Investigation Review Of The Farquharson Case

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The Farquharson case encompassed a significant volume of media and public attention, due to the nature of the crime – that being a filicide type of homicide.

A filicide homicide defines as the deliberate criminal act of a child’s death that is caused by a parent. However, this case also obtained the attention from the media and public, fundamentally because of the system faults which resulted in a retrial. This investigation review will delve into the homicide investigation processes regarding to the Farquharson case. This will be accomplished through scrutinizing the significant errors that were palpable within the case, discussing the identified major flaws and failures, investigating critical suggestions for preventing future homicide investigations. As well as, exploring the immense influence the media undertakes within this criminal case.

The Homicide investigative process:

This exceedingly tragic and unforgettable investigation involving a paternal filicide, began in the year 2005 on Father’s Day. Every homicide investigation involves an investigative process, which assists in correctly obtaining evidence and the documentation of information. Initially, the investigation of this homicide was conveyed as being an accident due to Mr. Farquharson recall of the event where he provided a response that insinuated the incident being an accident. Under the court of Law, Mr. Farquharson accounted that “he found himself under water … attempting to go around to the other side to help his children out of the car, though was unsuccessful due to the water pressure.” The murderer of the three children was their father; Robert Farquharson. The children- Tyler, Bailey, and Jai were murdered by their father with the intent of doing so. The act was committed through allegedly drowning the children in a dam near Winchelsea in Victoria which was directly located off the Prince Highway. The act was indeed not an accident, though rather it was a conscious decision, and a voluntary and deliberate act by a man whom possessed the desire to punish his former partner, Cindy Gambino – spousal revenge filicide. The initial response (IR) is one of the stages during the investigative process of a homicide incident. This is the beginning stage and refers to the operations that are undertaken instantly after the crime has been reported to the Police Department. Within this investigation the beginning stages is to comprehend the series of events that occurred and to document them. Within this initial response phase, a policeman apart of the Major Collision Investigation Unit (MCIU) was at the crime scene and firstly, investigated the surrounding area. The next step of the investigation process comprised of, the police and forensic investigators created yellow spray-paint markings on the aggregate surface to emphasize the tyre marks that were imprinted into the ground on an approximate angle of 30 degrees. These markings were created by sergeant Geoffrey Exton, which was used to preserve the tyre marking which were assumed to be made by the Commodore, Sedan, in which Robert was driving at the time of the incident. Due to an inefficient amount of lighting evident at the scene, a torch was used by the State’s emergency Service in order to successfully capture digital images of the geographical environment.

Another significant process that was involved within this investigation was the engineering and reconstruction evidence of the “accident”, which was profoundly depended upon by the Crown. The recreation of the horrific crime scene included a vehicle replicating the exact degree movements of which Mr. Farquharson’s vehicle travelled before apparently ‘crashing’ into the dam. Sergeant Glen Urquhart, an accident and reconstruction expert form the Victorian police force, was devoted to the recreation of the incident to ensure the observations of the photographic documentation and geographical observations were accurate. As part of ensuring the observation were accurate, Urquhart used a scientific computer-modeling software titled ‘PC crash’, to reconstruct the series of events that occurred within the crime scene.

The investigative failures and weaknesses:

Through the whole investigation process, there were a plethora amount of errors that were apparent within the preliminary stages of the Farquharson homicide investigation. These errors affiliated with the outcome of the case study, thus, the Farquharson investigation was accounted for a re-trial by the Supreme Court of Victoria. It was depicted that the yellow spray-paint on the ground of the crime scene, which marked the tyre markings from Mr. Farquharson’s vehicle were incorrectly marked. The angle apparently was incorrect, and the markings also were not parallel. The fault fabricated a lack of accurateness and precision in the evidence provided to the MCIU in order to recreate the crime scene. Furthermore, the lighting that was exhibited at the crime-scene for the photographic documentation was produced in conditions where it terminated the image’s quality despite the use of alternative lighting to the natural lights. Thus, resulting in unconvincing evidence because of the poor quality, which lead to an unsuitable interpretation of the evidence. Additionally, this emphasizes how when a crime related incident occurs, the forensic examination can be imperiled to constraints and doubts when digital media is relied on as a source of evidence. Additionally, the drive-through experimentations, photographic documentation, and the computer-generated reconstruction of the incident exhibit weaknesses. The weaknesses evident within these investigation processes are categorized as a weakness due to the construction being apparently divergent too what transpired. This is because of dissimilarities of the direction the computer-generated car was travelling. According to Urquhart, the video documentation which perceived the recreation of the investigation illustrated the car swerving left, rather than right. Thus, through the various ‘failures’ which compromised the investigative evidence, it is undoubtingly apparent as to why a retrial was introduced on the 17th of December 2009.

