What is your definition of a “cold case homicide” ?(CCH)
Any case that remains unsolved for more than 12 months and where an arrest is not imminent.
Does SAPOL have a “cold case” unit?
We have a structured process of reviewing all CCH and when opportunities are identified to progress an investigation, a dedicated team is formed.
How are cold cases allocated?
Typically they remain with the original investigating case officer unless that person transfers out of Major Crime or resigns from SAPOL. On occasions a “peer” review may see the case allocated to another officer or team at Major Crime to review.
How are CCHs reviewed?
All documentation and exhibits relative to the investigation are reviewed. This includes all statements, transcripts, photographs, autopsy reports and other documentation. All exhibit evidence is re-assessed for the opportunity to be resubmitted for examination in light of new and developing technology. A comprehensive Case Evaluation Report is prepared by the detective leading the review with recommendations as to what opportunities exist to progress the investigation. That detective delivers a presentation to the CCH Evaluation Committee who examines that detective and the report, and they make a determination of what will happen with that investigation and in respect to any recommendations that have been made.
When are cases filed?
Unsolved murder cases are never filed. These investigations remain allocated to one of the experienced MCIB investigators until they are solved.
What success has Major Crime had in solving CCH in recent years?
Within the last 2 years (2012-2013), police have charged 4 persons for committing murders from between 32 to 10 years ago.
Is there a time limit on when someone can be prosecuted for murder?
No. We are currently prosecuting people for murders that occurred 31 years ago and have current investigations dating back to the 1950’s.
Is it too late to come forward?
No, it is never too late to come forward. We encourage anyone with information about an unsolved homicide to come forward as that information may be what holds the key to solving a case.
What if I have lied to or misled the police in this investigation? If I come forward and now tell the truth will I be in trouble?
The emphasis is on police solving murders. We encourage people to make contact with us directly to work through the issues or to contact us through a solicitor.
Can I get immunity from prosecution if I was involved in the murder but did not actually commit it?
Possibly. There are circumstances where immunity may be given by the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) in exchange for cooperating fully in an investigation and giving evidence against the offender at trial. Contact the Major Crime Investigation Branch to discuss your case.
What benefits can I get if I help the police to solve a murder?
- Rewards up to $1m to solve a murder/assist in body recovery
- Immunity from prosecution
- Letters to sentencing courts to make aware of assistance provided
- Sentenced prisoners can apply to be re-sentenced under “Supergrass” Legislation in the Sentencing Act to get their sentence reduced for cooperating
- Witness protection
- Assistance with re-location
When are rewards allocated?
Rewards are offered in all cases where the investigation has remained unsolved for more than 12 months and an arrest is not imminent. The reward amounts may be $200k, $500k or $1m and are determined by set criteria. These amounts of money are significant and “life changing” that would help to set a family up for the rest of their life.
What about murders where the DPP have withdrawn the case prior to trial?
In these cases the DPP has decided that, based on the available evidence at that time, there is not a reasonable prospect of conviction. If further evidence becomes available, the DPP may reverse their original decision and prosecute the offender.
What about murders where the person has been found not guilty at trial. Are these considered unsolved and can the offender still be prosecuted?
Yes, they are treated as unsolved. In 2008, the SA Government changed the Criminal Law Consolidation Act and introduced an amendment which now allows for the offender to be charged again with the same murder if fresh and compelling evidence is located that wasn’t available at the first trial. This legislation applies to all murders in South Australia regardless of when they were committed.
What assistance is available to the families and friends of murdered people?
The Victim Contact Officers at Major Crime are able to provide advice and referrals to respective agencies that may assist.
I have information about a murder, who should I contact?
Direct to Major Crime Investigation Branch
Anonymously Crime Stoppers 1800 333 000