Thursday, December 13, 2007

Three life sentences no parole for father accused of killing

The tragic case of Robert Farquharson highlights the discrimination faced by men in the courts. From what I heard in this case I find it difficult to believe that he is guilty, although it is possible he is and the court's verdict would seem to confirm this. However, he professes his innocence, his ex-wife, family and friends support him and he plans to lodge an appeal.

This website contains details regarding a range of contentions issues in his case

Despite this fact the sentence he received seems excessive, three life sentences with no parole. His depression was not taken into account and the blame is placed directly on him. Mitigating circumstances are not discussed and despite his plea of innocence he is damned by the media.

Compare his treatment with mothers who blatantly admit that they have killed their kids, the difference is staggering. Kathleen Folbigg was convicted of murdering 3 of her children and convicted of manslaughter over the death of a fourth child, but she was only sentenced to 25 years, whereas Robert was given 3 life sentences (75 years)

If Robert committed this crime he deserves to be punished, but the key issue is the way the media has presented him and the underlying discrimination that he has been exposed to. Furthermore, recent information I have seen on the factbeforetheory website has lead me to believe he may very well be innocent.

Research by Dr Phillip Resnick supports the idea that men and women recieve differential treatment from the judicial system when charged with murdering their children. See quote below

"....mothers convicted of murdering their children were hospitalized 68 percent of the time and imprisoned 27 percent of the time, fathers convicted of killing their children were sentenced to prison or executed 72 percent of the time and hospitalized only 14 percent of the time."

Three life sentences for father who killed boys

By Katie Bice November 16, 2007 Herald Sun

VICTORIAN man Robert Farquharson has been sentenced to life in jail with no parole for murdering his three children by driving them into a farm dam.

Farquharson, 38, was given three life sentences after a jury found him guilty of deliberately driving sons Jai, 10, Tyler, 7, and Bailey, 2, into a dam and leaving them to drown.

Justice Philip Cummins said Farquharson had acted without emotion in killing the boys to get revenge on estranged wife Cindy Gambino and make her suffer for the rest of her life.

He said that although Farquharson had led an otherwise good life and suffered moderate depression, he killed his own children and had been contemplating it over a significant time.

"In all circumstances, it's not appropriate to set a minimum term."

Justice Cummins said Farquharson was in total control of the children and they were dependent on him to help them.

The Supreme Court was told that two months before the Father's Day 2005 tragedy, Farquharson had angrily vowed to kill the boys to pay back Ms Gambino.

Mr Farquharson said Ms Gambino would "suffer every Father's Day for the rest of her life" and he would be the last one to have them.

He was bitter that in their separation she had taken the good car, and had also moved on with another man.

Maintenance payments had also left him financially strapped.

The court was told Farquharson had struggled to come to terms with the breakdown, in late 2004, of his four-year marriage to Ms Gambino.

He sought counselling for depression, saying he was finding it difficult to cope with the boys.

The jury was told as he returned the boys to Ms Gambino after an access visit he veered the car off the Princes Highway and into the Winchelsea farm dam before swimming free of the wreckage.

The father of three had pleaded not guilty to the three murders, claiming that his sons had died in a tragic accident, the result of his blacking out at the wheel after a violent coughing fit.

But police who reconstructed the crash told jurors the car's path from the road to the dam involved three steering movements and there were no signs of skid marks or emergency braking.

Doctors said his story was unlikely because cough syncope afflicted fewer than 2 per cent of people.

Farquharson's family members sobbed and shook their heads today.

Outside court, Farquharson's brother-in-law Ian Ross read out a statement on his behalf.

"The court has found me guilty but I did not murder my children," he said in the statement.

"I received a life sentence on the night my boys died so I don't care much about what other people think of me.

"I do care how people remember or think of Jai, Tyler and Bailey because they are three special boys and their lives were very important to me and all their family.

"I will appeal the verdict because I will not have the public believe that Jai, Tyler and Bailey were anything less than the most important part of both my life and the lives of their families.

"I will fight to clear the names of my three boys. They are what keeps me going because there is nothing much else more important to me."

"I cannot change what people think of me now so with all my heart I ask you to respect my children, (ex-wife) Cindy and both our families."

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