Editorial: 'Justice' system a hard slog

By Andrew Austin

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Alan Marshall is a decent person.

I have met the Napier man a few times now and each time he has been polite and friendly and just seems like an honest bloke.

What many people who meet Mr Marshall don't know is that he and his wife Wendy have been through hell in the last couple of years and have experienced pain and trauma that no one - especially not good people like them - deserves to go through.

On May 8, 2011, their lives were changed forever when their 29-year-old son, Andy, died after being pushed out of a second-storey window at a hotel in Perth, Western Australia.

If that was not horrific enough, they have had to endure the court case of Stefan Schmidt, the man responsible for Andy's death. Schmidt, a 26-year-old local man, was sentenced to a minimum of 14 years for murder after being found guilty in the Supreme Court of Western Australia. They were relieved by what they believed to be justice being served, even though the accused never acknowledged them at all - no apology, not even a glance in their direction.

Last week they had to watch as the Court of Appeal heard argument from Schmidt's lawyers that he should be allowed a retrial because of alleged flaws in the prosecution case. The Court of Appeal is likely to make a decision in the next few weeks, but Mr Marshall is convinced the judges will order a retrial.

A retrial would mean reliving the horror of their son's death.

Being the strong, brave people they are, they will return to Perth to sit through the nightmare again. That is what decent people do, they front up. But how much more do they have to endure?

- HAWKES BAY TODAY

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