State's most infamous trial under spotlight

Monday, 27 March 2006

A who's who of the legal and media world, including prominent human rights lawyer Geoffrey Robertson QC and High Court Judge Michael Kirby, will take part in an all-day review at the University of Adelaide of the infamous Rupert Max Stuart trial.

'Politics, Power, Justice and the Media: controversies from the Stuart Case' will take place in Elder Hall, University of Adelaide from 8.45 am to 5.30 pm, this Saturday 1 April.

The 1959 conviction of Rupert Max Stuart for the murder of Mary Hattam and the subsequent appeals and Royal Commission remain the most discussed criminal case in SA's history. The case is regarded as a turning point in South Australian politics and launched Rupert Murdoch's rise to international fame and prominence.

Other prominent participants will include: publishing legend Richard Walsh; high profile editor Alan Howe;
criminologist Professor Paul Wilson; author of 'The Stuart Case' Professor Ken Inglis; Walkley-Award investigative journalist Ms Estelle Blackburn; capital punishment opponent and daughter of Sir Thomas Playford, Dr Margaret Fereday; and Ms Helen Langley, first cousin of Mary Hattam.

Rupert Max Stuart was an itinerant Aboriginal from Central Australia. His conviction was based on a typed confession in precise, educated English.

The one-day seminar will show extracts from the films and documentaries made on the case, including Craig Lahiff's feature film 'Black and White' starring Robert Carlyle. A variety of contemporary legal and social issues sparked by the case will be discussed by panellists including public pressure to locate and convict someone; preparation for the trial including legal aid and resources, language difficulties and representation; confessions and the use of forensic evidence; appeals, media campaigns and fresh evidence; the intrusion of politics into the legal arena; capital punishment, rehabilitation, probation and parole, and freedom of the press.

It is being arranged by the University of Adelaide, the John Bray Chapter, University of Adelaide Law School and the Law Society of SA.

More information, including ticket sales, can be obtained from the University of Adelaide Development and Alumni Office on 8303 6356.


Contact Details

Media Team
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 0814