Principal Solicitor Peter O’Brien features in the new documentary by Channel Seven focusing on the manhunt for William Tyrrell.
“The disappearance of William Tyrrell” is a four-part series exploring on the various aspects of the mystery surrounding Tyrrell’s sudden disappearance.
Part Two of the serious centres on the unwarranted man hunt against Bill Spedding.
The disappearance of William Tyrrell
Seven years ago, three-year-old William Tyrrell went missing from his foster grandmother’s backyard in Kendall, northern NSW.
After one of the country’s biggest manhunts, a one million dollar reward and an 18-month coronal inquest, the case remains unsolved.
From repairman to household name
Bill Spedding became the highest-profile person of interest in the investigation into Tyrrell’s disappearance.
Police, including detective Gary Jubelin, targetted Spedding despite there being no evidence to suggest Spedding had anything to do with the boy’s disappearance.
A very public raid took place on Spedding’s house and business. He was then led into a police car in front of a very large media pack.
After a six-hour interview at the police station, one of the detectives gave him a warning.
“We know you did it. We’re going to get you. I’m going to come and arrest you,” Mr Spedding says he was told.
“I said, ‘I haven’t done anything. What are you talking about?’.”
A few days after the raid, child welfare authorities took the Speddings’ grandchildren away.
“We had to say goodbye to them, and that was terrible,” Bill’s wife Margaret Spedding told the ABC on the Four Corners episode about the investigation.
Police later decided to charge Mr Spedding over allegations of child abuse from 30 years ago. This was despite the claims having been discredited and dismissed by authorities back when they were originally made.
“Ultimately the judge was completely unsatisfied with the reliability of the evidence that had been presented by the Crown case,” Peter O’Brien told the ABC.
“[The judge] found that she could not be satisfied even that there was a case to answer by Mr Spedding and rejected the prosecution case, acquitting him and ordered costs to be paid in his favour by the prosecutors.”
You can watch the full episode of the documentary here.