Critical suggestions for overcoming failures within the investigation:

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It is the universal truth that this case undertook many mistakes and incompetence which overall impacted the outcome of the investigation, thus, resulting in a re-trial. Although, in the end, Mr. Farquharson was to life imprisonment. Which was the correct option as it is apparent that he was guilty, and the offence was indeed committed with intent. Despite a man being convicted currently of a crime he horrifically committed, it can be analyzed that the failures evident within this case could have been prevented. Tyson (2009), also argued that there is need for more resources in the Farquharson case, or perhaps even more developed and reliable resources, either that be stronger concentration on the documentation of evidence and the way it is documented, as well as the level of expertise of the police and forensic investigators. This may result in more accurate evidence, therefore, resulting in a correct conviction of an accused. To the public’s attention regarding the Farquharson case, it is recognizable that the process of a peer-review before it was considered ‘scientific’ evidence was not apparent. In the future, there should be an intense peer-review procedure, where various interpretations and investigative findings could be included, compared to just one expert on the case. Another suggestion comprises of the thorough examination practice that should occur when evidence is obtained in the environment from the crime scene. Tyson suggests that there is an intense need to provide a clear focus during any investigative training needs to be introduced to the critical need of accuracy when regarding to documenting the geographical environment. This would diminish the like hood of incorrect evidence when it comes to the recreation of an investigation scene from occurring, as well as strengthening the reputation of Police as by the media and public it is a commonality that they are perceived as being ‘uncareful’, and ‘unreliable’.

Media influence on the Farquharson case

In recent years with society being attached to the internet, it is palpable that the media’s perception of crime-related topic has an exceedingly strong influence on society. In general, it is notable that the media produces false perception of the media by conveying statistics of homicide levels to be higher than they evidently are. Not only does the media present false perception to create fear among society, though, also often defames certain institutions relating to crime in society such as the defaming of various racial groups, religious groups, and economic groups. However, regarding to the Farquharson case, it seems that the media diverges in their point of view regarding the murderer. In some articles, Robert Farquharson is perceived as being ‘innocent’ with evidence supporting that he was unconscious and that he did try and assist in saving the three children.

Though, the most common perception of the Robert Farquharson investigation, was that Mr. Farquharson was incredibly guilty for the Filicide of his three sons. The horrific and unsettling – Robert Farquharson investigation captivated the media’s and general public attention due to the investigation being a filicide, which meant that those viewers from the media as well as society who were parents of children were impacted with melancholic emotions. Another reason for the large media coverage was the fact that the homicide was social and morally distasteful. Furthermore, the media primarily supported the character that was portrayed from the prosecution. This depiction presented Robert Farquharson as a vengeful and ‘nightmare’ whose main motive was to seek revenge of his ex-partner – Cindy Gambino. Many newspaper articles positioned Robert Farquharson in this condition through the use of passionately confrontational language to create emotion for its viewers that this man is a resentful and dismaying man. Therefore, as a result, the media consequently influenced the outcome of the case by reinforcing the public and jury member’s emotional hatred for Robert Farquharson, and empathy for his ex-partner for the death of the three young children. In comparison to encouraging the public to produce educated and sophisticated opinions based on the objective facts of the case.


The Farquharson case deemed a substantial amount of media and public attention from the year 2009, even to recent years. This was due to the nature of the crime – that being a filicide type of homicide.

The amount of attention this case had obtained was essentially because of the system faults which resulted in a retrial, as well as how morally wrong the crime was.

This investigation review delved into the homicide investigation processes which related to the Robert Farquharson case. This was achieved through scrutinizing the significant errors that were palpable within the case. As well as the identified major flaws and failures were identified and discussed. This then resulted in the investigation of critical suggestions for preventing homicide investigations for the future. Furthermore, the exploration of the immense influence the media undertakes within this criminal case and how it produced an outcome for the investigation was all analyzed and inspected throughout this investigation review of the Farquharson case.

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