When I first met Catherine Smith, I saw this diminutive woman in prison greens at Mullawa Correctional Centre. She told me just a small portion of the horror she suffered during her marriage. I told her that notwithstanding the serious nature of the charges, I was confident getting her bail in the Local Court. Her response was that she thought she might be safer in gaol.
Such was her fear of Kevin Smith, who was described as a violent narcissistic psychopath. He is a master manipulator, having admitted lying to a Court, to police, even to his own children – falsely telling them that he had Prostate Cancer – which was just another lie. He lied to this jury.
Evidence was given that during their marriage, Kevin Smith would verbally, physically and sexually assault Catherine. He would use a cattle prod, a skinning knife, a fire poker, hand cuffs, tape, and rope to rape her.
On one occasion he attempted to strangle her with an electrical chord. He fired shots at her from a rifle. One evening she ran more than a half marathon, about 25kms along railway tracks to escape his brutality.
Kevin Smith destroyed furniture and killed animals. He destroyed his son’s television and another son’s motor bike – in rage and revenge for them not disclosing the whereabouts of their mother after she had left, on one of the many occasions that she left.
He held one son and his partner hostage for 27 hours at gunpoint to extract contact details for Catherine Smith.
11 days later he was arrested by State Protection Group police. He claimed he was going to mediation. The truth was he had a cattle prod, 3 Last Will and Testament forms, a sawn off shotgun, handcuffs, knives, gaffer or duct tape in the boot of the car. Clearly it would appear that he was out to kill Catherine Smith
He was sentenced to imprisonment after pleading guilty, but despite being legally represented, he says that he was and is not guilty. He denied the admissions he made that were recorded in writing concerning an incident where a policeman’s revolver was taken and fired in the family home. He is a liar.
He escaped from prison and prior to doing so arranged for a chilling letter to be sent. He was recaptured. He was released on 30 May 2006 and the events of this trial came about on 14 June 2006.
The Crown appointed psychiatrist and the defence psychiatrist were both of the opinion that Catherine Smith was suffering from, and suffers from, a Chronic Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Something like a Battered Women’s syndrome perhaps where a woman who is systematically brutalized develops a learned helplessness and succumbs to a life of terror.
Catherine Smith escaped the marriage – she drove through the locked gates of the farm – but she could not escape Kevin Smith. This predator used every conniving trick to track her down including private detectives, false accusations to police so that she would be detained, and obtained information from Government departments.
Upon his release from prison, she tracked him, so that she could reassure her children, that they were safe. She had purchased a pistol for protection. She had been living in a house like Fort Knox.
The jury readily accepted that Catherine Smith was acting in SELF DEFENCE on 14 June 2006.
Kevin Smith to this day says that he does not have a violent bone in his body. That is unsustainable nonsense in the face of the moving testimony of Catherine Smith and her children. It is a despicable lie in the face of the testimony of 2 dedicated police officers, Senior Constable Kate Bain and Sgt Michael Handley and in the face of so many corroborative documents, such as the medical records of a psychiatric nurse in 1999 who recorded the fact that Kevin Smith had snuck out to one of his son’s houses with a gun with the intention of shooting him, but did not do so.
In 2004, Catherine Smith and some of her children gave lengthy and detailed statements to police. Operation Seafarer was set up to collate the information. As we understand it, the documents were forwarded to the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions at Wagga Wagga – presumably for consideration of whether charges should be preferred against Kevin Smith. The complaints were in writing to police. Mr Smith has still not been charged. Police were called on many occasions over the years – Kevin Smith has never been charged with any type of assault upon Catherine Smith.
I call upon the Director of Public Prosecutions, not an understudy, but the Director himself, and the Commissioner of Police, Mr Scippioni, to search for the documents that form Operation Seafarer. They must be somewhere. Certainly, there must be more documents than were produced by police on subpoena. The evidence of Catherine Smith and her children given in this trial should be assessed. I urge the DPP and Police to consider whether or not charges should be preferred.
This is a case whereby this publicity will hopefully assist other Mrs. Smith’s out there in the community who are battered wives to seek assistance from police and community groups and to realize that they can break free from violent and brutal relationships.
Finally, this is a case about the unbreakable bond between a mother and her children – who despite all the odds and the fear that they live in will survive. Kevin Smith on the other hand has been disowned.
The truth has set Catherine Smith free.
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