Campaigning spirit … years of anguish tormented Michael and Lindy Chamberlain, pictured in 1981, after Azaria’s death.MICHAEL CHAMBERLAIN, whose book, Heart of Stone, a comprehensive account of his case, is published today, is preparing for a possible campaign to have a national inquiry into the administration of justice in Australia.
Dr Chamberlain, who had it confirmed less than three weeks ago that a dingo did take baby Azaria in August 1980, said he would have to get advice before taking his next step.
“It is very hard to create precedent in law, although in my case we have already created precedent in coronial law and forensic analysis,” he said.
There had been reforms in the forensic system, particularly in Victoria where the driving force had been his one-time defence counsel, John Phillips, QC, who became chief justice of Victoria. But he believed a lot more needed to be done.
Dr Chamberlain said that in matters where complex evidence was to be presented, there should be a preliminary “inquisitorial” process where both the Crown and the defence agreed on the facts to be presented to the jury.
“So you are not going to have a situation where the prosecutor is getting up and fanciful claims and backing the jury into a corner where they feel foolish if they go against what he says,” he said.
In his book, published by New Holland, Dr Chamberlain takes the reader through the mass of complex detail surrounding his case over more than 30 years.
He comes across as a rigid, if ethical individual who was so unbending that it harmed him, especially when he could only say “I don’t think so” when asked whether Lindy had buried the jumpsuit with the baby in it.
“I had no knowledge of her having done this,” he writes. “Had she been in my presence every minute of the night, I could have said, ‘Definitely not’ which I had always thought but could not say in all honesty.
“Although it was acknowledged by other lawyers that my answers were ‘technically correct’, in fact ‘models of precision’, what was lacking before a jury was an indignant response of outrage, which in hindsight I should have demonstrated.”
Dr Chamberlain, 68, now back at home in Cooranbong and caring for his ill wife, Ingrid, is planning on more writing and dreams that one day those who end up in the same position will face their accusers across “a level playing field”.
He has said Lindy was “not the same woman” after her three-year incarceration in Darwin’s Berrimah jail, when she was threatened by inmates, and differences between them started as soon as they got back together.
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