Judges asked to review Vic cop killer case

Kaitlyn Offer

Convicted police killer Jason Roberts' claim that he was at home with his girlfriend on the night two Melbourne officers were murdered will be reviewed by Supreme Court judges.

Roberts was convicted along with Bendali Debs for the 1998 murders of officers Gary Silk and Rodney Miller.

But the life-sentence prisoner twice wrote to Attorney-General Martin Pakula for a petition of mercy, claiming he only helped Debs conceal evidence and was not actually at the murder scene.

Former Supreme Court judge Bernard Teague examined the petition and found Roberts' claim might have merit.

Justice Teague recommended the case be sent to Supreme Court judges for review on a "point arising in the case" that raises the possibility of the miscarriage of justice, but did not recommend revisiting the whole matter.

"There is no doubt that further litigation of this matter will be traumatic for the families of the murdered officers and their colleagues," Justice Teague wrote to Mr Pakula.

"For that reason I recommend a cautious approach to referral that is sensitive to the interests of victims."

As well as statements from Roberts and his girlfriend, Justice Teague said there were also phone taps not presented at trial that supported Roberts' claims and Debs had told two people on different occasions he went out alone on the night of the shootings.

The case is also being investigated by the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission over whether a police statement was altered. In addition, the matter was reviewed in 2013 by former detective Ron Iddles.

Mr Pakula's request for a review of evidence does not mean Roberts is guaranteed a retrial.

"For there to be a retrial, first of all the court would have to find there is credibility, then an attorney-general would have to refer it to the Court of Appeal and then the Court of Appeal would have to order a retrial," Mr Pakula told reporters.

"So there are multiple steps between now and any potential retrial."

Snr Const. Miller's widow Carmel Arthur said in a statement the family has always respected the judicial process.

"We will continue to do so until this matter is resolved," she said.

"As we prepare for the 20th anniversary of Rod and Gary's death, we choose to focus not on how they died, but how they lived. Two great men."

Police Association secretary Wayne Gatt said he shared the "disappointment and heartache" of the slain officers' families.

"Days like today only add to the burden of those who have fought so long and so hard to forget," he said.

"We sincerely hope that one day soon this tragic chapter in the history of Victoria Police can be closed for good. Gary Silk and Rod Miller and their families deserve that."

Shadow attorney-general John Pesutto said a Liberal-National government would not have been convinced that the new evidence was enough to warrant a judicial review.

"We would have required much more material to be convinced that a referral to the Supreme Court ought to be made," he told reporters.