Australian man faces possible life sentence for pushing gay American to his death from a Sydney cliff

Australian man faces possible life sentence for pushing gay American to his death from a Sydney cliff

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A circle of relatives picture supplied by means of the New South Wales Police presentations Scott Johnson, who in 1988 used to be driven to his dying from a clifftop in Sydney, Australia. 

New South Wales Police Drive


Canberra, Australia — A person instructed police he killed American mathematician Scott Johnson in 1988 by means of pushing the 27-year-old off a Sydney cliff in what prosecutors describe as a homosexual hate crime, a courtroom heard on Monday. Scott White, 51, seemed within the New South Wales state Ideal Courtroom for a sentencing listening to after he pleaded responsible in January to the homicide of the Los Angeles-born Canberra resident, whose dying on the base of a North Head cliff used to be first of all disregarded by means of police as suicide.
 
White shall be sentenced by means of Justice Helen Wilson on Tuesday. He faces a possible sentence of existence in jail.
 
“I pushed a bloke. He went over the edge,” White mentioned in recorded police interview in 2020 that used to be performed in courtroom.
 
White mentioned within the interview he lied when he had previous instructed police that he had attempted to take hold of Johnson and save you his deadly fall.


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A coroner dominated in 2017 that Johnson “fell from the clifftop as a result of actual or threatened violence by unidentified persons who attacked him because they perceived him to be homosexual.”
 
The coroner additionally discovered that gangs of fellows roamed quite a lot of Sydney places searching for homosexual males to attack, ensuing within the deaths of a few sufferers. Some folks had been additionally robbed.
 
A coroner had dominated in 1989 that the overtly homosexual guy had taken his personal existence, whilst a 2nd coroner in 2012 may now not provide an explanation for how he died.

Australia Gay Hate
Steve Johnson, brother of U.S. homicide sufferer Scott Johnson, hugs his spouse Rosemarie as they come on the Ideal Courtroom in Sydney, Might 2, 2022, for a sentencing listening to within the homicide of Scott.

Rick Rycroft/AP


His Boston-based brother Steve Johnson maintained power for additional investigation and introduced his personal praise of one million Australian greenbacks ($704,000) for info. White used to be charged in 2020 and police say the praise shall be accrued.
 
White’s former spouse Helen White instructed the courtroom that her then-husband “bragged” to their youngsters of thrashing homosexual males on the clifftop well known for homosexual meetups.
 
Helen White mentioned she learn a newspaper record in 2008 about Johnson’s dying and requested her husband if he used to be accountable.
 
“It’s not my fault,” Scott White allegedly responded. “The dumb (expletive) ran off the cliff.”
 
“I said, ‘It is if you chased him,'” Helen White instructed the courtroom. She mentioned her husband didn’t answer.

Underneath cross-examination, Helen White denied she were conscious about a AU$1 million praise for info on Johnson’s homicide when she reported her former husband to police in 2019. She mentioned she handiest was conscious about a praise when the sufferer’s brother, Steve Johnson, doubled the sum in 2020.
 
Steve Johnson mentioned in his sufferer affect commentary that, “With a vicious push, Mr. White took Scott and he vanished.”
 
“This man (Scott Johnson) who once told me he could never hurt someone even in self-defense died in terror,” the brother added.

Steve Johnson mentioned he liked White’s responsible plea.
 
“If he had turned himself in after his violent action, I would have had a little more sympathy. If he had grasped Scott’s hand and pulled him to safety, I would owe him everlasting gratitude,” the brother mentioned, his voice choked with emotion.
 
Scott Johnson’s sisters Terry and Rebecca Johnson, his spouse Michael Noone and Steve Johnson’s spouse Rosemarie Johnson additionally gave sufferer affect statements.
 
Rosemarie Johnson described the preliminary police failure to analyze Scott Johnson’s dying as “indefensible and inhumane.”
 
Rebecca Johnson, a more youthful sister, mentioned the police record of suicide “made no sense.”

Australia Gay Hate
Steve Johnson, proper, along with his sisters, Terry, left, and Rebecca and his spouse Rosemarie, 2nd proper, arrive on the Ideal Courtroom in Sydney, Might 2, 2022, for a sentencing listening to within the homicide of Scott Johnson, Steve, Terry and Rebecca’s brother.

Rick Rycroft/AP


“How could a community fail so spectacularly that they created boys capable of such horror?” she requested, regarding media reviews of homosexual beatings in Sydney being described as a recreation.
 
Prosecutor Brett Hatfield mentioned the fitting main points of the homicide weren’t recognized and that White’s accounts had various.
 
White had met Johnson in a close-by bar in suburban Manly and Johnson had stripped bare on the clifftop earlier than he died, Hatfield mentioned. He mentioned the gravity of the homicide used to be considerably increased as it used to be motivated by means of the sufferer’s sexuality.
 
White’s legal professional Belinda Rigg mentioned her shopper used to be homosexual and were involved that his homophobic brother would to find out.
 
In January, White yelled time and again in courtroom all through a pre-trial listening to that he used to be responsible, having in the past denied the crime.
 
His attorneys will enchantment that plea within the Courtroom of Legal Appeals and hope he’ll be acquitted at trial.
 
Scott Johnson used to be a doctoral pupil at Australian Nationwide College and lived in Canberra. He used to be staying at Noone’s oldsters’ Sydney house when he died.

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