SYDNEY: An Australian court docket sentenced a person to 12 years behind bars Tuesday over the homicide of a homosexual American in Sydney three a long time in the past, in a case that highlighted a sequence of homophobic assaults from that period.
Scott Phillip White, 51, had pleaded responsible to murdering US mathematician Scott Johnson, whose physique was discovered on the base of a cliff within the metropolis’s north in December 1988.
Johnson’s demise was initially dominated a suicide, however a 2017 inquest discovered it was probably the 27-year-old had been pushed over the cliff or fell whereas making an attempt to flee assailants.
Speaking after the ruling, Johnson’s brother Steve, who had lengthy campaigned for justice and travelled to Australia for the trial, welcomed the sentence.
“I think what we got this week was fairness,“ he told media outside the Sydney court.
White previously admitted to punching Johnson, with the court finding that he had caused the victim to fall to his death from the secluded clifftop in Manly.
“The offender did a violent act, and that act was the direct cause of Dr Johnson leaving the clifftop in terror and dying on the rocks at its base,“ Justice Helen Wilson said in her sentencing.
Wilson said the killer’s assault and indifference to Johnson’s fate might have been “driven by the offender’s own self-loathing” as a homosexual man, however the court docket didn’t hear any proof to show it was a hate crime.
“It is tragic that Mr Johnson and all of Dr Johnson’s loved ones have had to endure this bitter pain. The sentence to be imposed upon the offender is unlikely to end that grief; perhaps it may bring some peace,“ Wilson said.
When police charged White in 2020, it reignited hopes that several other cold-case killings believed to be gay-hate crimes could also be solved.
At the time of Johnson’s death, gangs roamed Sydney searching for gay men to attack and were known to rob or assault men at “gay beats”, or meet-up factors.
Police later reclassified 27 deaths between the Nineteen Seventies and 2000 as homophobic hate crimes.
The drive admitted in 2018 that it had performed an element in marginalising the LGBT neighborhood and enabling society’s “acceptance of shocking violence directed at gay men” through the interval. – AFP