WHAT KIND OF SYSTEM GRANTS A CONVICTED MURDERER BAIL?

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When you’re binging on the Crime channel and the next episode of Crime Investigation Australia begins with “a man is disposing of a body, he has cut off the victim’s head and fingers” and then reveals that this happened in your hometown, you give pause.

Photo: (above) View from Saddleback mountain above Jamberoo, near where Kim Barry’s body was found; (below) Graham Gene Potter. AFP photo.

And so, via reenactment and the narration of Steve Liebmann, I learnt that in 1981 Kim Barry, then 19, was murdered and decapitated by Graham Gene Potter. Her headless and fingerless body was found in the bush near Jamberoo lookout and Potter served 15 years in jail for the crime. He was released in 1996.

People kill for different reasons – accidental, revenge, gang violence, belief systems (political and religious) or mental illness. And then there is those who kill because they’re violent psychopaths and/or suffer from antisocial personality disorder. They kill strangers without real provocation or reason.

Given that Potter murdered Kim Barry by bashing her skull after meeting her at a bar on his bucks night and then cut her head and fingers off in his bath tub before using his fiancee’s car to drive up to Jamberoo lookout and dump the body in the bush, I don’t think it’s too far a stretch to say that he is some kind of psychopath.

Potter, who worked as a coal miner, went on the run after the murder but was eventually arrested, charged and convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison at Bathurst.

And so here’s where this story becomes unnecessarily frustrating.

graham-gene-potter-frontPotter moved to the NSW South Coast when he was released in 1996 (despite escaping from gaol in 1990) with his wife Sheree Jones who was his fiancee when he committed the murder and later married him while he was in jail.

In 2002, Potter moved to Tasmania, where it seems he took up criminality again.

In 2008, he was arrested for drug offences relating to a drug syndicate that imported $440 million (street value) in ecstasy and was busted by the Australian Federal Police for Operation Inca, one of the largest drug busts in Australian history. Potter was extradited to Victoria but was granted bail.

Then, while in Victoria, Potter became involved with Melbourne’s underworld and was hired to be a hitman and kill two people (one named Mr D’Amico) at the wedding of the son of underworld figure Mick Gatto.

Potter was arrested and charged for conspiracy to murder in May 2009 but was again granted bail. Naturally, Potter failed to appear at Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on February 1 2009 and has eluded authorities since.

Why would someone who went on the run after killing an innocent teenager ever been given bail when arrested for any crime? Especially a multi-million dollar drug bust and for planning to kill two people.

It beggars belief.

Potter sightings Potter’s known alias
  • Woombye, in southern Queensland, on January 30 2010
  • Tully, Queensland (south of Cairns & north of Townsville), on Saturday 28 August 2010
  • Josh Lawson
  • John Page
  • Jim Henderson
  • Peter Adams

Sources (all accessed 19 April 2015)

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