Tarrington man charged with father’s murder — (The Standard)

SSRI Ed note: Man on antidepressants convicted of murdering father, no clear evidence. Acts as his own defence on appeal, is acquitted after 2,450 days in prison.
Original article no longer available

The Standard

Feb 1, 2005

A TARRINGTON man charged with murdering his father was passionate about firearms, a Warrnambool court was told yesterday.

Douglas Victor Jensen, 39, of West Schultz Road, appeared in the Warrnambool Magistrates Court yesterday for the first day of a committal hearing.

Marius Kristian Jensen was found dead in his home from a gunshot wound on February 2, 2000.

The court was told yesterday that police attended the Sunnyside property near Tarrington, a few kilometres east of Hamilton, on February 2 and found Marius Jensen dead on the kitchen floor, lying on his back with a gunshot wound to the right side of his head.

A pool of blood was near his head and a gun was found close by.

Colin Ian Sinclair, one of two men who met Douglas Jensen in the Hamilton Army Reserve about 1985, said the accused appeared fascinated with guns.

Both told the court that Jensen had a passion for firearms but it was not unusual for people to become so interested in guns.

Sergeant Paul Goodwin, of Hamilton police, said he was the station’s section sergeant on the day of the incident.

He received a radio call that there was a deceased person at Sunnyside and immediately thought it was suspicious.

Before he got to the scene, he knew that Douglas Jensen had reported his father had shot himself, Sergeant Goodwin said.

He thought the death was suspicious because he knew Marius Jensen was afraid of his sons and afraid they might take his life at some stage.

Sergeant Goodwin told the court he treated the home as a crime scene and went inside to see the dead man’s body.

Douglas Jensen was later taken to Hamilton police station to be interviewed by detectives, Sergeant Goodwin told the court.

Sergeant Kelly McNaughton, of Oakley police, also gave evidence yesterday.

She said Douglas Jensen was shaking, crying and distraught at the police station where he reported his father’s death.

“It appeared a normal reaction to someone who had come across a relative who was deceased,” she said.

She said Douglas Jensen accompanied her to the farm and found the dead man lying on the floor next to the kitchen table.

It was dark and she did not see a weapon.

Douglas Jensen started to become agitated and asked for his depression medication which was inside the house.

Sergeant McNaughton said Douglas Jensen was taken to the police station to be spoken to by detectives but she did not know if he received his medication.

Douglas Jensen’s brother Colin said yesterday that after his mother died his father became very quiet.

His father had no other interests except his bees which were his whole life.

About 18 months before his father’s death, his father thought his bees might have a disease which would wipe them out, Mr Jensen said.

He told his father to segregate the sick bees but did not think his father had done anything about it.

The dead man’s niece, Annette Yates, said she used to see her uncle about once a month and at times he was wary about his sons.

He felt that Douglas had a bad temper and it would get him into trouble at some time, she said.

There were arguments in the house and her uncle was apprehensive and scared of the boys, Mrs Yates said.

He always talked about his bees which he loved, she said.

The committal is being heard before Magistrate Peter Mealy and will continue today.


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Douglas Victor Jensen wins appeal over conviction of murdering father — (Herald Sun)

by: By Geoff Wilkinson

A book on making killing look like a suicide was found at the father and son’s farmhouse. Picture: Charlie Brewer

  • Police told father capable of suicide
  • Depressed over wife’s death
  • Man had enrolled in a introduction agency

A MAN accused of the textbook murder of his father will stand trial again later this year after winning an appeal against his conviction.

Douglas Victor Jensen, who owned a book called Forensic Clues To Murder, has spent more than five-and-a- half years in a Victorian jail.

The jury at his first trial was told that when the book was picked up by police, it fell open to page 145, which detailed how to shoot a person at a kitchen table and stage it to look like a suicide.

Mr Jensen’s 75-year-old father Marius, a lifelong bee-keeper, was found shot dead beside the kitchen table in their Western District farmhouse nearly 10 years ago.

A 12-gauge shotgun modified to convert it to a .38 pistol was on the floor beside his left hand.

Mr Jensen was found guilty by a jury in 2007, and sentenced to 20 years’ jail with a non-parole period of 16 years, but the Court of Appeal quashed his conviction late last year.

The three appeal judges rejected seven of his eight grounds of appeal, but ordered a retrial because of the Crown’s refusal to call Mr Jensen’s brother, Colin, as a material prosecution witness.

A Supreme Court directions hearing will be held next week, but a retrial is not expected before September.

Mr Jensen represented himself at the Court of Appeal, despite claiming he was not of normal mental capacity and had not been fit to stand trial.

The appeal judges, Justices Geoffrey Nettle, Mark Weinberg and Elizabeth Hollingworth, found there was no substance to that claim, but agreed the Crown’s refusal to call Colin Jensen had caused a miscarriage of justice.

