Allegations of police misconduct over the conviction of a man jailed for life for the wilful murder of his pregnant casual sex partner are to be investigated.
The Corruption and Crime Commission said yesterday it would look into allegations over the collection and handling of evidence that led to Scott Douglas Austic facing a minimum 25-year jail term.
A jury convicted Austic in 2009 of the stabbing murder of Stacey Thorne in December 9, 2007, at her Boddington home.
But allegations that key evidence was planted, withheld and misrepresented at his trial were made in a legal petition for a fresh appeal and revealed in _The West Australian _ in December.
The petition for clemency, drafted by Malcolm McCusker before he was appointed WA Governor, pleads for Austic's case to be referred to the Court of Appeal on the basis of reviews by forensic experts Clint Hampson and Robin Napper.
Lodged with former attorney-general Christian Porter in January last year, the petition raises doubts about four key pieces of evidence in the circumstantial case.
It includes an allegation that a cigarette packet with a stain of Ms Thorne's blood appeared at Austic's house while police were in control of the scene.
Shadow attorney-general John Quigley, who referred the allegations to the CCC, said Mr Porter and his successor Michael Mischin had sat on the petition for nearly a year between them.
He said Mr Mischin also referred serious allegations of police misconduct back to police and failed to advise the CCC of the claims.
"Most gravely, they failed to refer this serious non-disclosure and alleged planting of evidence back to the Court of Appeal," Mr Quigley said.
Mr Mischin said he would raise the issue with CCC Commissioner Roger Macknay this week to try to ascertain the time the investigation would take and the relevance of the watchdog's inquiries on whether to refer the case for a fresh appeal.
He said that if the inquiry was relevant to a miscarriage of justice, it would be prudent to wait until it was finished.
Robyn Austic said her son had always maintained his innocence and the CCC investigation was a long time coming.
"I am absolutely over the moon. Thank God someone is finally listening to us," Mrs Austic said.