ABC’s investigation into the case of convicted murderer Keli Lane has uncovered documents revealing thousands of recordings, and others deemed ‘relevant’ by NSW Police, which appear to have never been tendered as evidence at the trial.
The judge who oversaw the trial has now called for an investigation into the matter, saying there is the possibility that “a significant unfairness may have affected this woman.”
ABC journalist Caro Meldrum-Hanna and the team behind 2018 documentary Exposed: The Case of Keli Lane have been inundated with thousands of suggestions, theories, tips and leads about a 22 year old case of missing baby Tegan and the mother who maintains her innocence.
While some people have been fixated on Lane’s sex life, personal relationships, and private life others leads are taking much longer to pursue.
“It’s taken a huge amount of time and effort to work through them and isolate the constructive and relevant information, and that task is still ongoing. Each piece of information takes time to chase down to its end,” Meldrum-Hanna told TV Tonight.
“We aren’t Keli Lane’s advocates. We are very aware of her litany of lies told to authorities, and stories that don’t add up. She’s a polarising figure. Putting this aside, there are serious and legitimate questions about aspects of her case, and mystery still abounds: where is Tegan?”
Indeed becoming an advocate for their documentary subject was a pitfall Meldrum-Hanna, investigative journalist Elise Worthington and producers were careful to avoid.
Speaking recently at the Australian International Documentary Conference, Meldrum-Hanna said, “There is the temptation that before you know it you may have slipped into the role of being an advocate. Rather than exploring something, the host / reporter / writer / producer (becomes) really fixed on what they think has happened. Really fixed on who they think did something: who’s the murderer, who’s responsible? That’s advocating.
“But you stop listening to the other side and you are not entertaining other possibilities.
“You have a role as a journalist to uncover the truth.”
Meldrum-Hanna’s own discovery of information as the narrative of Exposed was central to its success. She was frequently approached by viewers intrigued by the process behind the scenes.
“‘How did you get that person?’ ‘How did you get that document?’ ‘How did you get those recordings?’ People were very interested in the process of how we made the story -rather than just the story,” she said.
“Turning the camera on ourselves and exposing what we do -could that be a vehicle to help us tell the story? To let our process drive the narrative, in addition to our characters. I think that’s what people really wanted to see.”
Meldrum-Hanna has also revealed Keli Lane still calls her from inside prison, including -remarkably- directly before her session at AIDC.
“Despite the series airing late last year, Lane still telephones Exposed and maintains her innocence, saying she wants the father of her child to come forward and for Tegan to be found. But he hasn’t,” She continued.
“A continuing focus of Exposed is to determine Tegan’s paternity. We’re calling for men who believe they were intimate with Lane in December 1995 and / or January 1996 to make contact with us. Determining paternity will solve the mystery once and for all, and will either cement Lane’s guilt and disprove her claims of innocence, or prove her claims that she didn’t kill Tegan.
“People are still fascinated by the case. They want a resolution. They also want confidence that the guilty verdict is sound.”
RMIT’s Innocence Initiative has also petitioned the NSW Attorney General to review Lane’s case.
But while a follow-up doco remains an option, Meldrum-Hanna refuses to reveal her own conclusions on Lane’s guilt or innocence.
“I do have a perspective on it, which I’m not going to share at this point in time, because there are a couple of things I need to cross off,” she explained.
“We plan to continue to investigate and bring more Exposed to audiences, whether it be this story or another. Stay tuned!”