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ABC Four Corners - A Political Assassination?

The Newman Case

Updated 20 Sep 2017, 11:37am

On a spring night in 1994, Labor MP John Newman was gunned down as he arrived home from a party meeting.

The murder jolted the nation. Newman's blunt style and his anti-crime crusading had won him admirers and enemies aplenty. But who would go so far as to kill him?

Nearly 14 years on, that question has not been fully answered. No one has ever been convicted of pulling the trigger. One man, Phuong Ngo, a local councillor who was seen in some quarters as a rival to Newman, was eventually convicted as the mastermind and sentenced to jail for the rest of his life. Phuong Ngo has spent 10 years in jail and is now in solitary confinement at the " Supermax " prison in Goulburn, NSW.

A Four Corners team has been revisiting the Newman case, talking to key witnesses and forensic experts and reviewing court transcripts spanning several years. This investigation casts new light on the Newman murder and poses the question: was Phuong Ngo's conviction safe?

"The Newman Case", by reporter Debbie Whitmont, on Four Corners at 8.30 pm, Monday 7 April. This program will be repeated about 11.35 pm Tuesday 8 April; also on ABC2 at 8 am Tuesday.





Newman killer loses bid to appeal | ABC News Online | 28 May 2004

"The man convicted of Australia's first political assassination has lost an application to have the High Court of Australia hear his appeal."

Carr defends prison handling of political assassin | ABC News Online | 30 June 2003 "New South Wales Premier Bob Carr has defended the prison system saying it acted appropiately in dealing with Phuong Ngo... Ngo has been transferred to Australia's highest-security prison at Goulburn, after Corrective Services officials found he had been paying inmates to act on his behalf." ' Read more.

NSW MP's killer sentenced | The World Today | 14 November 2001 "Today, a court in Sydney sentenced Phuong Ngo, a former Fairfield local councillor, to life imprisonment for that murder. " ' Read more.

Cabramatta back in the spot light | PM | 6 July 2001

"The conviction of a man for the murder of New South Wales Labor Party MP, John Newman, has placed the Sydney suburb of Cabramatta back in the spotlight." [ Transcript ]

Ngo found guilty of Newman assassination | Lateline | 29 June 2001

"Seven years after NSW politician John Newman was assassinated, a jury has found former Fairfield City Councillor Phuong Ngo guilty of murder for masterminding the crime. The guilty verdict comes after three previous trials, two of which were aborted and another which resulted in a hung jury. So, who is Mr Ngo and what did he possibly hope to achieve by killing Mr Newman?" [ Transcript ]


Supermax: inside Australia's prison system | 11 July 2005 For the first time cameras go into Supermax, Australia's toughest jail, home of killers and suspected terrorists. ' Watch the report online .

Cabramatta | 9 April 1997 This report on Cabramatta, known as the heroin capital of Australia, is the result of a three month investigation. The program offers an insight into the activities of the Vietnamese street gangs and how death and violence are now a way of life and the business of heroin rules the streets. Governments are struggling to cope with the heroin epidemic but it seems that the police are losing the war. Links with the 5T gang and the murder of John Newman three years ago are also investigated. Read the ' Program Transcript .


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