20 March 2017

Lingering Doubts - 70 years ago - 20 March 1947

Thursday 20 March, 1947

Early in the morning on this day, our grandfather's body was discovered. He was 9 days into his life sentence. It was alleged he committed suicide by hanging himself with his belt which  apparently had been attached to the bars of his cell window.... despite the above news article which shows the bars above the door.
  On a piece of jail issued toilet paper Reg Brown declared his innocence.

To Whom it May Concern
I did not kill Bronia Mary Armstrong
(Signed) R.W.S. Brown

A question that immediately springs to mind is: would a prisoner, new to the ''lifer's'' block, be in possession of a pencil? 
 By some strange coincidence, on 20 March 1947, the same day Reg Brown's body was discovered, the Courier-Mail office received a letter from an unknown person confessing to Bronia Armstrong's murder. In keeping with the speed of the investigation and trial, (8 weeks from arrest to life sentence) Detective 'Stewie' Kerr instantly disregarded the handwritten confession letter.
During our research we were told by a very elderly and well respected former prison officer that police would sometimes arrive at Boggo Road Gaol during the night with the hope of entering a prisoner's cell. This particular gentleman said he never allowed it, but others had.
  No more anniversary posts will appear on this website. Our grandfather can hopefully rest in peace now after 70 years. So too Bronia Mary Armstrong.
Deb and Jan

11 January 2017

Brisbane's Arcade Murder - 70 Years On

Saturday 11 January, 1947
Seventy years ago today at approximately 8.30 in the morning 19 year-old Bronia Armstrong's body was discovered in a staff room at the BAFS Medical Institute, Wallace Bishop Arcade, Albert Street, Brisbane. 
  Queensland detectives, including Det. Frank Bischof, swiftly targeted Bronia's boss, Reg Brown, ruthlessly interrogating him for a full day without legal representation.  Despite his protestations of innocence the fifty-year-old accountant and BAFS Medical Institute Secretary was charged with wilful murder.
The historic ''Arcade Murder'' received much exposure in 2016 and as a consequence various aspects of the crime are currently undergoing further analysis. The joining of the dots continues and pictures are forming. 
Watch this space for the release of new and important evidence! .
Deb and Jan

23 December 2016

Lingering Doubts - Christmas 2016 Update

2016 has been huge!
Early in the year, we had a fortuitous meeting at one of our booksigning events when we were approached by freelance journalist/author Helen Chryssides. In June we featured in Helen's 'The Two of Us' article published in Sydney Morning Herald Good Weekend Magazine. (post 4/6/2016)
 So interested in our story was Helen that she submitted our names to ABC Australian Story.  Consequently Shadow of Doubt went to air in September and since then Bronia Armstrong's death and the conviction of our grandfather for her murder has attracted much interest. (post 22/9/2016)
We will remain forever grateful to the hard-working and thorough Australian Story team and also to supportive program participants Dr Bob Moles, Bibi Sangha, Bob Bottom OAM, Ken Blanch, Wal Bishop and Dr Grant Niemann. 
We must add, however, there is much more to this story than could be shown in a 30 minute time slot. Furthermore new and important information has since been uncovered. Our dream came true! Offers to further investigate and analyse the evidence in this almost 70 year old crime have come from several professionals specialising in the areas of law, justice, forensics and crime scene analysis!
  2016 also saw Matt Condon publish Little Fish are Sweet - a most disturbing book in which Matt grants many courageous folk a long overdue voice. His book also includes - we are proud to say - a chapter titled 'A Matter of Lingering Doubts'.(post 17/11/2016)
Our one sadness is that Deb's father, Ian, passed away in June 2016...we wish he could have witnessed this extraordinary progress in the case.
Thankfully Ian's sister Val, Jan's mother, after a lifetime of guarding the family secret, now openly shares her memories of 1947. Val participates fully in the journey this story continues to take.
 Bronia's parents have long passed and her brothers a few years ago. We will never lose sight of the shocking grief they too suffered in 1947 and well beyond.
Our thanks for your interest in our story and best wishes for happy, safe and peace filled Christmas and New Year.
Deb and Jan

25 November 2016

1947 Arcade Murder Discussion at Qskeptics Meeting

We very much appreciate the opportunity to discuss Brisbane's 1947 Arcade Murder case with members of Qskeptics.
Looking forward to meeting you all at The Morrison. :)
Deb and Jan

17 November 2016

Lingering Doubts features in Little Fish are Sweet

Congratulations once again to Matthew Condon on his recent release of ''Little Fish are Sweet" - a  most disturbing read. What a dark place Brisbane was and what extraordinary courage shown by Matt and others who have come forward to tell what they know.
We, of course, see it as a great privelege that Matt considered our 'Lingering Doubts'' story worthy of a chapter in this superb book. 
Thank you most sincerely Matt for consistently helping us seek justice not only for our grandfather, Reg Brown,  but for 19 year old Bronia Armstrong.
Deb and Jan

