Saving Andrew MallardDocumentary | 2006 | ABC
Englishman Andrew Mallard is serving a life sentence in an Australian maximum-security prison in the most isolated city in the world for a murder many say, he did not commit. Saving Andrew Mallard is the story of a man allegedly betrayed by the West Australian justice system and how three women set out to ‘save’ him from a lifetime in prison.
It documents a ‘David and Goliath’ tale of how a small team of supporters can force the justice system to take another look.
Twelve years ago, in the leafy Perth suburb of Mosman Park, an attractive middle aged woman was murdered in her jewelry shop. Bashed about the head some twelve times with a blunt object, police described it as a frenzied attack.
Andrew Mallard was living in the area at the time. With no money, low self-esteem and a psychiatric disorder, Andrew was passing himself off as an undercover cop and smoking a lot of marijuana obtained from the proceeds of petty theft. He’d emmigrated to Australia from England with his parents as a child – to the land of sunshine and hope. Nothing could prepare him for what was about to happen next.
The police bring Andrew in for a total of twelve hours of questioning and claim he confesses. Andrew says he never confessed. He was successfully prosecuted on the strength of this so-called ‘confession’ – un-signed handwritten notes in detectives’ notepad, plus a bizarre 20-minute interview in which Andrew gives a third-person “theory” about how the crime may have been committed. He is sentenced to thirty years life imprisonment.
Andrew’s family and friends work tirelessly to clear his name and get him released. When his heartbroken father Roy dies of cancer, it is left to his ageing mother Grace and feisty sister Jacqui to continue the rescue effort. Along the way they enlist a colorful array of supporters ; investigative journalist Colleen Egan, MP John Quigley and QC Malcolm McCusker all of whom work unpaid to try and prove Andrew’s innocence.
Almost a decade after Andrew is convicted, the “Rescue Team” present fresh evidence to the Supreme Court of Appeal. They argue that a sub-standard police investigation led to the wrong man being arrested, and that a prosecutor hell-bent on securing a conviction withheld crucial police evidence. And for the first time in Australian legal history, the results of a lie detector test are considered in court.
In a decision that shocks Perth’s small legal community, the appeal is turned down. The last recourse is the High Court of Australia.
Saving Andrew Mallard is a compelling story of how a small team of ‘ordinary folk’ force the justice system to take another look.