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New bid to overturn

Mason murder verdict

Aja Styles
March 3, 2011 – 2:24PM

A prominent Perth barrister is advocating the release of convicted murderer Arthur Greer, saying fresh evidence has since surfaced proving he was not responsible for killing and burying Sharon Mason in 1983.

Greer, who is now 73, was jailed in 1994 for the 14-year-old school girl’s murder on the grounds that her remains were found on a Mosman Park site where he had owned a dress shop at the time of her disappearance.

The remains were excavated by building workers nine years after she went missing from the area and were found on top of plumbing pipes, partially intact with flesh still clinging to the bones.

The prosecution case relied on the theory that Greer had buried her body, despite it being a well-frequented area, by lifting the floor of his backyard shed in order to dig the deep hole.

Law students at Edith Cowan University, under the auspice of the Innocence Project set up in WA in 2006 to exonerate wrongly-convicted felons, have since traced the manufacturing year of the pipes and utilised aerial surveillance to demonstrate the shed’s location was not over the burial site.

Tom Percy QC, who is on the board of the Innocence Project, said the pipes were manufactured many years after the girl’s disappearance and long after Greer had moved from his shop.

“There was no evidence at all apart from his very, very bad (criminal) record which was tied to running someone down and assaulting his wife,” he said.

“The trial was run on his record because the evidence was threadbare.”

He said the body may have been refrigerated and stored and buried on the site at a later date, which “would account for a lot of the flesh still being on (the body)”.

“Which totally removes him from the location, so it could not possibly be Greer,” Mr Percy said.

He said Greer had never been granted parole since becoming eligible in 2001 because he refused to take responsibility for the murder.

“He says ‘I can’t admit guilt on this because I didn’t do it’,” Mr Percy said.

Barrister Jonathan Davies is working pro bono on Greer’s behalf and has applied to the Prisoners Review Board to grant him parole to assist him to prepare the new evidence for an appeal.

The decision will ultimately rest with the Attorney-General Christian Porter, who has to sign off on any recommendation for parole.

Mr Davies has overturned the convictions against John Button and Darryl Beamish over the Eric Edgar Cooke serial killings from 1959 to 1963.

Greer also has the backing of Supreme Court Chief Justice Wayne Martin, who worked pro bono as a lawyer at the time of his conviction to take the appeal to the High Court because the evidence was so limited.

“It’s awful thinner than (Andrew) Mallard.. He was never convicted of wilful murder but murder, which means he killed her but didn’t mean to by causing her serious harm, back in the day when wilful murder was still a charge. How do you deliver a guilty verdict based on that?,” Mr Percy said.

“It was the most ridiculous verdict ever known. It’s been a devil that has perplexed legal experts for years.

“We find the conviction absolutely bewildering.”

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