Main content area

New to LIAC Crime Library

We have added the following cases to the LIAC Crime Library:

R v Gittany

Simon Gittany was charged with the murder of Lisa Cecilia Harnum on 30 July 2011. He pleaded not guilty to that charge. On his application,the judge ordered that he be tried by a judge alone: R v Gittany [2013] NSWSC 1503. 

At the time of Lisa Harnum's death, she and the accused were living together and were engaged to be married. Their apartment was on the 15th floor of a block of apartments in Liverpool St, Sydney known as The Hyde. Miss Harnum fell to her death from the balcony of that apartment. That she died almost instantaneously as a result of injuries sustained in the fall was not in dispute. The principal factual issue in the trial was whether her death was caused by Simon Gittany throwing her off the balcony. The Crown alleges that he deliberately lifted Miss Harnum over the balustrade and 'unloaded' her over the edge. The accused says that she climbed over the balustrade of her own accord and either slipped or allowed herself to fall off the awning on the other side.

This case attracted much public attention and media coverage. It is an interesting case to explore, as there was no jury and the judge in this case found Simon Gittany to be guilty of the murder of Lisa Harnum.

R v Nguyen

Philip Nguyen, 57, pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of Constable Crews, 26, who died from a bullet to the head during what he thought was a drug raid on a car park in Bankstown on September 8, 2010.  As they entered the car park Nguyen jumped from behind a car with a silver pistol and fired several shots.  The trainee detective was hit in the arm by a shot from Nguyen, but was killed by a stray bullet from a fellow officer in the back of the head.  Nguyen was also charged and sentenced for wounding with the intent of causing grievous bodily harm.

In March 2013 Judge Fullerton sentenced for both offences and he would have been eligible for release in 2017.  There was a public outcry that this sentence was too lenient.  The DPP appealed the sentence.  In August the Court of Criminal Appeal quashed this sentence and imposed a new sentence for both offences extending the date he is eligible for release to September 2023.

R v Stenberg

Jonathon Stenberg was sentenced for the murder of Edward ('Ned') Kelly. Both men lived in the rural town of Broadwater in northern NSW. They were neighbours and had a history of fighting.  In June 2012 Stenberg was sawing a tree down on his property and Kelly engaged in a heated exchange about this.  At the end of the argument, Stenberg made threatening remarks about Kelly.

On either 17 or 18 June, Stenberg killed and decapitated Kelly - his head has never been found.  Stenberg later took off and was found by police in early July hiding in bushland near Darwin. Kelly pleaded guilty in September 2012. In the sentencing decision, Justice Schmidt gave a detailed explanation of how he determined the sentence of a minimum of 17 years for the murder and decapitation of Kelly.

The Crimes (High Risk Offenders) Act 2006 (NSW) applies to Stenberg.

R v Lane

On 13 December 2010, by a majority verdict of a jury of twelve, Keli Lane was found guilty of murdering her daughter Tegan. Lane gave birth to Tegan at Auburn Hospital on 12 September 1996. She left the hospital two days later and the baby has never been seen since. None of Lane’s family or friends or her then partner knew she had been pregnant, let alone given birth. On the day she left hospital she attended the wedding of a friend. This was the second time Lane had concealed a pregnancy and birth but she had arranged for the first baby to be adopted. Lane had a third baby, again keeping it secret and arranging for its adoption.

Lane claimed she gave the second baby, Tegan, to the father of the baby, an Andrew Norris or Morris. It was not for a number of years that a social worker realised that this baby was missing and alerted police who then attempted to find both Tegan and her father, to no avail.

After a coronial inquest into Tegan's disappearance, Keli Lane was charged with her murder.

She was sentenced to a non-parole period of 13 years and 5 months. The overall sentence for the murder charge was 18 years.  Lane appealed her sentence in July 2013.

On 13 December 2013 the Court of Criminal Appeal upheld the conviction.