On 2 July 2018, the Marshall Liberal government announced it will provide a $2.57 million ex gratia payment to Mr Henry Keogh. This settlement was made as a consequence of Mr Keogh's claim arising from a miscarriage of justice in respect of his 1996 conviction for murder. It was made on the basis of independent legal advice to senior counsel, independent of the Crown Solicitor's Office, and in the best interests of South Australian taxpayers.
In August 1995, Mr Keogh was convicted by a jury of murder, with a sentence of life imprisonment and a non-parole period of 25 years determined by that court. In December 2014, the Court of Criminal Appeal granted permission to Mr Keogh to appeal against his conviction, quashed the conviction and ordered a new trial on the basis that there was fresh and compelling evidence, and Mr Keogh was released from prison pending any new trial.
In November 2015, the Director of Public Prosecutions entered a nolle prosequi in relation to a further prosecution of Mr Keogh. Mr Keogh then submitted a claim against the state government in respect of the period of time he had served in prison for an offence he had not been lawfully convicted of; indeed, that was received in May 2017.
A deed of settlement was finalised on 29 June 2018 as a consequence of the fact Mr Keogh had served some 20 years in prison for a conviction for murder that was subsequently overturned. The legal proceedings involving Mr Keogh have been controversial and divisive, but there is an important legal principle at the basis of this settlement: Mr Keogh was convicted on evidence that the court of appeal deemed unsafe. That evidence was provided by a former forensic pathologist of South Australia, that is, a government official.
I state again that there are no winners in this affair. There is no determination by a court regarding Ms Cheney's death. I fully understand her family's grief and disappointment and anger, but I reiterate that this settlement is the most appropriate course of action at this time; and, as I have stated to the media, I request that the privacy of Ms Cheney's family is respected as I was requested to do so.