or audio tape. Where a video-recording is impracticable, we recommend that the interview be recorded on audio tape, as a mandatory requirement (paragraph 45).

5. We recommend that resources are channelled into researching and piloting the use of "statement validity analysis" as a tool for evaluating the credibility of witness testimony in complex historical child abuse cases (paragraph 50).

9. We note that failure to disclose evidence inconvenient to the prosecution case was a factor in many—if not most—proven miscarriages of justice and we express the hope that the recommendations made by these various studies are acted upon without delay. We look forward to hearing from the Home Office on this point (paragraph 72).

11. Whilst we accept that the criminal justice system needs to be more sensitive to the needs of victims and witnesses, we are concerned that the proposed removal of safeguards for the defendant, set out in Justice for All, may further prejudice the defendant in historical child abuse trials. We are particularly concerned about the proposed relaxation of the rules of evidence, which may allow for greater admission of 'similar fact' evidence. In our view, given the sensitive and difficult nature of investigating allegations of historical child abuse, there is a strong case for establishing special or additional safeguards for the exclusion of prejudicial evidence and/or severance of multiple abuse charges (paragraph 83).

15. We suggest that the statutory reporting restrictions, which preserve the anonymity of victims of sexual offences, are extended to persons accused of historical child abuse. We believe that the restrictions should operate to protect the accused until the date of conviction, with provision to lift the restrictions by court order. Although there is a case for extending this recommendation to all sexual offences, for which the victim is granted anonymity, this goes beyond our remit for this inquiry (paragraph 99).

Trawling in the D'Arcy Case

There is no doubt that Officer xxxxxxx XXXXXXX of the Queensland Police and his team conducted a huge trawling operation that involved using most, if not all, the questionable techniques that were to be discredited by the House of Commons Report.

On numerous occasions, Bill D'Arcy was contacted by former students and/or their parents after police had been to them. Their common complaints were such as these: when they claimed that no abuse ever occurred and that if it had, they would have witnessed it at first hand or heard about it from others at the time, they were subjected to extreme pressure to change their minds ('to get on the bandwagon' as one of them expressed it); they were accused of being liars; they were belittled; a few who had 'baggage' such as a minor conviction of themselves or a relative, were advised it would be in their best interests to stay away from Bill D'Arcy or anyone connected with him.

Statements were rarely taken from these people, but if their interview were recorded in police running sheets, they were usually dismissed with a comment such as, "X had nothing to add to the investigation". Surely these people who sat day by day in the school room with the complainants did have information to offer; it was simply that these police were hell-bent on convicting Bill D'Arcy.