11 January 2016

Lingering Doubts - 69 years ago - Saturday 11 January, 1947

Saturday 11 January, 1947
Sixty-nine years ago at approximately 8.30 in the morning 19 year-old Bronia Armstrong's body was discovered in a back room at the BAFS Medical Institute, Wallace Bishop Arcade, Albert Street, Brisbane. Queensland detectives swiftly targeted Bronia's boss, Reg Brown, ruthlessly interrogating him, without legal representation, for the entire day - his rights only read that evening, moments before his arrest for willful murder. Despite his protestations of innocence the fifty-year-old accountant and BAFS Medical Institute Secretary was charged and taken to the city watch house. He would never again return to his family, waiting anxiously in their St Lucia home.
This was the day in 1947 that life took a devastating turn for two ordinary Brisbane families....the Armstrongs and the Browns.
Deb and Jan

10 January 2016

Lingering Doubts - 69 years ago - Friday 10 January, 1947

Friday 10 January, 1947
On this date, during the late afternoon or evening, at a time undetermined, Bronia Mary Armstrong, a popular young Brisbane woman, lost her life - at whose hands and under what circumstances remains a mystery. History shows her immediate supervisor, Reg Brown, was responsible and the justice system, of which Detective Sub-Inspector Frank Bischof was a key player, took exactly 8 weeks to see St. Lucia family man, Reg Brown, arrested and sentenced to life in Boggo Road Gaol.
Nine days after the life sentence was handed down, Reg, our grandfather, who consistently professed his innocence, was found dead.
 The files on the 'Arcade Murder' were closed; another successful conviction for Frank Bischof, Queensland's future police commissioner (for more on Bischof see Matthew Condon's Three Crooked Kings and Jacks & Jokers). Police officers moved up the ladder and enjoyed stellar careers, as did the Supreme Court judge, prosecutor, government pathologist and junior defense barrister, (Sir) Harry Gibbs. 
Life would never be the same, however, for the two devastated families left behind. The Armstrongs grieved their loving daughter and sister, and the Brown family, a much loved husband, father and grandfather.
As a result of many years of research we've exposed glaring anomalies and flaws in this so-called 'open and shut' case, including the Supreme Court trial. We, and we're pleased to say many others, now hold the opinion our grandfather was most likely innocent of this crime.... if so, who was responsible for taking Bronia Armstrong's life? We invite readers to form their own opinion. Did the 1947 'Arcade Murder' investigation and Supreme Court trial result in a severe miscarriage of justice?  
Deb and Jan  
 The authors are to be congratulated for their painstaking work and the clear and balanced presentation of their findings. It is clear that they have worked hard to do what those with legal responsibilities in relation to the case failed to do. It will be interesting to see whether it leads to the conviction being challenged through the courts in due course. I am clearly of the view that it ought to be – although I am well aware of the considerable procedural issues which might stand in the way.
Dr Robert N Moles, Law Professor, 1 April 2014   click to read about Brisbane's Arcade Murder on NetK