26 October 2016

Joe Cinque's Consolation - Dr Robert Moles

This is the link to Dr Robert Moles' review of the film Joe Cinque's Consolation:  
Dr Moles says: 
It is one of the best films I have seen for a long time.
It involves some of my former students at the ANU.
The photo attached is of the Q and A which I was privileged to introduce with the director:
The film raises some important issues about our sense of responsibility and accountability.
Robert N Moles
Networked Knowledge and
Flinders University Miscarriages of Justice Project
Web: http://netk.net.au

8 October 2016

Alan Jones 2GB - Brisbane's 1947 Arcade Murder

Please click to listen to interview
Sincere appreciation to Alan Jones for inviting Deb onto his radio show in the lead up to ABC Australian Story 'Shadow of Doubt'. Link above for anyone who would like to listen.

Deb and Jan

30 September 2016

Brisbane's Arcade Murder - Dr Bob Moles speaks to Courier Mail

30/9/2016 Courier Mail Queensland//brisbane-arcade-murder

Shae McDonald (AAP), The Courier-Mail
September 30, 2016 12:01am
Brisbane Arcade Murder: Renewed calls to appeal Reginald Brown’s conviction
D Moles established the research group Networked Knowledge 16 years ago and also co-founded the Miscarriages of Justice Project at Flinders University in South Australia.
He told Australian Story he thought it likely police “got the wrong person” when they convicted Brown of Ms Armstrong’s murder.

The former law professor told The Courier-Mail there were certain features about Brown’s trial that were “very unsatisfactory”.
Dr Moles said in order for a conviction to be set aside on appeal, a court needed to be satisfied there were errors at trial, not whether the evidence pointed to a person being guilty or innocent.

“The question is did the person have a fair trial,” he said.

Dr Moles said there were several pieces of physical evidence used during the original court case that “raised alarm bells”.
One of them was the fact Ms Armstrong’s body was “infested” with ants.

Dr Moles said the logical question to ask was where they came from.
“There wasn’t an ants nest within the medical room or medical centre,” he said.

“What it would tell me is that it’s likely she was attacked and either disabled or killed somewhere else, where there were ants.
“Her body was subsequently moved to the medical rooms, with the ants on board.”

26 September 2016

Legal Experts Doubt Reg Brown's Guilt - 1947 ''Arcade Murder''

ABC News2016-09-26/brisbane-arcade-murder-conviction-in-doubt-after-70-years/7854892

Abridged version highlighting key points:
 A lawyer specialising in miscarriages of justice has cast doubt on the murder conviction of a Brisbane man 70 years ago.
In the 1947 case that shocked the nation, 50-year-old accountant Reginald Brown was found guilty of asphyxiating his 19-year-old secretary Bronia Armstrong in his Brisbane office.
However, after studying the case, Dr Bob Moles from Flinders University's Miscarriages of Justice Project has questioned the conduct of the trial.
"I would say Reginald Brown did not get a fair trial by today's standards and he did not get a fair trial by yesterday's standards," Dr Moles told Australian Story.
He said police displayed tunnel vision by focusing their investigation solely on Brown.
"One of the most disturbing things about the case is the fact that the young girl was found at about 9:30 in the morning, and Reginald Brown had been charged with her murder by 6:00pm," Dr Moles said.
"In a circumstantial case, the prosecution should establish there is no other rational explanation consistent with the innocence of the accused."
Brown was tried and convicted within seven weeks of the murder and received a life sentence with hard labour.
Nine days later, Brown hanged himself in his jail cell at Brisbane's Boggo Road Gaol.
A handwritten note was found next to his body in which he proclaimed his innocence.

Police 'got the wrong man': Dr Moles

Key evidence in the prosecution case were the injuries to Brown's hands and fingernails.
He told police he was assaulted by two men the night before Miss Armstrong's body was found on the floor of his Brisbane office.
He said during the attack his hands were bitten.
Police dismissed the assault as "fantastic" and alleged Brown sustained the injuries as Miss Armstrong fought off a sexual advance before her death.
But Dr Moles said the crime scene evidence failed to support the police theory.
"If Bronia had been involved in the altercation with Reg, then I would have expected to find significant damage — blood transfer to Bronia's fingernails and teeth, and bruises to her face and hands. None of that was present," he said.
He said police "got the wrong person".
Dr Moles, who played a key role in the successful campaign to quash the conviction of Adelaide man Henry Keogh, said the Brown conviction could be successfully appealed.

Bitten hands, cuts 'a sign of defence wounds'

Former Queensland detective Alicia Bennett — who has written a book about the case — has no doubt Brown was the murderer, saying his injuries are consistent with the police case.
"The fingernails being bitten, cuts on his knees, these are all significant defence wounds," she said.
Leading forensic pathologist Dr Byron Collins, however, disagreed.
"On the information presently available, if the injuries to Reg Brown's hands are indeed bite marks, they are more likely to have been sustained during an assault than as a result of Bronia Armstrong fending him off," he said after examining transcripts of the court evidence.

Family secret revealed