Henry Keogh asked politicians what price they would put on 20 years “stolen from you”. (ABC News: Leah MacLennan)
Henry Keogh has told a parliamentary committee that $2.57 million is not enough to make up for the 20 years he spent in prison for the 1994 murder of his then-fiancee Anna-Jane Cheney.
- Henry Keogh convicted in 1995 of murdering his fiancee Anna-Jane Cheney
- His conviction was set aside in 2014 and he received $2.57m in compensation in July
- He told a parliamentary committee the money was not enough to make up for his incarceration
Mr Keogh had his conviction set aside in 2014, after the Court of Criminal Appeal found forensic evidence provided by discredited pathologist Colin Manock was flawed.
Soon after winning this year’s election, the South Australian Government decided to award Mr Keogh the ex-gratia payment, saying it was avoiding the risk of civil action.
Mr Keogh gave evidence to the parliamentary inquiry investigating the payment, confirming he initially asked for $6 million.
He said the smaller figure was not enough to make up for what he lost while in prison.
“More than 7,000 sunrises and sunsets that I never saw,” he said.
“Can you sit here today and even contemplate the everyday joys and happiness that you take for granted that I missed out on?
Pathologist Colin Manock is unable to give evidence at a retrial for health reasons. (ABC News)
“The marriage of children, the birth of grandchildren, my own advancement in the workplace.
“I believe I’m owed a debt for this nightmare, as is my family, as is Anna-Jane, who deserves better to be falsely remembered as the woman killed by the man she loved, and the man who loved her.”
Mr Keogh said the time and money spent on the inquiry into his payment would be better spent investigating other miscarriages of justice in the state.
“The Labor Government protected and defended Manock, and perhaps themselves, behind a wall of silence, denials and obstruction,” he said.
“You’ve called this inquiry to ask why I was given an ex-gratia payment. I ask why not? What price would you put on 20 years on your life if that had been stolen from you?”
Labor believes Mr Keogh should not have received compensation.
SA Police Commissioner Grant Stevens said in August it would be an “understatement” to say Mr Keogh remained a person of interest.
Cheney family to take civil action against Keogh
The Cheney family’s lawyer, Greg Griffin, also gave evidence to the committee, and said Ms Cheney’s parents and siblings were shocked when they heard of the payment.
“The family were shocked and appalled that this Government saw fit to pay any money, let alone what they regard as an obscene sum of $2.5 million, to a man who they regard as the person that murdered their daughter and their sibling,” he said.
Greg Griffin says the Cheney family will seek compensation over “fraudulent” life insurance policies. (ABC News: Simon Royal)
Mr Griffin said the Court of Criminal Appeal directed a retrial in the case, and that is what the family wanted.
“Of course a retrial can take place,” he said.
“The bottom line is you have more than enough evidence to run another circumstantial case.”
But Mr Griffin said the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has decided not to proceed.
Mr Griffin confirmed the Cheney family now planned to take civil action against Mr Keogh in relation to five insurance policies he took out in her name, some with forged signatures, before her death.
“The estate will commence an action against Mr Keogh for the substantial losses it suffered as a consequence of his fraudulent conduct in drawing up and submitting the life insurance policies of Ms Cheney,” he said.
He said the family also wanted to take action to stop Channel 7 from repeatedly using photos from Ms Cheney’s autopsy, but did not have the DPP’s support to take the case to the Supreme Court.