They said it was not for the trial judge, Justice Robert Osborn, to determine the validity of the Crown’s decision, but in some cases the risk of miscarriage justified “prophylactic judicial intervention”.

The Court of Appeal said Douglas Jensen had been deprived of the ability to have his brother cross-examined about the possibility of him having the motive and opportunity to kill their father.

The Court of Appeal said the miscarriage of justice was not overcome by the fact that defence counsel could have called Colin Jensen as a defence witness. It was clear that defence counsel believed it would not assist Mr Jensen to call his brother and subject him to cross examination by the prosecution, and that Mr Jensen had accepted his lawyer’s advice.

The appeal judges said the defence case was that the Crown was unable to exclude suicide as a reasonable possibility, or that someone else was responsible.

Marius Jensen died on February 2, 2000, in his home at Tarrington, near Hamilton.

Seven months earlier, he had obtained an intervention order which prevented Colin Jensen from visiting the property.

Douglas Jensen, who was then 34 and lived at the property, was charged with his father’s murder in 2004. He was convicted in March 2007, after a four-week trial at Geelong.

The Court of Appeal’s summary of evidence at the trial said Mr Jensen told police he believed his father was capable of committing suicide because he was depressed over his wife’s death six years earlier and his bees were not doing well.

The appeal judges said a good deal of evidence pointed away from suicide.

The dead man had enrolled in an introduction agency, ordered a new kitten to replace a cat that had died and placed an order for 50 queen bees shortly before his death.


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Life interrupted — (Sydney Morning Herald)

January 13, 2014

2450 days in prison for a murder he didn’t commit

…On Tuesday, November 24, 2009, at 9.30am, after he sat down at the bench, Judge Geoffrey Nettle boomed out the following: ”In the matter of Jensen v Queen it is the judgment of this court that the conviction be quashed and a retrial be had.”

It was a unanimous decision. Mention was made of a ”very substantial miscarriage of justice”.

In October 2009 three justices in the Supreme Court of Appeal, Nettle, Weinberg and Hollingworth, found a ”very substantial miscarriage of justice”. They found that the Crown’s failure to call his brother Colin Jensen as a witness ”deprived him of a chance of acquittal to which he was entitled”.

They stated: ”If Colin Jensen’s evidence were accepted, it had the potential to increase the possibility of suicide and, if suicide were rejected, to reduce the possibility that the applicant was the culprit.” Colin, their honours stated, had a motive, he had threatened to kill his father and he had the capacity to make a weapon.

”When one adds that it also deprived him of the ability to cross-examine Colin Jensen as to the latter’s motive and opportunity to kill the deceased, the injustice was very substantial,” the judges found.

Colin Jensen would appear at the retrial in February 2011 and vehemently deny that he was anywhere near the property when his father died.

The third trial started on Tuesday, February 1, 2011, and was presided over by Justice Stephen Kaye.

When it was time for (defence barrister) Christopher Dane QC’s closing address, he slowly started and built himself into a crescendo of operatic proportions with him ripping and tearing the prosecution case to shreds at every interval.

Dane gave good descriptions of what I was subjected to. He attacked members of the homicide squad as demonising me and stated that they did not know what it was like to ”spend years in prison, forced to live with other men”.

”The evidence tells you the level of the injustice.” I can remember Dane screaming at the prosecutor at a quiet time in court, saying: ”You cannot connect him to the firearm, you have put that firearm in his hand, you cannot do that.”

On the morning of February 25, I showered and shaved as I had done for every morning of the 2450 days I had spent in custody.

The jury came in with their verdict: ”Not guilty”.

I could hardly accept those words. I had gone from maximum security prisoner to free man in less than 20 seconds.

I collapsed and fell backwards into a chair and released a loud expletive.

The feeling of freedom was odd. It didn’t bring me any gratification, all it did was end my time in custody, and joined Friday, May 7, 2004 to Friday, February 25, 2011 with a missing 6¾ years.

Millions of dollars had been spent keeping me in custody.

The police investigation had run for years. Myriad detectives had spoken to everyone that I had ever known and when nothing was discovered they simply became more and more frustrated and started devising ways of using what they believed was evidence to proceed with a prosecution.

They were looking for the shadow of an object that had never existed. All I had done was report the death of my father to the police and I went to prison for doing that.

Soon after his release, Douglas Jensen submitted a claim to the Victoria Attorney-General for financial compensation for wrongful imprisonment. The claim was denied. Jensen was informed the Attorney-General was not obliged to give a reason.

After waiting seven months the Attorney-General has reiterated his response and withholds the reason for the denial of my claim.

By denying an ex-gratia payment, I feel that the Attorney-General of Victoria is condoning what I was subjected to.

Perhaps he would like to experience just a week or two in prison so that he can get an idea of what it’s like. You are treated like you are in a stockyard. You become the number that is assigned to you.