Years ago, in a house far, far away, I was undergoing a course which involved a module to do with the “Law of Evidence”, which involved learning about what types of evidence is acceptable in Courts in Victoria. We did an in-depth study of the case of Leith Ratten, a man from the very far North of Victoria who was convicted of shooting his eight-month-pregnant wife, causing her death.
Now, Leith Ratten may or may not have been guilty, because I’m certainly not convinced “beyond reasonable doubt”, and we all know what that means. Leith Ratten was apparently turning from facing left to facing right while holding a loaded rifle, and he was blind in his right eye. So yes, it could have been intentional, and it could have been an accident. And when he rang the Echuca telephone exchange (who were, and are now, in charge of connecting all phone calls) he said either “Police!” or an unheard (“Ambulance”) “Please!” Again, reasonable doubt springs up.
Add to it that Ratten was having an affair with a married woman at the time. Reasonable doubt all around, either way.
But I digress.
All through learning about this case, we watched documentaries, read the court transcript, etc, and only heard mention of a book written by a lawyer named Tom Molomby. So I googled his name, and came up with his email address, law firm, and so forth.
To which the enterprising young Ash emailed, and asked how (the book was out of print) a certain young Ash could find the book. Mr. Molomby emailed the certain young Ash back and said “Send $10 to [address] and I’ll send you a copy.” So I did.
And along came a fine, signed copy of “Ratten: The Web of Circumstance: How An Innocent Man Was Found Guilty Of Murder”. I’m a genius! I read the entire thing, and came away with a few thoughts.
Ratten certainly wasn’t guilty of the killing of his wife beyond a reasonable doubt, but there’s every chance that these days, he’d go for at least manslaughter. I will say, however, that Tom Molomby is a top lawyer, although at opposite political viewpoints to me (I’ve seen other cases he’s covered), but that on this case, he nailed it completely.
However, I’m certain that Tom Molomby did his best to fight for Ratten. And same with the next lawyer I’m about to discuss, although I won’t mention her name.
She’s my lawyer, the one who’s there and willing to fight against anyone to stop Maddy from getting in the wrong hands. She’s got a very good idea of family law, knows about the important things such as probate and administration, and is willing to go tooth and nail against anyone who tries to take Maddy away from me. She’s certainly a force to be reckoned with.
She understands that women sometimes have to leave men, she understands the dynamic of an engaged relationship, and she understands that everyone fucks up. Most importantly, she understands people with my flaws.
So Deborah, I thank you for being there, even though I have my moments where I’m a fuckup.
July 27, 2008, 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm
Since you’ve studied this case and surmised (and we we all know what that means) that he certainly wasn’t guilty of the killing of his wife beyond a reasonable doubt.
1. Why was he “holding a loaded rifle”?
2. Rifle, as opposed to a shotgun, one assumes correct?
3. The assumption is he was standing, as he “was apparently turning from facing left to facing right”. That being the case:
a) What part of the body did the shot, enter the deceased?
b) “Accidental” would infer that the shot entered the deceased in an upward fashion, versus shoulder level if they were the same height OR downward if he were taller, so where did the shot enter?
4. Why would “Ratten was having an affair with a married woman at the time”, preclude intentional or muck it up to put in ones mind “Reasonable doubt all around”?
5. Where were the deceased and the shooter, when this occurred? Garage? Shed? Kitchen? Living (no play on words intended) Room? Outside the home/apartment?
July 27, 2008, 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm
1. He was cleaning it.
2. They didn’t have them.
3. a) Top right cage.
3. b) Downwards, from about 5’8.
4. Because they may have been wrong.
July 27, 2008, 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm
1. Cleaning a “loaded rifle”, one usually cleans an UNloaded weapon, lest it go off, “accidentally” (on purpose).
2. “They didn’t have them.”, what?
3. a) So he was holding a loaded weapon, while cleaning it at shoulder level?
3. a) answers b)
4. How could “may have been wrong”, when it was stated without….’he may’ have been having.
5. Kitchen…Hmmm. ‘Was he asking what’s for dinner my love’, whilst cleaning a loaded weapon?
July 27, 2008, 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm
Again, you studied the case in some detail, as I haven’t…but to me, it sure seems intentional.
As to the call…Had I shot one of my wives, i would have sounded exactly as he. If for nothing else…’effect’.
So a blind in one eye…similar to me, but taller man, cleaning a loaded weapon, in the kitchen, knocked off the old lady. Hmmmm.
July 28, 2008, 3:51 am at 3:51 am
“Had I shot one of my wives,”
How many wives do you have, Cid?
July 28, 2008, 4:05 am at 4:05 am
1. I didn’t say he was clever.
2. He didn’t own any shotguns. Only rifles.
4. He’d told the woman he was sleeping with that he was going to get divorced.
5. Who knows? He’s never given a convincing answer to what happened.
July 28, 2008, 4:34 am at 4:34 am
Half blind, cleaning a loaded rifle, in the kitchen, whilst talking to his wife.
Now there’s a contender for a Darwin Award.
Lawyers: a necessary evil.
July 28, 2008, 6:40 am at 6:40 am
Careful Ash, shes probably stealing the grots blood for matzo balls or something….
July 28, 2008, 8:09 am at 8:09 am
Ummm, Sir Angus 4. Was a millionaire 3 times, due to a process called divorce, I’m NOT one now. 🙂
July 28, 2008, 8:15 am at 8:15 am
OH and I’m not really a big fan of lawyers, either. As Sir Bing stated and all know…Lawyers a necessary evil.
July 28, 2008, 8:21 am at 8:21 am
A three-time divorced man was at a bar when this gorgeous slinky young hottie pulled up to the bar and sat next to him. She started making eyes and tried to strike up a conversation with him.
Hottie: Hi, my name’s Mindy. You have beautiful eyes.
Man: “If I give you half of my shit, will you just go away?”
July 28, 2008, 8:26 am at 8:26 am
July 28, 2008, 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm
What would Angus Dei say in that situation huh? Would you go with the hottie or tell her to leave?
November 6, 2010, 5:58 pm at 5:58 pm
You do realise that he DID have a shotgun (A double barrel at that). Plausible reason why it went off was because it was faulty, he had tried to sell it before the death of his wife but they rejected it because the gun was not up to standard (Which is why he would’ve been cleaning it). Of course cleaning a gun in a kitchen is rather stupid. If you are, however, familar with guns you can become complacent, and not take as much as attention as some people would.