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Australian man faces potential life sentence for pushing homosexual American to his demise from a Sydney cliff


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A household photograph offered by the New South Wales Police exhibits Scott Johnson, who in 1988 was pushed to his demise from a clifftop in Sydney, Australia. 

New South Wales Police Pressure


Canberra, Australia — A person advised police he killed American mathematician Scott Johnson in 1988 by pushing the 27-year-old off a Sydney cliff in what prosecutors describe as a homosexual hate crime, a court docket heard on Monday. Scott White, 51, appeared within the New South Wales state Supreme Court docket for a sentencing listening to after he pleaded responsible in January to the homicide of the Los Angeles-born Canberra resident, whose demise on the base of a North Head cliff was initially dismissed by police as suicide.
 
White will probably be sentenced by Justice Helen Wilson on Tuesday. He faces a possible sentence of life in jail.
 
“I pushed a bloke. He went over the sting,” White mentioned in recorded police interview in 2020 that was performed in court docket.
 
White mentioned within the interview he lied when he had earlier advised police that he had tried to seize Johnson and forestall his deadly fall.


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A coroner dominated in 2017 that Johnson “fell from the clifftop on account of precise or threatened violence by unidentified individuals who attacked him as a result of they perceived him to be gay.”
 
The coroner additionally discovered that gangs of males roamed varied Sydney areas in the hunt for homosexual males to assault, ensuing within the deaths of some victims. Some individuals have been additionally robbed.
 
A coroner had dominated in 1989 that the brazenly homosexual man had taken his personal life, whereas a second coroner in 2012 couldn’t clarify how he died.

Australia Gay Hate
Steve Johnson, brother of U.S. homicide sufferer Scott Johnson, hugs his spouse Rosemarie as they arrive on the Supreme Court docket in Sydney, Could 2, 2022, for a sentencing listening to within the homicide of Scott.

Rick Rycroft/AP


His Boston-based brother Steve Johnson maintained strain for additional investigation and supplied his personal reward of 1 million Australian {dollars} ($704,000) for data. White was charged in 2020 and police say the reward will probably be collected.
 
White’s former spouse Helen White advised the court docket that her then-husband “bragged” to their youngsters of beating homosexual males on the clifftop well-known for homosexual meetups.
 
Helen White mentioned she learn a newspaper report in 2008 about Johnson’s demise and requested her husband if he was accountable.
 
“It isn’t my fault,” Scott White allegedly replied. “The dumb (expletive) ran off the cliff.”
 
“I mentioned, ‘It’s for those who chased him,'” Helen White advised the court docket. She mentioned her husband didn’t reply.

Below cross-examination, Helen White denied she had been conscious of a AU$1 million reward for data on Johnson’s homicide when she reported her former husband to police in 2019. She mentioned she solely turned conscious of a reward when the sufferer’s brother, Steve Johnson, doubled the sum in 2020.
 
Steve Johnson mentioned in his sufferer impression assertion that, “With a vicious push, Mr. White took Scott and he vanished.”
 
“This man (Scott Johnson) who as soon as advised me he might by no means harm somebody even in self-defense died in terror,” the brother added.


Within the Identify of Hate

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Steve Johnson mentioned he appreciated White’s responsible plea.
 
“If he had turned himself in after his violent motion, I’d have had a bit extra sympathy. If he had grasped Scott’s hand and pulled him to security, I’d owe him eternal gratitude,” the brother mentioned, his voice choked with emotion.
 
Scott Johnson’s sisters Terry and Rebecca Johnson, his companion Michael Noone and Steve Johnson’s spouse Rosemarie Johnson additionally gave sufferer impression statements.
 
Rosemarie Johnson described the preliminary police failure to analyze Scott Johnson’s demise as “indefensible and inhumane.”
 
Rebecca Johnson, a youthful sister, mentioned the police report of suicide “made no sense.”

Australia Gay Hate
Steve Johnson, proper, along with his sisters, Terry, left, and Rebecca and his spouse Rosemarie, second proper, arrive on the Supreme Court docket in Sydney, Could 2, 2022, for a sentencing listening to within the homicide of Scott Johnson, Steve, Terry and Rebecca’s brother.

Rick Rycroft/AP


“How might a group fail so spectacularly that they created boys able to such horror?” she requested, referring to media experiences of homosexual beatings in Sydney being described as a sport.
 
Prosecutor Brett Hatfield mentioned the exact particulars of the homicide weren’t identified and that White’s accounts had different.
 
White had met Johnson in a close-by bar in suburban Manly and Johnson had stripped bare on the clifftop earlier than he died, Hatfield mentioned. He mentioned the gravity of the homicide was considerably elevated as a result of it was motivated by the sufferer’s sexuality.
 
White’s lawyer Belinda Rigg mentioned her shopper was homosexual and had been involved that his homophobic brother would discover out.
 
In January, White yelled repeatedly in court docket throughout a pre-trial listening to that he was responsible, having beforehand denied the crime.
 
His attorneys will attraction that plea within the Court docket of Legal Appeals and hope he will probably be acquitted at trial.
 
Scott Johnson was a doctoral scholar at Australian Nationwide College and lived in Canberra. He was staying at Noone’s mother and father’ Sydney house when he died.



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