Catt vs. Catt
Catt vs. Catt

LIE DETECTOR TESTER: Did you ever conspire with any other person to murder your former husband, Barry?

RAHNI SADLER: You put an innocent woman in jail for 10 years. You helped to put an innocent woman in jail for 10 years.

BARRY CATT: Really, that's calling the kettle black, that's for sure.

RAHNI SADLER: This is a story about truth and consequences.

BARRY: Could you spare me for two seconds? Thank you. Thank you very much. I've got a big answer for this. I've got this one right up me sleeve.

RAHNI: Once Barry and Roseanne were husband and wife. The consequence of their marriage is that Roseanne would serve 10 years behind bars for conspiring to murder him. The truth, according to Roseanne and a legion of supporters, is that she was framed.

ROSEANNE: And I'm sure you possibly all know who I am - Roseanne Catt. I served 10 years in jail for a crime I didn't commit. That's 3,652 days and 20 minutes... (CHUCKLES) ..so it's a long time to be buried alive, which I was. You are never the same. There's no amount of money, there's no amount of sorry could ever heal the wounds.

RAHNI: Roseanne grew up in country northern New South Wales. She was divorced with two kids and running a delicatessen in Taree when she met Barry Catt, in 1986. A year later they wed, but the marriage soon soured. In 1988, Roseanne got a protection order against Barry, who was charged with assaulting her. In 1989, SHE was charged with conspiring to murder HIM and the police seemingly had hard physical evidence. When the police raided your house, they said they found a gun in the ensuite.

ROSEANNE: Yes, that's correct.

RAHNI: Was that your gun?

ROSEANNE: I had never seen it in my life before. No, it definitely wasn't my gun.

RAHNI: So how did it get there?

ROSEANNE: Peter Thomas.

RAHNI: Peter Thomas was a local detective, a friend of Barry Catt, who became an enemy of Roseanne's.

ROSEANNE: Without doubt Peter Thomas planted the gun.

RAHNI: They'd had a serious run-in once. She'd complained about his behaviour and he was demoted. His mate Barry Catt was also seething about Roseanne including the assault case against him and other serious charges. That case began in July 1989. Three weeks later, Peter Thomas led a raid on Roseanne's home and arrested her for plotting to kill Barry Catt.

ROSEANNE: He handcuffed me in front of the children. They were screaming and crying.

RAHNI: Thomas's case was that Roseanne wanted Barry dead so she could get her hands on his panel-beating business and his three houses. He charged her with poisoning Catt with lithium, of various assaults with a heavy rock, a cricket bat and a knife and offering three people $30,000 to kill him. Roseanne's case has always been that Peter Thomas and Barry Catt framed an innocent woman out of revenge.

ROSEANNE: My case was made up of circumstantial evidence created by Peter Thomas. And the morning he did what he did to me he said, "I vowed I'd get even with you, you bitch." That was his words.

RAHNI: On 9 September, 1991, Roseanne Catt was found guilty. Outside the court, Barry Catt and Peter Thomas shook hands. Roseanne was sentenced to a maximum of 12 years and 3 months jail.

ROSEANNE: Probably for the first...12 months or two years...you're in a fog and you think surely someone is going to realise there's been a grave mistake here and just come to the door and say, "You can go home."

RAHNI: Roseanne Catt did hard time.

ROSEANNE: I lost count of the amount of bashings I got. You don't get any help in there. You get along the best way you can. You just have to suffer it.

RAHNI: Describe what it's like to be beaten. Is it too hard to describe? How many times did you go through that?

ROSEANNE: Many. Many. You don't have anyone to turn to.

RAHNI: Barry Catt is not an easy man to get hold of. But two weeks ago he agreed to meet at a cafe in Foster, in northern New South Wales. Hi. I'm Rahni. How are you? Have a seat. He said he was ready to talk about being in the frame for framing Roseanne. She spent 10 years in prison. Does that seem fair to you?

BARRY: I think she should never, ever been let out into the civil world. She's evil, right? She's canivelling, caneevelling, psychopath liar, very manipulative and really, what she deserves, she brought on herself. I think...(EXHALES) I think Roseanne, right, will rot in hell before she dies and goes to hell.

RAHNI: So, clearly you have no sympathy for her whatsoever.

BARRY: No!

RAHNI: Barry Catt's evidence was crucial to putting his wife behind bars. It was also a significant reason why she was released. Justice Thomas Davidson said you were rambling, irrelevant and incomprehensible. He suggested he couldn't trust the evidence you gave.

BARRY: Well, really... (LAUGHS) ..his choice. It's like smokers - they have a choice.

RAHNI: So you told the truth every step of the way?

BARRY: That's right. No reason, why should I? Look, I had everything made until I met Roseanne.

RAHNI: Barry Catt remains adamant that Roseanne is a dangerous, violent woman. And Barry, who's had at least nine protection orders taken out against him, knows a bit about violence. How many women have you actually struck?

BARRY: Practically, really...zero. I've always restrained meself from the crazy bitches.

RAHNI: Did you ever, in any way, attack Barry Catt?

ROSEANNE: No. I'm telling you now if anyone - man or woman - raised their hand to Barry Catt, he would kill them. No. No woman would ever raise their hand to Barry Catt.

