Jailed teacher cleared of abuse
''It hasn't sunk in yet.'' ... Josephine Greensill. Photo: Joe Armao
A WOMAN jailed in 2010 for sex offences committed 33 years ago against two boys aged 8 has been freed after Victoria's highest court quashed her convictions and acquitted her.
Three Court of Appeal judges acted after a barrister for the woman, who was then a primary school teacher, submitted there was a ''real possibility an innocent person has been convicted''.
Josephine Greensill served almost 2½ years after a jury found her guilty of offences allegedly committed in 1979. Her release followed allegations that her accusers had colluded against her.
Ms Greensill, 61, said she wept after her acquittal and was ''too scared'' to believe her ''horrendous experience'' was over.
''I can't accept in my mind that it's over and I'm really home and I don't have to go back,'' the mother of five said. ''It hasn't sunk in yet.
''It's very hard being in there [prison] when you're not guilty. Everyone else [was] guilty and would brag about their crimes. But my three sisters and children and the letters and visits from people all said to hang on because justice will be done one day.''
Her sister Annette Toohey also relived the ''hell'' after the verdict, the tears and an anxiety that former students would think that Ms Greensill was a paedophile.
Ms Greensill's solicitor, Rob Stary, said the court's decision had reinforced his faith in the criminal justice system and ''the rule of law''.
Her appeal barrister, Lachlan Carter, said there was a ''real stench'' about some aspects of the case.
Mr Carter told Justices Robert Redlich, Robert Osborn and Phillip Priest they ''ought to hold a doubt'' about Ms Greensill's guilt and acquit her of nine counts of indecent assault.
Ms Greensill, then 28 and a teacher of the boys ''Jim'' and ''Dan'', was charged after they, now aged 41 and 42, made police statements in 2007.
Judge Gabriele Cannon in the County Court jailed Ms Greensill for five years, with a minimum of two years and eight months to be served. Last month, Mr Carter argued that the convictions were unsafe for reasons that included a ''high risk'' of collusion between the men that had ''contaminated'' the evidence.
He said a detective, against accepted practice, had facilitated contact between Jim and Dan after Dan told him he first wanted to speak with Jim - who had already made a statement - before making his statement.
Mr Carter said the ''heart of the case'' was whether boys of eight could have full and complete vaginal intercourse, a scenario he submitted was previously unheard of in Australian sentencing law.
Mr Carter said Jim also had a motive to implicate Ms Greensill for money, because he knew she had received a payout for her husband's death. Jim denied this at the trial.
But in what he deemed new evidence, Mr Carter revealed that a week after Ms Greensill's sentence, a solicitor arranged an appointment that later led to a $65,000 compensation payment to Jim. The court is yet to publish its reasons for the acquittal.