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Convicted murderer makes High Court bid for freedom after life sentence



A man who has spent nearly four decades in jail for a crime he says he didn't commit will have an appeal heard by the High Court.

Derek John Bromley and an accomplice, John Karpany, were jailed for life for the 1984 murder of Stephen Docoza after his body was found floating in Adelaide's River Torrens.

His appeal is based on new psychiatric and psychological evidence making evidence given by the prosecution's central witness Gary Carter unreliable.

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Carter suffered from a schizoaffective disorder which Bromley's lawyers say meant there was an "extremely high likelihood" that his account of events was inaccurate.

But in 2018, three SA Court of Criminal Appeal justices ruled the new evidence was not compelling and dismissed Bromley's application to appeal.

In its application to the High Court, the defence argues the lower court conducted a "flawed analysis" of the additional expert evidence and that other witnesses had not put Bromley at the scene of the offence.

"By taking the approach that it did, the Court of Appeal overstated the probative effect of what it said was evidence corroborating Carter," the appeal application said.

Bromley's lawyers argue there was no independent corroboration of the prosecution's only key piece of evidence.

"That is, there is no independent corroboration of Carter's evidence that the applicant was involved in a violent altercation with the deceased, Mr Docoza. And that is the critical issue on this application," they said.

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"The Crown fails to grapple with this fact. In the circumstances, special leave ought to be granted to appeal and the appeal allowed."

The High Court hearing has been set down for two days from Wednesday.

Bromley has been in prison since 1985, having been denied parole because he has maintained his innocence.

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