‘I have no sympathy’: Justice finally to be served for Scott Johnson

scott johnson nsw police arrest gay hate murder crime
Photos: Supplied, NSW Police

After thirty-five years, justice may finally be served for Scott Johnson, the gay man who was tragically found dead at the base of a cliff in Sydney’s Manly in 1988.

Scott Phillip White is once again scheduled to be sentenced for the manslaughter of Mr. Johnson.

Despite already previously being sentenced for murder and pleading not guilty, only to then shout “I’m guilty” during the trial, White later had his conviction overturned based on an appeal that he was ‘stressed and confused’ during the trial.

‘Another year of grief’ says Johnson family

Mr Johnson’s brother, Steve, told a sentencing submission hearing in the Supreme Court on Tuesday that White’s legal wranglings had “cost his family another year of grief”.

While Steve has his family initially expressed gratitude to White for initially pleading guilty to murder, he says now, “I have no sympathy…. He undid any gratitude we had for sparing us a trial”.

“Our struggle for justice has been long and torturous,” he said, before going on to describe his brother as the “gentlest, most trusting soul imaginable”.

After a bungled police investigation, an initial inquest into Scott Johnson’s death in 1988 found the 27-year-old mathematician and PhD student died by suicide, but Steve never accepted this.

“Remarkably the person who killed my brother is in jail and will be sentenced on Thursday,” he said.

“It feels like it might finally be the day that we find justice for my brother.”

‘This could have been solved within weeks’

Steve also, earlier this year, expressed his frustation at the handling of the case.

“This investigation could have been done day one, back in 1988… in all likelihood this could have been solved within weeks of the crime instead of 34 years later.

“That makes me more angry than anything else at this point.

“The police ignoring the case and then trying to blame my brother’s ‘suicide’ on me, for years, decades, is an atrocity in its own right,” he said, referring to “fabricated” suggestions by some police in the past that Scott could have been driven to suicide due to family estrangement.

Steve also says he “sincerely hopes” the inquiry “sticks to the path that it’s on and tries to rectify … the way that police handle these cases of gay men who died, who still haven’t gotten any justice”.

There are numerous other suspected gay hate murders in New South Wales that remain unsolved.

Anyone with information on unsolved crimes can contact Crime Stoppers confidentially on 1800 333 000 or online.

For the latest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) news in Australia, visit qnews.com.au. Check out our latest magazines or find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

Nate Woodall

QNews, Brisbane Gay, App, Gay App, LGBTI, LGBTI News, Gay Australia

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