Nineteen-eighties Sydney must have felt a bit like downtown Beirut, with the amount of violence and terror being waged on the city , all allegedly at the hands of just one angry man, a terror campaign that became known as the Family Court Bombings.
But that man, Leonard Warwick, was not arrested until 2015 when new evidence came to light. The 71 year old former firefighter is now facing trial on over 20 charges connected to the string of murders and bombings that targeted members of the Australian family law judiciary between 1980 and 1985.
The prosecutor has said all seven of the Family Court Bombings events that Warwick is on trial for can be connected to a dispute with his ex-wife, and that the events were pre-planned and intentional.
The horrific series of events included:
- The shooting murder of Warwick’s wife’s brother;
- The shooting murder of Justice Opas in his own front yard in 1980 after dealing with Warwick’s court matters (and said to have made orders and comments which Warwick would have been unhappy about). Warwick had commented to his ex-wife that “the judge wouldn’t be there much longer” before the shooting occurred;
- The judge who took the matters over — Justice Richard Gee was then injured and his Belrose home was destroyed by a bomb in 1984;
- Pearl Watson — the wife of Justice Graham Watson, died in 1984 after a bomb exploded when she opened her unit door;
- That same year a court in Parramatta was also bombed;
- a Jehovah’s Witness church hall was bombed in 1985 killing minister Graham Wykes and injuring several churchgoers. The motivation behind the church bombings is alleged to have been because members of the church had helped Warwick’s ex-wife move to northern New South Wales;
- Warwick’s ex-wife’s solicitor was also allegedly the target of a car bomb.
His barrister Alan Connolly has said his client “did not have the skill to put together the bombs”, that he loved his ex-wife, that the Crown case was “flimsy” and “did not make sense”. The barrister adds, “He is a lover, he’s not a murderer.”
Connolly declares, “There is not one scintilla of evidence against this man except some DNA evidence”. For example, the blood found on the floor of the Jehovah’s Witness hall which matched that of Warwick.
Prosecutors say Warwick’s long-running Family Court dispute “inextricably linked” him to the Family Court Bombings and related events and provided motive for the extreme, targeted violence. The trial, by judge only, will resume 9 July.
Do you need assistance with a family law matter? Please call Canberra family lawyer Cristina Huesch or one of our other experienced solicitors here at Alliance Legal Services on (02) 6223 2400.
Please note our blogs are not legal advice. For information on how to obtain the correct legal advice, please contact Alliance Legal Services.