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Conviction - Part Two - Transcript

PROGRAM TRANSCRIPT: Monday, 20 June , 2011

CAROLINE JONES, PRESENTER: Hello, I'm Caroline Jones. Tonight we conclude the story of Dr Simon
Palfreeman on a mission to help his son who's serving 20 years in jail in Bulgaria. Young Jock
Palfreeman was convicted of unprovoked murder after a melee in which one boy was fatally stabbed
and another boy injured. Australian Story producer Belinda Hawkins has been following this case
from the outset and is researching a book on the subject. Tonight all hopes focus on an appeal
hearing as Simon Palfreeman is pushed to new limits. First this recap.

SCREEN TEXT: Last week.

decide whose interest it takes into consideration - a family which was well connected or somebody
who came from the other part of the world and came to help a member of an ethnic minority that is
almost universally hated by society.

DR SIMON PALFREEMAN, FATHER: I just let Jock talk and he told me his story.

HELEN PALFREEMAN, WIFE AND STEP-MOTHER: As I understand it, they went out for a night on the town.
They could hear some noise coming from the subway.

JOCK PALFREEMAN, SON: A group of football fans started walking up the street. People were walking
past them and they were pushing them and I saw two men on the ground being beaten.

DR SIMON PALFREEMAN, FATHER: Jock told me when he got closer that the boy was dark-skinned. He was
obviously a gypsy.

JOCK PALFREEMAN, SON: And then I started shouting in Bulgarian, go back go back. That's when they
started attacking me. More of them starting coming towards me and I realized shit, now I'm in some
trouble here. So I reached into my right pocket and pulled out the knife. I thought they would be

HELEN PALFREEMAN, WIFE AND STEP-MOTHER: They all end up moving away from the boy on the ground and
then things started to get a bit serious for Jock. He was knocked to the ground. He got at that
stage, got very concerned about his own safety. He thought if he didn't get up, he thought he was
fighting for his survival.

AUSTRALIAN NEWS REPORTER: Jock Palfreeman says he only used the knife as self defense.

AUSTRALIAN NEWS REPORTER 2: Two locals were stabbed. One, a student named Andrei Monov, died on the
way to hospital.

RUTH SHANN, PRO BONO BARRISTER: Amazingly Monov had a blood alcohol concentration of 0.29. Jock
himself had 0.1.

HELEN PALFREEMAN, WIFE AND STEP-MOTHER: Murder with hooliganism was the verdict and the sentence
was 20 years.

DR SIMON PALFREEMAN, FATHER: I think part of my world fell in and my faith in the Bulgarian justice
system just took a huge nose dive.

(End of recap from last week)

DR SIMON PALFREEMAN, FATHER: Being a pathologist is very much science-based and has very little to
do with the art of being a lawyer. I found the whole episode of going to Bulgaria and joining in
Jock's defense team very, very difficult, it was a very, very different world. We knew the next
procedural thing was an appeal but mentally we couldn't prepare for anything until we knew how the
court had come up with the verdict of murder with hooliganism.

JOCK PALFREEMAN, SON: My father has a very high moral standard. He's very principled. I guess his
faith that people will do the right thing clouded his understanding of the situation that this is
not a place where you can just believe that people will do the right thing for the sake of doing
the right thing. It's not what happens here. There's nothing my father can do and this is what
would infuriate him

DR SIMON PALFREEMAN, FATHER: In many quiet moments throughout the day, particularly on first
getting up, the first thing that I just find overwhelming is this, what is happening in Bulgaria?
What is happening to Jock? Where is he now? Is he alright?

HELEN PALFREEMAN, WIFE AND STEP-MOTHER: Not having been there that night nobody knows exactly what
happened and there is doubt. I know that Jock thinks about this.

JOCK PALFREEMAN, SON: Still I don't remember killing Andrei Monov. I had nothing against him. Why
would I ever want to kill him? I don't even know if it was from me. The courts don't even know if
it was from me.

RUTH SHANN, PRO BONO BARRISTER: The judge found that Jock had intent to murder because he used a
butterfly knife and because of the strength of the stab wounds and because of where the stab wounds
were on the bodies. However none of these things are actually inconsistent with Jock having
attempted to defend himself.

JULIAN MCMAHON, PRO BONO BARRISTER: What was confusing is that on the one hand the court set out
and seemed to except the evidence of the independent witness Georgiou, namely that there was a
cruel beating of a man for 30 to 40 seconds. And yet then in its conclusion it positively found
that there was no evidence of any fight or belting of the gypsy or the Roma. As a matter of logic
and legal reasoning we find that inexplicable.

