Murder of Janine Balding

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Janine Balding

Twenty year-old Janine Kerrie Balding was abducted, raped and murdered by a gang of five - four youths and an adult - on 8 September 1988, in New South Wales, Australia. Balding's murder is often compared to the 1986 murder of Sydney nurse Anita Cobby.

Early life[edit]

Janine Balding was born on 7 October 1967 and lived in Wagga Wagga, New South Wales before moving to Sydney and gaining employment as a teller at a branch of the State Bank on George Street. She was due to marry her fiancé Steven Moran in March 1989. The couple had purchased a house in Berkeley Vale and rented out that house to help finance their wedding.[1]

Abduction and murder[edit]

Balding was abducted from Sutherland railway station car park by a group of homeless persons consisting of four males, and one female.[2] She was driven in her vehicle to the side of the F4 Freeway at Minchinbury in Sydney's west, and during that trip she was partially stripped of her clothing and raped by three of the male offenders. On arriving at Minchinbury she was dragged from her vehicle, gagged with a scarf, hog-tied, then lifted over a fence before being carried into a paddock by two of the males and drowned in a dam.[3]

Convictions[edit]

  • Matthew James Elliott, aged 16 at the time of the murder[4]
  • Bronson Matthew Blessington, aged 14 at the time of the murder
  • Stephen Wayne 'Shorty' Jamieson, aged 22 at the time of the murder
  • Wayne Lindsay Wilmot, aged 15 at the time of the murder
  • Carol Ann Arrow, aged 15 at the time of the murder

In sentencing the defendants, Justice [Newman] said:

To sentence people so young to a long term of imprisonment is of course a heavy task. However, the facts surrounding the commission of these crimes are so barbaric that I believe I have no alternative other than to impose upon [these] young prisoners, even despite their age, a life sentence. So grave is the nature of this case that I recommend that none of the prisoners in the matter should ever be released.[5]

In 2007, Elliott and Blessington were granted an additional appeal based on a missing staple in their files. Essentially, it was argued, because the Crown indictment was not stapled to the court file, it was not "fixed" to the court file as required by law and the judgement was therefore not technically finalised.[6] The High Court of Australia subsequently rejected this ground of appeal.[7]

Sentences[edit]

Defendant From Convictions Notes
Stephen 'Shorty' Jamieson Murder Sentenced to life imprisonment plus 25 years
Matthew Elliott Murder Sentenced to life imprisonment plus 25 years
Bronson Blessington Murder Sentenced to life imprisonment plus 25 years
Wayne Wilmot Accessory to murder Sentenced to nine years and four months imprisonment (later extended by six months for escaping lawful custody; served 7½ years before being paroled; currently incarcerated for multiple parole violations)
Carol Arrow Accessory to murder Sentenced to a three years' good behaviour bond plus the 19 months of time served in custody

Further developments[edit]

In 2003, the NSW Innocence Project (a joint project by the NSW Police Force, the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions and the Privacy Commissioner) used the latest DNA techniques to review the DNA evidence of the crime. This was done because Stephen 'Shorty' Jamieson denied taking part in the murder, and one of the murderers had claimed that it was 'Shorty' Wells (rather than 'Shorty' Jamieson) who had committed the murder.

The DNA results demonstrated that Jamieson's DNA was not found in a rectal swab taken from the victim at autopsy, and neither was the DNA of Wells. Police Minister John Watkins announced that the NSW Innocence Project would be suspended.[8] Subsequently, Arrow stated that Jamieson was one of the murderers.[9][10]

In late October 2014 the United Nations Human Rights Committee ruled that the sentences of Blessington (then 14), and Elliott (16), were in breach of the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and also breached the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. The committee has asked the Australian Federal Government to "review the case and remedy the human rights breach".[11]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Howard, Amanda. "The Murder of Janine Balding". Crimeweb. Archived from the original on 5 March 2009. Retrieved 31 March 2011. 
  2. ^ Prisk, Max; Stephens, Tony; Bowers, Michael (2005). The Big Picture: Diary of a Nation. Sydney: Doubleday. p. 363. ISBN 978-1-74166-574-1. 
  3. ^ Sheppard, Julia (1997). Someone else's daughter: the life and death of Anita Cobby. Sydney: Pan Macmillan. p. 207. ISBN 978-0-7329-0916-1. 
  4. ^ Dean, Anabel (28 November 1988). "Youth Had Knife: Balding Witness". The Sydney Morning Herald (Sydney). Retrieved 31 March 2011. 
  5. ^ Kevin, Greene; Debus, Bob (3 May 2005). "Bronson Blessington Sentence Redetermination Application". Parliament of New South Wales. Sydney. Retrieved 31 March 2011. 
  6. ^ Fife-Yeomans, Janet (9 July 2007). "Crime file review after killer appeal". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 3 October 2012. Retrieved 31 March 2011. 
  7. ^ Jacobsen, Geesche (8 November 2007). "Balding's killers lose bid to appeal". The Sydney Morning Herald. Archived from the original on 5 November 2012. Retrieved 31 March 2011. 
  8. ^ Bolton, Katrina (9 November 2003). "A Question of Innocence". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Archived from the original on 8 April 2011. Retrieved 31 March 2011. 
  9. ^ "Shorty Jamieson Was Killer". The Daily Telegraph. 22 July 2006. 
  10. ^ Webster, Michelle (27 November 2009). "'Killer should stop wasting public money'". The Daily Advertiser. Archived from the original on 30 April 2012. Retrieved 31 March 2011. 
  11. ^ Allard, Tom (22 November 2014). "Teen killers of Janine Balding have received 'cruel, inhumane and degrading' punishment: UN". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 22 November 2014. According to the UN, the prison term and highly remote prospect of parole breached article 7 of the covenant – that "no one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment". The sentence contravened another article in the covenant – that juveniles be punished as minors and that penitentiary systems have rehabilitation as an "essential aim". 

External links[edit]