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Miscarriage of justice: how and why the media and police construct crime and guilt : Phuong Ngo - a cause for concern

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posted on 2022-03-28, 00:51 authored by Helen Nguyen
On the night of the 5th of September 1994, the local Member of Parliament for Cabramatta, John Newman was murdered. This was claimed to be Australia's first political assassination. This research analyses the three trials which resulted from the killing of John Newman, and finds many problems with the process of securing a conviction, that of Phuong Ngo. It also analyses the media coverage of the shooting, and of the trials. In order to put the trials and the media coverage into perspective, I will first look at the main players and the main details of the three trials. One trial was aborted another resulted in a hung jury, before the final trial resulted in the conviction of Phuong Ngo, yet freed the two who were alleged to be his accomplices. No person was convicted for the actual shooting. Then I will give some background to the murder and the trials. I will start by looking at the suburb of Cabramatta, and its controversial image in the media. I will examine media coverage like the following: “Cabramatta was simultaneously the fulfillment of our migration dream and its nightmarish conclusion” {Sydney Morning Herald, 1 September 1994, p. 8). “Streets where decent citizens were afraid to walk must be cleansed of drug pushers and menacing local gangs” {Sun-Herald 11 September 1994, p. 28). This thesis will examine the following questions. (1) Why is there doubt about the role of the police in the conviction of Phuong Ngo amongst those who closely observed the case? (2) How was the media able to vilify Phuong Ngo, to a point where it appears there was very little sympathy for him, and little understanding of his case in the broader community outside Cabramatta?



Bibliography: leaves 84-86

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis bachelor


Legal research project (LLB), Macquarie University

Department, Centre or School

Macquarie Law School

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Gill Boehringer


Copyright Helen Nguyen 2002 Copyright disclaimer: This thesis was digitised for the purposes of Document Delivery. Macquarie University ResearchOnline attempted to locate the author but where this has not been possible; we are making available, open access, the thesis which may be used for the purposes of private research and study. If you have any enquiries or issues regarding this work being made available please contact Macquarie University ResearchOnline -




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