RUTH SHANN, PRO BONO BARRISTER: When I first started reading the witness statements it was clear
that a large number of them were taken from the boys in the group and that those boys had
identified early on in the piece that they'd interacted and had a fight with Roma people at the

EXTRACT FROM WITNESS STATEMENT (voiceover): There was an argument between Andrei and some gypsies.

EXTRACT FROM WITNESS STATEMENT 2 (voiceover): There was some kind of commotion. You could hear

RUTH SHANN, PRO BONO BARRISTER: The police on the scene also indicated that they'd been told that
Jock had gone over there because of an altercation between the group and Roma. These people then
actually then changed their stories at the trial and when defense tried to get their first
statements brought into evidence this was blocked by the parents of the dead boy and the injured
boy who worked along with the prosecutor.

JULIAN MCMAHON, PRO BONO BARRISTER: There are something in excess of 200 cases already from
Bulgaria in the waiting list at the European Court of Human Rights. Its judiciary is clearly under
scrutiny from the European Union and Simon's in the middle of that.

PARVOLETA NIKOVA, PROSECUTOR (subtitles): Indeed our legal system is different from your legal
system and the other European countries. But at the end of the day no one has the right to take
another human being's life.

HELEN PALFREEMAN, WIFE AND STEP-MOTHER: Simon comes from a long family of seven. Simon was the
oldest and as such his role was really a lot of the time was to really help look after the younger

GERI PALFREEMAN, SISTER: I think ever since you know, all this has kind of happened with Jock we
often think, well it can't get much worse than that. When I had the diagnosed that I had
myelodysplasia, when I had this diagnosis, there was a kind of a sense of well I think it just did
get worse. You know I think that just happened. If I didn't find a bone marrow transplant match I
had a very high risk of death.

DR SIMON PALFREEMAN, FATHER: We were all tested by the Red Cross here - Easter of 2010. Would you
believe it, of the six siblings I was the only match to be a donor for the transplant.

GERI PALFREEMAN, SISTER : On one level it was like, oh not more for Simon. But also it was a
question of we need to do this as quickly as possible and this need to be a priority.

DR SIMON PALFREEMAN, FATHER: And so in the middle of 2010 Helen and I went across back to the UK.
It's been one of the highlights in fact of the three years that it's been one of more successful
things that we've managed to do as opposed to the lack of success with Jock.

SCREEN TEXT: Jock Palfreeman appealed the conviction as unjustified in light of the evidence. The
prosecution and civil claimants appealed the 20 year sentence as too lenient, requesting it be
increased to life without parole.

HELEN PALFREEMAN, WIFE AND STEP-MOTHER: In October 2010 the first day of the Appeal Court came
around and we knew we were getting back into that series of multiple trips to Bulgaria.

DR SIMON PALFREEMAN, FATHER (Speaking at rally for Jock, Sydney - October 2010): I think we're for
lots of different reasons. Some is because we're family and others because he has been such a loyal
and good friend to a lot of people.

HELEN PALFREEMAN, WIFE AND STEP-MOTHER: If you ask me what I wanted out of this whole lengthy
process I would have liked to have seen the truth of the events come out.

DR SIMON PALFREEMAN, FATHER (Speaking at rally for Jock, Sydney - October 2010): One minute here on
this sunny October day on Sydney Harbor and tomorrow, on Tuesday I will be in Sofia and on Thursday
in Sofia court so it's a pretty big change.

DR SIMON PALFREEMAN, FATHER (Sofia, Bulgaria - two days later): At the moment I am tired and
nervous. So many times I have come away from the court thinking this is fantastic we've got all the
evidence to support Jock's case. The court cannot but find him not guilty and then to have the
disappointment of such a flawed result last December. So I'm very cautious now about letting myself
be too optimistic. However, I am aware that this is a different court and really it's Jock's best
chance at getting some real justice.

JOCK PALFREEMAN, SON: I don't dream anymore. I don't have any hopes for the future. You can't have
hope without having options.

RUTH SHANN, PRO BONO BARRISTER: The court have to be satisfied to an equivalent standard of beyond
reasonable doubt that Jock has committed murder with hooliganism motives and that there was no
provocation and no self defense or defense of another before they can find him guilty. The defense
wanted to look at whether or not the injuries were actually consistent with the knife that Jock had

DR SIMON PALFREEMAN, FATHER: The way the forensic evidence was treated in the first trial was so
badly done. When I heard that the Appeal Courts had rejected our request for reviewing the forensic
evidence it left me feeling with a very, very deep pit in the bottom of my stomach that things were
not going to go right.

