An appeals court in Australia earlier today set aside the conviction of the man who had pleaded guilty to the 1988 gay-bashing murder of an American citizen.Scott Phillip White, 52, had declared himself “Guilty!
Guilty! Guilty!” of the murder of postgraduate mathematician Scott Johnson, then 27, at a pretrial hearing earlier this year.
White was quickly convicted but soon appealed his decision and applied to withdraw his guilty plea, saying the unexpected courtroom declaration of guilt was made under duress.
According to a report in the Star Observer, a NSW Court of Criminal Appeal today overturned the conviction and ordered a new trial for White.“In the present case we are unable to conclude that no substantial miscarriage of justice actually occurred because, although the matter might be thought to be finely balanced, we are not persuaded that the result would have been the same had the interests of justice test been applied to the White’s application for leave to withdraw his plea of guilty,” the court ruled in overturning White’s conviction while also setting aside his guilty plea.RELATED: New Australian Commission Examines Infamous String of Antigay MurdersJohnson was a doctoral student at the Australian National University in Canberra.