Lindy Chamberlain...........please answer!!!How and why was Lindy Chamberlain convicted of murder, and how and why was she released from prison and eventually cleared? Does this case show the...

Lindy Chamberlain...........please answer!!!

How and why was Lindy Chamberlain convicted of murder, and how and why was she released from prison and eventually cleared? Does this case show the Australian legal system in a positive or negative light?

Expert Answers
martinjmurphy eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In August of 1980, Lindy and Michael Chamberlain went camping near Ayers Rock, Australia, with their three children, including 9 week old Azaria.  On August 17, Azaria disappeared.  Lindy Chamberlain claimed she saw a dingo, a wild dog found in Australia, taking Azaria from the campsite.  Some of Azaria’s clothes were found ripped and bloodstained.  Her body was never recovered.  An initial inquest into her death tended to corroborate Lindy Chamberlain’s story.  Officials were not satisfied with these findings and a second inquest was conducted, which tended to incriminate Lindy.  She was subsequently put on trial for the murder of her daughter. Though the trial showed there was no motive, Lindy Chamberlain was found guilty of murder.  The verdict rested on two pieces of forensic evidence. Experts said that the tears in the clothing were caused by scissors, not by a dingo.  They also said that a substance found in the Chamberlain’s car was the blood of an infant under 6 months old.  Lindy Chamberlain was sentenced to life.  Lindy continued to appeal her case, unsuccessfully, until Azaria’s matinee jacket was discovered near an area full of dingo lairs.  With this new evidence, the courts took another look at the case and concluded the forensic evidence used to convict Lindy was flawed.  In September of 1988 Lindy Chamberlain was acquitted of all charges.

Whether this case shows the Australian legal system in a positive or negative light is a matter for debate.  The initial guilty verdict based on a second inquest, flawed forensic evidence, and investigators who seemed to ignore evidence that would exonerate Lindy, tends to show the Australian legal system in a negative light.  But the fact that she was later released and acquitted may show that the legal system did in fact work.