ASSOC. PROF. MARIA GROZEVA, FORENSIC MEDICINE: I can't sleep well if I support court or police to
put some innocent to stay in jail.

DR SIMON PALFREEMAN, FATHER: Dr Grozeva is a medical doctor but conducts forensic medical
examinations. So for instance she examined Jock and also the boy who was wounded.

ASSOC. PROF. MARIA GROZEVA, FORENSIC MEDICINE : When I examined Jock Palfreeman I want to underline
that on his hands, over his clothes, no blood stains.

DR SIMON PALFREEMAN, FATHER: During the first trial she was prepared accept that there were
alternative versions to those put forward by the prosecutor

ASSOC. PROF. MARIA GROZEVA, FORENSIC MEDICINE : I am not sure that he is a murderer.

SCREEN TEXT: Andrei Monov, 20, died from a single stab wound under his armpit.

His blood was found on the knife that Jock Palfreeman carried.

ASSOC. PROF. MARIA GROZEVA, FORENSIC MEDICINE : When I have this knife I saw it's a one edged
knife. When one edged weapon is used, only one part of the rib can be cutted. Here we have two
neighboring ribs cutted, one over another. It's impossible to think that this knife can make this
defects on the ribs.

DR SIMON PALFREEMAN, FATHER: Was it even Jock's knife that caused the wounds?

ONSCREEN CAPTION: Jock Palfreeman's fingerprints and DNA were not found on the knife he carried.
There was no blood from the injured man, Antoan Zahariev, found on it either.

(Excerpt of television interview)

ANTOAN ZAHARIEV, INJURED MAN (subtitles): Suddenly it turned out I was the closest one to him. At
first I thought I could stop him in some way.

TV HOST: This is the moment when he stabbed you?

ANTOAN ZAHARIEV, INJURED MAN: Well, most likely he stabbed me at this moment.

(End of excerpt)

JULIAN MCMAHON, PRO BONO BARRISTER: There clearly seems to be real doubt about what happened and of
course in a criminal trial when you have to prove an intent to kill, a specific intent to kill
which is what is needed here that doubt becomes incredibly important.

ASSOC. PROF. MARIA GROZEVA, FORENSIC MEDICINE : I am not so sure that after short time I will go on
to work with these police. They work not clean. My colleagues doesn't use possibilities of forensic
science. They are not well educated and that makes very big stress over my decision to be in near
future forensic expert. And one of these cases is the case of Jock Palfreeman.

DR SIMON PALFREEMAN, FATHER: It became quite clear to me why in fact Jock had a knife that day.
First of all, carrying a knife is not illegal in Bulgaria. Secondly many youths carry knives
around. Jock actually had been set upon on a number of occasions by groups of thugs.

GERI PALFREEMAN, SISTER : He did tell a story in that time he was living in Bulgaria about how he
saw a gypsy called Simo assaulted by a group of Bulgarians and how he intervened.

SIMO PANOV: It was in a rock festival. Skinheads, they just came to me and beat me and bumped me
with knife. What Jock did was very like saved my life because he was like, okay we got to get out
of here. I didn't saw Jock with knife or he was not like, he was not that kind of person like, oh
let's go and beat them, or I have knife. He didn't say that.

DR SIMON PALFREEMAN, FATHER: If someone's being beset by someone else, if he sees an injustice, he
doesn't look at the consequences, he just runs in there and tries to fix it up in the way that he
thinks it should be fixed up. And that's not always the right way but that is his motivation.

SCREEN TEXT: As the appeal unfolded Dr Palfreeman continued to travel between Australia and

DR SIMON PALFREEMAN, FATHER (Speaking at Sofia Appeal Court): I'm extremely nervous at the moment.
It great to see Jock in there and he's usually a source of some strength because he usually takes
it pretty well.

RUTH SHANN, PRO BONO BARRISTER: Even though the Appeal Court refused to hear further evidence about
the forensics it did allow evidence to be called on what we considered one of the most central
aspects of the case: why did Jock go over to the group in the first place and why did he actually
pull out the knife?

JULIAN MCMAHON, PRO BONO BARRISTER: Several of the gang were questioned and essentially admitted
that there was a fight on the Roma or the gypsy, an attack on the Roma or the gypsy. Now that's
contrary to the finding of the court below. So that's critical evidence.

