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  • Writer's pictureChris Brook

Road to Damnation: the Wrongful Conviction of Robert Farquharson

The case that drew me into looking at Forensic "Science" and its deep flaws was that of Robert Farquharson, convicted of murdering his three young sons by driving them into a dam. Farquharson remains incarcerated in maximum security, where he has been since 2010. My book on the case has finally been published (see here on where to get it.) I will not preview the book here, but instead I quote from Australia´s leading expert on wrongful convictions, Dr. Bob Moles, who was the driving force in freeing Henry Keogh, and in changing laws to allow for further appeals in South Australia, laws that have now been copied in Tasmania and Victoria. These laws will open a new avenue for appeal for Farquharson. Here is what Dr. Moles said of my book:

The book Road to Damnation is an excellent analysis of a potential wrongful conviction case. There is no doubt the underlying circumstances arise from a terrible tragedy - the deaths of three young children. But is it possible that our instinctive response to such an awful calamity has caused us to mis-read the circumstances giving rise to it?  Using the tools of scientific and psychological research, Chris Brook argues that to be the case. His calm, careful and skillful deconstruction of each of the damning elements of the case has caused me to reconsider my confidence in the conclusion arrived at by the jury.  Anyone who works in the area of wrongful convictions, or is interested to learn more about the circumstances giving rise to them, will benefit by reading this book.  Statements by Farquarson before the incident and his conduct afterwards certainly gave rise to suspicion about what had occurred. But what had occurred?  Is it possible that the 'suspicions' caused us to misread the science of what had happened? Or did the reaction to the event itself cause people to reconstruct the circumstances to support the narrative of 'evil intent'?  Whatever your view as to the correctness of the outcome in this case, everyone will benefit by learning more about the way in which psychology and science can have a distorting or potentially beneficial influence on each other.  The tools for analysis utilised in this book will be of great assistance in many other wrongful conviction cases.

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