Sydney, Australia–We recently discussed Fred Martens case, described by Australian federal MP Bob Katter as “without doubt, the worst case of flagrant and provable injustice that I can remember.” In the case, the father was in the middle of a custody battle and the false sex crimes charges were apparently orchestrated by his ex-wife. Katter says, “It is clear-cut that he is innocent…The people involved should be absolutely ashamed of themselves.” To learn more, see my blog post on the case here.
There’s another thing which really struck me about this case. Let’s assume for the sake of argument that the case is as it appears — the ex-wife, as part of her custody dispute with Martens, arranged for him to be framed up on the sex crime charges. Given the extreme poverty of Papua New Guinea, I don’t imagine that it would be hard to pay a 14-year-old New Guinea girl to lie in front of the court.
But think about it this way — this crime (meaning the ex-wife’s crime) took place over a long stretch of time, and continues to this day. Think of it — if a person murders another person, or commits a serious crime against them, it’s usually something that was planned and perpetrated over a very short period of time. Even if the crime was premeditated and well-planned, it still occurred over a fairly short period of time.
Contrast this with the ex-wife’s crime here. Not only did she go through extraordinary measures to have her ex-husband put in prison in 2006, but she has known ever since what she did and has allowed it to stand. Meaning that from 2005, when she probably began, up until now, the middle of 2008, she has been aware of her crime, could have acted to end it, but chose not to. Meaning that for three years she has been perpetrating this crime.
To me this multiplies the crime considerably. There are plenty of men who might get in a bar fight and stab somebody and regret it later. This is a despicable crime for which they should be imprisoned, no doubt. But think of this — this crime occurred not only with extreme premeditation, but also with years of, for lack of a better word, “post-meditation.”
Is this legally considered to be an aggravating circumstance? Is this something that the law pays significant attention to? If anybody knows, particularly some of my readers who are lawyers, I invite you to weigh in.