DR SIMON PALFREEMAN, FATHER: The policemen agreed that their original police statement in fact were
valid and true and were a better representation than what they had said during the court. No more
was ever said about that even though it's obvious perjury, but no more was said about that. But at
least we had their original police statements now.

Court): It's a small country. Everybody knows everybody knows everybody else and when a foreigner
is a defendant it is not difficult to exercise such an influence.

(Excerpt of television interview)

ANTOAN ZAHARIEV, INJURED MAN (subtitles): In general I've never wanted to talk to the media about
this. It always happens through Andrei's parents. If they ask me to give a statement then I will as
it happens.

(End of excerpt)

(Simon and Jock speaking in prison)

JOCK PALFREEMAN, SON: They change the rules every time. I've already got one...

DR SIMON PALFREEMAN, FATHER: No, no, no, no, it's not that it can't come in, it's just that
somebody special has got to...

JOCK PALFREEMAN, SON: No, no, no, they just change the rules.

DR SIMON PALFREEMAN, FATHER: No, no, no, Jock, Jock, Jock...

(End of excerpt)

whereas Jock looked very pessimistic because Jock had seen more of the Bulgarian society than his

(Simon and Jock speaking in prison)

JOCK PALFREEMAN, SON: I said I will be ready in the morning to go to court if the judge turns up.

DR SIMON PALFREEMAN, FATHER: (Laughs) As a joke. I mean...

JOCK PALFREEMAN, SON: Yeah as a joke and he didn't turn up.

(End of excerpt)

DR SIMON PALFREEMAN, FATHER: Sometimes his perspective on things is becoming much more focused on
what's happening to him on a day to day basis. He still gets very concerned about other inmates and
their problems. He wants to fight any number of battles on their behalf and it's always hard to get
him back and focused on the important issue for me anyway which is to get him out of there.

SCREEN TEXT: In December last year Dr Palfreeman was expecting to sum up the defense case along
with his son and his Bulgarian lawyer.

AUSTRALIAN NEWS READER 3 (voiceover): The big freeze gripping Europe has disrupted travel around
the world

JOCK PALFREEMAN, SON: My father is stuck. The Heathrow airport snow-out has closed the airport down
and I don't know exactly where he is at the moment - somewhere between Sydney and Sofia. I'm
following it on the news.

(Outside Sofia Appeal Court)

REPORTER: Where is Simon Palfreeman now?

DINKO KANCHEV, JOCK PALFREEMAN'S LAWYER: As far as I know his flight was redirected to Thessaloniki
because of dense fog over Sofia airport.

(End of excerpt)

DR SIMON PALFREEMAN, FATHER (Sofia, Bulgaria - that night): I'm just pretty well overwhelmed by the
last four days. Just trying to get here and to be so close on several occasions to actually being
present here and the lengths that we had to take to actually try and be here and then we just miss
out by literally a couple of hours. It's been a bit of a roller coaster I have to say.

HELEN PALFREEMAN, WIFE AND STEP-MOTHER: He was even more disappointed when he found out that they'd
postponed the court date so that in fact Simon could give his final statement but they'd postponed
it not to the next day as Simon had hoped but it was in fact postponed to yet another date in

JOCK PALFREEMAN, SON: I love my father a lot. He's very, very, very dedicated. He won't stop. He's
not so much a storm, he's more of a river slowly wearing down the cliff (laughs) and that's what I
really admire about him.

DR SIMON PALFREEMAN, FATHER: Whereas before what I would have considered to be some of his traits
as being just annoying or difficult I now see as a very, very solid inner conviction of how the
world should run and his sense of justice.

SCREEN TEXT: At the start of this year Dr Palfreeman returned to Bulgaria to give his final summary
to the Appeal Court.

DR SIMON PALFREEMAN, FATHER: It's been actually a good day overall today. I had a very fruitful
meeting with the European Commission which has put me on a bit of a high because they've obviously
been very interested in the case.

these proceedings are fair. That all the evidence is brought to the court and that the court is
impartial. I fear of undue influence on the court.

such unprecedented pressure on the Bulgarian court in any other case. I believe even now in the
court room is the chairman of the Helsinki Committee, my classmate from the Faculty of Philosophy,
Krassimir Kanev, who doesn't dare to look me in the eye. The question is can the murderer be
corrected? Accept my definite opinion: he cannot. So now I understand the efforts of his father to
defend him because he is a product of the family in which he grew up, a family which does not
respect the highest human values.

