Dismiss the murder case against the wrongly accused six young Australians
  • Petitioning Dr. José Antonio Peláez Bardales

This petition will be delivered to:

Attorney General, Peru
Dr. José Antonio Peláez Bardales

Dismiss the murder case against the wrongly accused six young Australians

    1. Teresa Hanlon
    2. Petition by

      Teresa Hanlon

      Australia

20 months ago, we were just six friends travelling South America but became victims of being in the wrong place at the wrong time in Lima, Peru.

Sadly the doorman at our rented apartment, Mr Lino Rodriguez Vilchez, fell to his death during our stay there. In June 2012, three months after we had all returned home to Australia from our trip we found out through YouTube that the family of the late doorman were accusing the six of us of murder. Over the past 15 months we have –
• Engaged a Peruvian and Australian legal team
• Endured the stress and reputation damage of being called murderers and assassins by the family and supporters of the deceased
• On a number of occasions observed the presiding Judge request the police and prosecutor conduct a thorough and proper investigation of the case; and they repeatedly refused to do so
• Engaged a UN Forensic specialist to conduct a forensic investigation which categorically concludes it was physically impossible to have committed the crime
• Presented the forensic report to the court where it is only now being considered
• A number of witnesses have appeared and testified in court confirming that there is nothing in the police reports or witness statements that implicates the six in the death of the doorman
• Launched a media and social media campaign to tell the world the facts of our plight, to garner support and seek the attention and appropriate action from the key decision makers

It is very distressing that despite our actions and the absolute lack of any evidence against us we are still being accused of the murder and the Peruvian Judge is demanding we return to Lima to give statements in court.

We are seeking from Peruvian District Attorney, Dr. Jose Antonio Pelaez Bardales:
1. That the Public Minister review all the evidence and submissions that have been made to the court
2. To instruct the Prosecutor to review exhaustively all the evidence without considering the pressure of the media. Furthermore, instruct him to analyse in depth all the proofs and exculpatory evidence with the aim of dismissing the accusation and request the dismissal of the case based in a total lack of proof that in any way links the Australians with the death of Mr Lino Rodriguez Vilchez.
3. Finally we ask the Prosecutor’s office to cooperate with our request that the statements must be taken in Australia.
We ask you to please support us by signing and sharing this petition. 

Thanks

Note that the petition letter is in Spanish however here is the English version for you to read prior to signing the Spanish version -

 

12 September 2013

 

Dear Dr. Jose Antonio Pelaez Bardales

District Attorney

Lima

Jessica Vo, Sam Smith, Andrew Pilat, Harrison Geier and brothers Hugh and Tom Hanlon are six young Australians who have been falsely accused of the murder of a Peruvian whilst they were holidaying in Lima in January 2012. 

Mr. Lino Rodriguez Vilchez, was the doorman in the Mallorca apartment building where the six Australians had booked two nights rented accommodation.  The Australians had just completed a four day trek along the Inca trail to the ruins of Machu Picchu. 

Upon arriving at the apartment in the early afternoon of 19 January, they spent a couple of hours settling into the apartment and made two trips to the shops to purchase food and drinks for their two night stay.  They had very limited interaction with the doorman as they came and went from the building and on returning from a second shopping trip, Mr. Rodriguez was not at his post in the foyer. 

A couple of minutes after entering the apartment they heard a noise, looked out the window and saw a body on the ground.  It was later in the afternoon that they were informed that it was the doorman who had fallen to his death. 

After the police and investigators made a number of visits to the apartment over the ensuing hours and upon returning the following day, the group contacted the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Australian Embassy in Lima through one of their parents.  The Embassy contacted the Lima police who advised them that the six were not required to give statements and were free to continue their travels in Peru and Sth America.  They left the apartment two days after the incident as previously planned and continued with their existing travel itineraries.  The death was ruled by police as a suicide.

Following agitation from the Rodriguez family, the police re-opened the investigation in March 2012. At no stage did the police attempt to get statements from the Australians. The six found out via social media in June 2012 that the family of the deceased had started a public campaign calling the six “murderers”, accusing the 6 of fleeing the country and demanding that they return to Peru.   

Over the past 14 months, the six have been fighting the allegations, engaging lawyers and UN Forensic expert Jose Pablo Baraybar to conduct a full forensic report because the police and prosecutor have failed to do so after repeated requests by the presiding judge.  In the past month a number of witnesses, including the forensic police, have given statements to the court. 

The forensic report and statements from the witnesses prove that there is not one piece of evidence that implicates the six in the death of the doorman.  What exists is a big amount of evidence demonstrating that is very probable that the cause of death was a suicide. However, this hypothesis was never investigated by the Police. What is more serious, the evidence that demonstrated the suicide and was given by the neighbors, was inexplicably hidden by the Police. 

At all times, the six have shown great respect for the Peruvian judicial system, believing that based on the facts that the case would not proceed and be dismissed.  However this has not been the case and, despite the lack of evidence, three requests have been made for the six to appear in court in Peru to give statements.  Given the 6 young Australians have work, study commitments and financial constraints, appeals have been lodged requesting statements be given from Australian via video link or in written form. The Australian Government has stated its willingness to facilitate this and has repeatedly requested a fair, transparent and prompt resolution to this case.  The second appeal is being heard on September 19, 2013.

Sir, in your capacity as the head of the Judicial system in Peru, it is with the utmost respect that we ask you –

1.      That the public Minister  review all the evidence and submissions that have been made to the court

2.      To instruct the Prosecutor to review exhaustively all the evidence without considering the pressure of the media. Furthermore, instruct him to analyse in depth all the proofs and exculpatory evidence with the aim of dismissing the accusation and request the dismissal of the case based in a total lack of proof that in any way links the Australians with the death of Lino Rodriguez.

3.      Finally we ask the Prosecutor’s office to cooperate with our request that the statements must be taken in Australia.

There is no proof. The Australians are innocent. the case has gained the interest of an international audience and the continuation of the situation is proving very damaging to the reputation of your country. 

----------------

Sincerely,
[Your name]

 

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    Reasons for signing

    • Kerry Louder ARARAT, AUSTRALIA
      • 22 days ago

      These young people have every right to innocence until proven guilty.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Jane Garden AUSTRALIA
      • 27 days ago

      This could happen to anyone, we need justice for these 6 Aussies

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Jennifer Dunne AUSTRALIA
      • about 1 month ago

      This charge is ridiculous and has had no proper investigation. Refuse to accept this judge's decision

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Ashleigh Hill CHINA TOWN, AUSTRALIA
      • 4 months ago

      I went to primary school with Jess, their a really nice family and this is all a misunderstanding.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Adam Johnson AUSTRALIA
      • 4 months ago

      Just curious, has the family of the "alleged" suicide person planning to seek compensation? I guess sacrificing 6 young, unequivocally innocent Australians is worth lining their pockets over the misery of a lost family member. I hope their joke of a judicial system pays a heavy price for this gross injuctice

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:

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