Today I am very grateful that I was released after more than 12 years of release. It was an overwhelming experience for me and my loved ones. After I had not pleaded guilty during the trial and had used all the means of appeal available to me, it was only through the courage of the Attorney General's decision that I could have my case referred back to an appeal. I am eternally grateful to the honorable (Advocate General) Jill Hennessy.
I have been so lucky to have people through this experience who believed in me and fought for me. I would like to thank Ruth Parker, my lawyer and the entire team at Galbally Rolfe. Ruth has lived with me for more than ten years. She fought my objections to me after my conviction and has since been reviewing my case. Even in 2015, she still followed our paths, even though we continued to encounter blocked paths. And also a special thank you for the guidance!
I want to thank Carly Lloyd and Paul Smallwood, my lawyers, for their tireless work and support. I was lucky to have Carly with me when I was accused of this crime. Today I was just as lucky to have her there when I was acquitted. Ruth, Carly and Paul all jumped on board and supported me at a time when no one knew the extent of the damage done by Nicola Gobbo and the Victoria police.
I want to thank the families of my lawyers for the sacrifices they have made so that Ruth, Carly and Paul could work on my case. I know that you have all made financial and personal sacrifices to help me and I am very grateful to you all, including the children who have had to endure that their mother was on the phone with me a lot!
Bret Walker SC and Ruth Shann, thank you for agreeing to get involved in my case if necessary. Your willingness to do this meant the world to me. I also want to express my gratitude and thanks to the late Mr. (Stephen) Shirrefs SC, whose zeal and passion have helped me to this day, as well as the team that supported him.
I want to thank my parents, immediate family, my very good friends (you know who you are) and everyone who has supported me in different ways over the years. I will be eternally grateful for your continued support throughout the years.
To my beautiful partner, who loved me and supported me, who did not miss a week of visits, I cannot express how much you mean to me. You had to sit this sentence with me and our life has been postponed. We now have our time and I look forward to our future together.
I understand that there is a victim in this case and his family. To the Peirce family, I am sorry for your loss. I hope you get the right support and care you need, because I understand that this process will have been just as traumatic for you as it was for me.
After serving 12 years for a crime I did not commit, I look forward to continuing my life as a private person. I am sure there will be more revelations from the Royal Commission, which can give us some answers, even though we may never know the full truth about what actually happened.
Much has been said about me over which I had no control. I think many people will think that I have come out of jail bitter and angry. I do not have. I was lucky to have people who supported me and fought for me.
Right now I just want some privacy with my partner and my family.
Thank you to everyone who has shown an interest in my case.
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