JOCK PALFREEMAN, SON: I would like to sit down with the Monov family and discuss with them and try
to make them see my point of view but I don't think it would work. I think that's what they've
shown in the last three years is that they're incapable of looking at the objective evidence.

DR SIMON PALFREEMAN, FATHER (In car on the way to Sofia airport): I was a bit surprised yesterday.
He had his beard on, he's always been very clean shaven. He certainly looked a little wilder than
usual. And I think for him it was a sign that this was the last day. And yet we've still got this
terrible verdict hanging over our heads. It could be great news, it could be terrible news. And
until we get that I don't think I will be sleeping very well.

HRISTO MONOV (Interview on Bulgarian TV, subtitles): Even if they hang him on St Nedelya Square
where he killed my son that is not going to bring my son back. But when that man is in prison and
when the last institution puts him in jail forever, then at least I am going to be certain that he
is not going to kill another, he is not going to blacken another family.

DR SIMON PALFREEMAN, FATHER: After the appeal process had finished in court but we were waiting for
their verdict, I went through lots of periods of self doubt - why didn't I mention this, why didn't
I mention that? I'd look at the English version of the Bulgarian news to see if there was anything
that would give me a hint as to which way they were likely to go.

HELEN PALFREEMAN, WIFE AND STEP-MOTHER: A couple of weeks after he returned from Bulgaria, Simon
had a health scare. He woke up one morning very early in the morning and he couldn't see out his
eye, out of one eye. He dismissed that and thought, oh look it's early in the morning and often
it's difficult to see out of your eyes early in the morning. But as the morning progressed and his
sight in that eye worsened he took himself off to casualty and has subsequently discovered that
he's partially lost the sight in his right eye.

JOCK PALFREEMAN, SON: It's another part of the tragedy. I think it's obvious that it's a direct
result of the stress from the case and from me being here in prison.

RUTH SHANN, PRO BONO BARRISTER: Simon appears to us to be losing hope in the system and appears to
be disintegrating in terms of his ability to cope with what he sees his son going through.

HELEN PALFREEMAN, WIFE AND STEP-MOTHER: I'm worried that Simon will have a stroke or that there
will be some other catastrophic event that will take Simon away forever (crying).

DR SIMON PALFREEMAN, FATHER: It was a Monday night and the phone rang and it was a reporter from
England saying how did I feel? I said, about what? Sort of back of my mind what but not knowing
what because I hadn't heard anything and he said, oh well you know the court has just upheld the 20
years and the verdict of the first court. And I was just absolutely astounded.

RUTH SHANN, PRO BONO BARRISTER: It was a shock reading the reasons for the Appeal Court's decision
primarily because they had accepted the inconsistencies in what the group had said but had now
actually formulated a worse version of what Jock had done, saying he was potentially trying to kill
many more people than had originally been led at trial.

ASSOC. PROF. MARIA GROZEVA, FORENSIC MEDICINE : Political influence over the court, the
prosecution, over the police is very strong and I think that is the disaster in Bulgaria.

DR SIMON PALFREEMAN, FATHER: The Monovs have certainly lost their son and there's no doubt about
that. It's been very hard. But 20 years, I feel as though I've lost a son as well.

Sofia Prison is one of the worst prisons in Bulgaria and maybe also in Europe.

JOCK PALFREEMAN, SON: There's lots of things that need to be improved here and I think that's a
good way to spend my time, is trying to improve the living standards of prisoners in here.

death. It's an inhuman condition of detention essentially.

JOCK PALFREEMAN, SON: I have no hope but what choice do I have. It's a rock and a hard place and
I've decided to try and make the best of it whilst continuing to fight the justice system. That's
the way it is.

DR SIMON PALFREEMAN, FATHER: I think the ability of anybody to survive that longtime and the
ability of people to actually cause violence in these prisons is so high that I am very, very
fearful that in fact we might not even get to the end of this process, that in fact we might
actually find that he's met some serious either violence or possibly even death. In those early
mornings I sometimes imagine what it must be like to be flying into Sofia for the last time to
identify Jock and to take his body home rather than to take him home.


The result of Jock Palfreeman's latest appeal, to Bulgaria's highest court, is expected any day.

If the outcome is adverse, the Palfreemans say they will consider taking the case to the European
Court of Human Rights.

The Monovs declined to be interviewed for this program.