Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Ronald Ryan - last person executed in Australia

Today according to Australian Eastern Standard Time when this item was posted
1967 Ronald Ryan (b. 1925) was executed at Pentridge Prison, Victoria, Australia and his body buried in an unmarked grave. The killing of Ryan, who was probably not guilty, caused such outrage in the land that no one has been killed by Australian lawyers or politicians since, not that we know of, anyway. Within twenty years, capital punishment was abolished federally and in all State and territory jurisdictions.

In 1967, Ronald Ryan, the last person to be executed in Australia, was killed by the state. It was a killing that helped the Premier of the State of Victoria, Henry Bolte, win an election, but it split the community deeply, such that no politician or judge ever again dared take anyone's life. Bolte brushed aside all protests, appeals and petitions, including one signed by seven of the jurors who sat on the Ryan case.

The judge, who had to impose a mandatory death penalty, was summoned by the Premier, who was soon to go before the electorate. Bolte asked the judge if there was any chance Ryan might have been innocent. The judge, who believed Ryan guilty, could have won a State reprieve by telling a white lie, but as a Roman Catholic, he felt he could not deceive the premier. He chose, rather, to allow a man to be executed. Years later, the troubled judge said on TV that he prayed to Ryan each night.

'I could not tell a lie'

By Pip Wilson

(Based on an anecdote; avowedly a true story)

The judge sat through the weeks of trial
and sentenced Ryan to hang.
Premier Bolte sent for him
and asked him if this man,
this Ronald Ryan was truly guilty,
or was there "some way out,
with the election coming up and all" -
said the judge "No reasonable doubt".

So Ronald Ryan's neck was stretched;
the judge spoke to the press:
"I could not tell a lie", he said
"I'm of the faith" he stressed.

And further pressed on how he felt,
said the judge "Ryan had the right
to absolution, he's now in heaven.
I pray to him each night."

Innocent of murder? :: 'Ryan was innocent': lawyer

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Anonymous Christoper Hinds said...

Ronald Ryan was convicted, sentenced to death and subsequently hanged, based solely "hearsay" of unsigned. untaped and unrecorded verbal allegations/confessions said to have been made by Ryan to police. There wwere no scientific, ballistic or forensic examinations for proof of evidence. Unbelievably, Ryan’s rifle was never examined by forensic experts to prove it fired a shot - it had been hidden in the boot of a police car. In addition, vital pieces of evidence, including the fatal bullet and spent bullet cartridge, which would have cleared Ryan of murder mysteriously went missing and could not be scientifically tested by ballistic experts. All fourteen eyewitnesses for the prosecution testified different accounts of what they saw - there were serious wide-spread inconsistencies. Only one shot was heard by all persons. Ballistic experts testified the fatal shot was fired from a distance at an elevated position in a downward trajectory angle. A prison officer admitted and testified he fired one single shot from a distance, standing on a low prison wall. If Ryan had also fired a shot at least one of the many dozens of people at the scene of the crime would have heard two shots fired. No person heard two shots. These are the facts !!!

Further reading on the facts go to ...

6:56 PM  
Blogger Pip said...

I'm with you, Christopher. Send more info to the Wilson's Almanac Book of Days if u want to share it. Thanks.Pip

8:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


• For unknown reasons, ballistic forensic experts never scientifically examined Ryan’s rifle.
•T here was no forensic proof and no conclusive evidence that Ryan's rifle had fired a shot at all.
• It was never proven by forensics that the fatal bullet came from the rifle in Ryan's possession.
• Despite extensive search by police, the fatal bullet mysteriously went missing and was never found.
• The fatal bullet was never scientifically examined by ballistic forensic experts, to prove which rifle fired the fatal bullet.
• Despite extensive search by police, the spent cartridge mysteriously went missing and was never found.
• The spent cartridge (bullet-case) was never scientifically examined by ballistic forensic experts, for evidence.
• If Ryan had fired a shot, a spent cartridge would have spilled out of the rifle. No spent cartridge was ever found.
• All fourteen eyewitnesses for the prosecution testified different accounts of what they saw - there were widespread inconsistencies.
• Only four of the fourteen eyewitnesses testified of seeing Ryan fire a shot.
• All fourteen eyewitnesses testified of hearing one single shot. No person heard two shots.
• Prison officer Paterson, admitted and testified he fired one single shot, from an elevated distance.
• If Ryan had also fired a shot, at least one person among the dozens of people surrounding the scene of the crime, would have heard two shots.
• Forensic experts never scientifically examined prison officer Paterson’s rifle, to prove it had fired a shot.
• Forensic experts never scientifically examined all other prison officers’ rifles at the scene of the crime, to prove if their rifles had fired a shot.
• Ballistic evidence indicated that the prison officer was shot from a distance, in a downward trajectory angle.
• The measurement of the entry and exit wound on the deceased prison officer indicated that the fatal shot was fired from an elevated position. At the time of the shooting, there were many prison officers' armed with rifles surrounding the crime scene, on prison walls, on prison guard towers and on the streets.
• Eyewitnesses testified seeing prison officers aiming their rifles.
• Ryan (a shorter man) could not have fired at the prison officer (a taller man) in such a downward trajectory angle, as both were on level ground.
• Ryan could not have fired from a distance as evidence indicated, because Ryan was adjacent to the prison officer who was running after and adjacent to, the other prison escapee.
• Ryan could not have fired from an elevated position as evidence indicated, because Ryan was on level ground.
• Some eyewitnesses testified seeing Ryan recoil his rifle and smoke coming from the barrel of his rifle. In fact, ballistic experts testified at trial that type of rifle had no recoil and it contained smokeless cartridges.

12:47 PM  
Anonymous Angela Murray said...


Ryan was hanged SEVEN days before his final appeal to The Privy Council had made its decision. FACT!

With one final appeal yet to be exhausted, legal aid to Ryan was cut by the Victorian Government. The Premier Henry Bolte, withdraw all funding for Ryan's final appeal to The Privy Council. Defense lawyer Philip Opas QC, was convinced of Ryan's innocence and worked for free, paying for his own expenses. FACT!

Most of the jurors tht convicted Ryan of murder came forth and publicly stated they would never have convicted Ryan had they known that he would be hanged. They signed separate petitions requesting the Victorian Premier Henry Bolte, to commute Ryan's death to life in prison. They made a last-minute appeal to the Victorian Government not to execute the man they had found guilty of murder. STRANGE REQUEST, BUT FACT!

But, Premier Bolte scheduled Ryan's execution before Ryan's "unfunded final appeal" to The Privy Council has been heard and decided. FACT!

The decision of Her Majesty in The Privy Council to refuse leave to appeal was announced on February 10, which was SEVEN days after Ryan had already been hanged by the neck until he was dead. FACT!


10:16 AM  
Blogger Pip said...

Thank you very much, people, for all this information, which I very much appreciate.

10:38 PM  
Anonymous ACADP said...


· The clock strikes 8:00 AM.
· It is a hot Friday morning.
· The 3rd day of February.
· In the year - Nineteen Hundred and Sixty Seven.
· The State of Victoria hangs Ronald Ryan at Pentridge Prison.
· Australia falls silent ...
· A flock of birds startled by the loud crash of the trap door, suddenly fly off the roof of the prison cellblock.
· At the same time - a gust of wind from nowhere - slams shut the prison church doors with a loud crash.
· A crowd of 3,000 protesters outside Pentridge Prison - pause for a 3minute silence.
· All is so deadly quiet - broken only by the sound of occasional sobs.
· Trains, trams, buses and vehicles pull over to a halt.
· Listless workers across Australia stop for a silent vigil.
· Church bells across the nation begin to ring.
· Worshippers attend prayer services.
· Candles are lit around Australia.
· Student protesters outside Parliament House distinguish flames on the torches - having burned night and day for more than a week.
· There is an eerie quiet inside prisons - the usual prison sounds are missing - there is just nothing.
· Prisoners stage their own protest – they remain motionless.
· Ronald Ryan's wife sits on a sofa inside her home - cuddling her three daughters tightly - as they weep.
· One of Ryan's daughters suddenly realises she has torn her handkerchief to shreds.
· It was as though time had paused - all was still - temporarily.
· It was the day Australia stood still.

Ronald Joseph Ryan has earned his place in Australian history. He is remembered as the man whose execution provoked such a public outcry that no person ever again, would be executed in Australia.


2:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There has been alot of deliberate misinformation about the Ryan case.
Most of it can from Ryan's defending QC Philip Opas because he was always the first person the media would ask when researching the murder trial. Opas always believed that a rogue warder from somewhere inside the prison fired the shot the killed Hobson but this was impossible, at trial he blame the guard in tower 2 closest to the crimescene, but when it was proven that the guard did not fire a shot he then claimed it came from tower 3. Tower 3 was out of view from the crimescene because century old gum trees block the view. The guard in tower 3 was not a man named Pascoe who "confessed" on television in 1986 but a man named Newman who also did not fire a shot that day.

The only person who was in position to fire the fatal shot was Ryan, from a range of about twenty feet. Four witnesses at the trial saw Ryan take aim at Hodson and fire. Two other witnesses said the gunshot noise came from Ryan's position.

The trajectory theory was put forward by Opas to cause doubt in the Jury's minds. The trial judge dismissed the theory as did the judges at the Appeal two months later. They said the was enough evidence to say Hodson was not standing fully erected but was running in a forward leaning position when he was shot.

Paterson who admitted in firing a shot , in the air when a woman came into view, was not high enough for the trajectory theory either. He said he was on a small garden wall near the Champ Street entrance of the goal. Champ St slopes down from Sydney Road ( crimescene) and the drop in elevation would have mean't that Paterson bullet who have to flown over a rise and dip to hit Hodson.

The bullet that killed Hodson was never found, had Hodson been leaning forward then the fatal path would have been up not down as defence claimed. The bullet would continue on its journey at land half a mile away.
The missing cartridge could have failed to eject properly from the chamber and thus be jammed in the breach thus causing the rifle to jam. Walker would later say when he inspected the rifle later it was jammed.
Within an hour of the shooting Police had visually inspected all remaining prison rifles and found that only Paterson's rifle had fired, and missing a bullet.

Finally, the morning of Ryan's execution was not hot, the mercury dropped to a low of 61 f and by 9.00am had risen to 75 f. Ryan was executed at 8:00 am. That afternoon was a scorcher.

11:57 PM  
Anonymous ACADP said...

Anonymous is only assuming and suggesting of what "might" or "could" have happened - without providing the actual facts of the Ryan case.

Anonymous continues to blame Opas for both the investigating police and the prosecutions stuff-up. Opas was doing his legal professional job by exposing the mega-holes in the case - the unproven confessions, the unproven allegations, the unrecorded and unsigned verbals, the total lack of scientific ballistic forensic evidence, the mysterious missing pieces of all vital evidence. Yes, all those unproven theories, scenarios, verbals and stories put forward by the prosecution makes a mockery of a barbaric Australian criminal justice system.

Without any scientific evidence whatsoever, the prosecution relied only on unrecorded police allegations (unsigned and denied by Ryan) and the dire inconsistencies of all fourteen witnesses evidence. Only "four" witnesses out of the fourteen saw Ryan take aim? So are we to believe the four who saw or the ten who didn't see? Only "two" witnesses said the gunshot noise came from Ryan's position? What about the other twelve witnesses who said otherwise? Who are we to believe, two or twelve witnesses account of what they saw and heard?

Also, Paterson terstified he fired a shot which was heard by all witnesses. How come not one person heard two shots if Ryan had in fact also fired a shot? Police "viusually" inspected all rifles? What a joke! Scientific ballistic forensics testing of all rifles would have provided evidence of proof, right? There was none! The serious ambiguities in the Ryan case is a fact and an outright criminal justice system scandal.

Anonymous is the one deliberately misinforming the public about the Ryan case by making up all kinds of imaginary scenarios and excuses, without providing any real factual proof of scientific evidence. Hidden agendas are always amazing stuff!

The official weather bureau stats are contrary to yours, not that it matters when an innocent man is executed by the State who denied him legal aid funding for a final appeal. Opas had to work for nothing and payed his own expenses too.

10:54 PM  
Anonymous Bepopalula said...

Thanks for the opportunity to have my say on the Ronald Ryan matter.

Apparently most of the jury members made several pleas to government officials not to execute Ronald Ryan. I don't get it. The jury found him guilty. I have never heard of a jury doing anything like that. Did the jury have second thoughts about Ryan's guilt as to not want him hanged. Don't make any sense to me. Must have been an all time world first.

2:29 PM  

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