RAHNI: Tell me honestly, Barry, look me in the eye snd tell me...

BARRY: Yeah, that's right. Look you in the eyes. You're beautiful.

RAHNI: ..you've never hit a woman?

BARRY: I've got no reason to hit a woman. If a woman hits me back. I'll restrain myself...

RAHNI: Have you hit a woman?

BARRY: ..if a woman hits me back, I'll restrain myself, right, and slap her back and backhand her, whatever, right? And restrain, try and grab the hands to restrain. I'm not saying punch them with clenched fist, or anything like that. If you try to grab 'em, right, and if you touch them with your hand with the back of your hand or the front of your hand, you're trying to tell the crazy things to wake up to themselves.

RAHNI: So, you've hit them to defend yourself?

BARRY: No. If I hit 'em, dear, I'd knock 'em right out.

RAHNI: I put to you that Roseanne didn't try to attack and kill you but that you regularly beat her.

BARRY: I'll say that one - the answer to that one will be.....going back 21 years ago....I wish I had of. I actually wish I had of, because you know why? The pain and suffering I've gone through now is really... I'll advise Roseanne - right - don't come near me.

RAHNI: Roseanne spent 10 years behind bars before being granted special bail while the Court of Appeal reviewed her case. It later found she'd been wrongfully convicted, due in part to the improper actions of Peter Thomas and the unreliability of Barry Catt. It did not find her innocent. On a late August afternoon, Roseanne was driven to freedom.

ROSEANNE: I didn't really feel the full impact until I drove out those gates with my son. That was heaven. That was heaven and I said, "Thank you, God."

RAHNI: Roseanne now lives in a small town south of Sydney. She's received no compensation for the lost decade of her life. Barry Catt got $90,000 as a victim of crime. He's never apologised.
He's never recanted. Roseanne has taken a lie detector test. Are you willing to take a lie detector test?

BARRY: Lie detector test? Yeah. I can't see why I wouldn't take a lie detector test.

RAHNI: If we set one up, you'll come along?

BARRY: Set one up, yeah, yeah. I'll go along.

RAHNI: Alright, let's do it.

BARRY: That's right. Good plan. Yeah. So and Roseanne, I'd like to say, "Bring it on." 'Cause, you know, 21 years down the tubes we may linger on - someone's gotta win at the end.

STEVE VAN APEREN: Regarding whether you planned or organised the murder of your husband, Barry, do you intend to answer truthfully each question about that?

ROSEANNE: Yes.

STEVE VAN APEREN: Prior to 1986, did you ever tell a lie to protect yourself?

ROSEANNE: No.

RAHNI: Both Roseanne and Barry Catt agreed to be tested by Steve van Aperen, Australia's leading lie-detector expert. Roseanne did her test first.

STEVE: Did you ever conspire with any other person to murder your former husband, Barry.

ROSEANNE: No.

STEVE: OK, you can relax, scratch, itch, move. We've got a couple more. OK. Ready to go again?

ROSEANNE: Yes.

STEVE: Did you ever plan or organise the murder of your former husband, Barry?

ROSEANNE: No.

STEVE: Did you ever tell a lie to someone..?

RAHNI: Again and again, the accusations that kept her in jail for 10 years with delicate equipment recording every tell-tale physical response.

STEVE: Do you intend to answer truthfully each question about that...?

RAHNI: Again and again.

ROSEANNE: No... Yes... No.

STEVE: OK, Roseanne. I've collated the results in relation to your test.

ROSEANNE: Yes.

STEVE: And, numerically, I have scored the charts and you passed that test. There is no doubt in my mind that you are, in fact, telling the truth in relation to those issues.

ROSEANNE: All the questions? Oh, very good.

STEVE: In relation to those questions, you passed.

RAHNI: You passed?

ROSEANNE: Obviously with flying colours.

RAHNI: That's obviously not a surprise to you.

ROSEANNE: No.

RAHNI: Maybe the doubters out there will believe you now?

ROSEANNE: I would hope so.

RAHNI: Very big smiles from you there. Next was Barry Catt, her ex-husband who has never wavered from his claim that SHE tried to kill HIM. Remember, he told us, "Bring it on".

BARRY: Just bring it on. Alright, let's do it. That's right.

RAHNI: But one day before the test, a man purporting to be Barry's agent, rang asking for $5,000. We refused but kept the invitation open. The next day, we set up, we waited, but Barry never showed. Roseanne Catt is now a full-time carer for her quadriplegic daughter Julianne. Five years ago, Julianne was in a car crash in Canada, where she'd settled after leaving Australia to escape the stress of her mother's ordeal.

ROSEANNE: I don't believe she would have been overseas had this not have happened to me. If she wasn't over there, possibly it wouldn't have happened. But, unfortunately, it has and I'll do my best to look after her for as long as I can.

RAHNI: Barry Catt never did make contact to explain why he backed down.

ROSEANNE: I don't think words could ever.....fully, ah, explain my thoughts and feelings towards this wicked person. All I...and it's certainly no good to say to him, "Do the right thing and give yourself up" 'cause I know that's just not within him. But his day...his day will come. His day will come.


END

More from Sunday Night