3 February 2017 was an auspicious day in the history of criminal law. It marked 50 years from the date of Australia’s last execution – the last exercise of capital punishment in this country.
On 3 February 1967, Ronald John Ryan was hanged. Even today, there are doubts as to his guilt. He was executed at a time when the then-Premier of Victoria, Sir Henry Bolte was running a “law and order” campaign in the middle of an election.
Prior to this, for 35 cases in a row where capital punishment was ordered, the sentence was commuted. Ronald Ryan’s was not.
Ryan’s execution, and indeed the doubt about his conviction, started a mass movement in Australia that led to the eventual abolition of capital punishment in all states. The death penalty was finally completely outlawed in Australia with the passing of the Crimes Legislation Amendment (Torture Prohibition and Death Penalty Abolition) Bill 2009 (Cth.)
Read more about Ryan’s case in this Sydney Morning Herald article, first published on 3 February 1967.
Greg Martin, principal of Martin Bullock Lawyers, says:
I am proud to be a lawyer. I am proud to defend people accused of crimes. I am proud to protect the rights of individuals and ensure the state does not impose its power on individuals. I am also proud of my fellow lawyers who stand up for justice against biased and partisan imposition of unfair laws.
If you need a lawyer to look after your rights, call Martin Bullock Lawyers on 02 9687 9322.