Judicial Hearings

“Julian Knight - The Hoddle St Massacre” 

Judicial Hearings

Judicial Hearings

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The main judicial hearings that resulted from the Hoddle Street massacre and the arrest of Julian Knight were as follows:

Murder Charge

At 12.20pm on Monday the 10 th August 1987, Knight appeared before Chief Magistrate John "Darcy" Dugan in Court 1 of the Melbourne Magistrates' Court. At this hearing Knight was charged with the murder of John Muscat on the information of Detective Senior Sergeant Brian McCarthy, and was then remanded in custody to appear again in the Melbourne Magistrates' Court on the 17 th August 1987 for a remand hearing.

Committal Proceedings

Between 11.05am-12pm on Monday the 18 th April 1988, Knight appeared before Chief Magistrate Dugan in Court 3 of the Melbourne Magistrates' Court. This hearing constituted the committal proceedings against Knight, with barrister Mr John "Joe" Dickson QC and junior barrister Mr Julian Leckie representing the Department of Public Prosecutions, and with barrister Mr Robert Richter QC, junior barrister Mr Richard Pirrie and Legal Aid Commission of Victoria solicitor Mr Michael "Mick" O'Brien representing Knight. No witnesses were called, although brief statements were made by Dickson and Richter, and the hearing was adjourned until the following morning.

Between 10.07am-10.15am on Tuesday the 19 th April 1988, Knight appeared again before Chief Magistrate Dugan in Court 3 of the Melbourne Magistrates' Court. This hearing constituted the final part of the committal proceedings against Knight. At this hearing Knight was committed by Chief Magistrate Dugan to stand trial on 7 counts of murder, 39 counts of attempted murder, 7 counts of intentionally cause serious injury and 12 counts of intentionally cause injury, in the Supreme Court of Victoria at Melbourne during the sessions commencing on the 6 th June 1988.

Inquest

Between 10am-10.55am on Thursday the 2 nd June 1988, Knight appeared before Victorian State Coroner Harold "Hal" Hallenstein in the Melbourne Coroner's Court. This hearing constituted the inquest into the 7 Hoddle Street deaths (one of the shortest inquests in Australian legal history), with barrister Mr Joe Dickson QC and junior barrister Mr Julian Leckie assisting the Coroner, and with junior barrister Mr Richard Pirrie representing Knight. Only one witness was called to give evidence, newly promoted Detective Sergeant Graham Kent, who read a brief statement based on Dickson's statement at the committal, following which Coroner Hallenstein found that Knight caused the death of the 7 Hoddle Street victims [Ref: Victorian State Coroner's File Nos: John Peter Muscat 3436/87, Tracey Marie Skinner 3438/87, Kenneth Shane Stanton 3440/87, Robert George Mitchell 3441/87, Vesna Markovska 3442/87, Dusan Flajnik 3443/87, Georgina "Gina" Papaioannou 3622/87].

Inquest Application

Between 10.30am-11am, 12pm-12.40pm and 2pm-2.20pm on Wednesday the 19 th October 1988, Knight appeared before Mr Justice George Hampel in Court 3 of the Supreme Court of Victoria at Melbourne. This hearing was to hear an application by Knight for an order directing the Victorian State Coroner to re-open the inquest into the 7 Hoddle Street deaths, pursuant to section 59(3)(a) of the Coroners Act 1985 (Vic) [Application No: M354/1988] . At this hearing barrister Mr Peter J. Bick represented the Coroner and the Victorian Attorney-General, and Knight represented himself. Following submissions from Bick and Knight, Mr Justice Hampel dismissed Knight's application.

Plea Before Sentencing

Between 10.30am-1pm and 2.15pm-4.15pm on Friday the 28 th October 1988, Knight appeared before Mr Justice George Hampel in Court 3 of the Supreme Court of Victoria at Melbourne. Knight was presented on 7 counts of murder and 46 counts of attempted murder, and following pre-arranged guilty pleas to each and every count, a plea before sentencing was conducted [Case No: T557] . As at the committal, the Crown (the State) was represented by Dickson and Leckie, and Richter, Pirrie and O'Brien represented Knight. During these hearings forensic psychiatrists Dr David Sime and Dr Allen Bartholomew gave evidence regarding Knight's psychiatric condition, and forensic psychologist Dr Ken Byrne gave evidence regarding Knight's psychological condition, before the hearing was adjourned until the following Monday morning.

Between 10.30am-11.30am on Monday the 31 st October 1988, Knight appeared again before Justice Hampel in Court 3 of the Supreme Court. Following final summations by Dickson and Richter, Justice Hampel adjourned the matter to a date to be fixed.

Sentencing

Between 10am-10.40am on Thursday the 10 th November 1988, Knight appeared before Mr Justice George Hampel in Court 4 of the Supreme Court of Victoria at Melbourne. At this hearing Justice Hampel sentenced Knight to Life imprisonment on each count of murder, and 10 years imprisonment on each count of attempted murder, with a final sentence of Life imprisonment with a minimum non-parole term of 27 years [Ref: R v Knight [1989] VR 705] . .
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