Fourth trial for murder accused

A FOURTH murder trial is scheduled to start in Sydney today for the man accused of murdering Orange paedophile John Kennett in 1998.

Harry Robinson is alleged to have bashed Kennett to death in a cell of the Junee Correctional Centre on September 17, 1998.

He was convicted of murder after a trial in March 2004, but this conviction was overturned in a judgement handed down by the Court of Criminal Appeal in June.

Robinson's first trial in 1999 resulted in the jury being discharged and, although he was convicted following a trial in April 2000, this conviction was also overturned on appeal.

John Kennett was a teacher in Orange who was found guilty of 37 charges relating to the sexual and indecent assaults of 13 boys in Orange between 1978 and 1986.

The first charges were laid against him in April 1996 and he was sentenced in August 1998 to eight years' jail.

He was sent to the remand centre of Silverwater Jail after sentencing, then to Bathurst Jail on September 4, before arriving at Junee Correctional Centre on September 11.

Kennett was found dead in his cell six days later.

In the 2004 trial the prosecution alleged Robinson and another prisoner went into Kennett's jail cell and killed him by punching, kicking and stomping on his head.

They alleged the attack happened shortly after another inmate had found documents in Kennett's cell which revealed he was convicted of sex offences against young boys.

The prosecution alleged the bashing occurred because the prisoners wanted Kennett moved from their cell block because he was a paedophile.

Robinson's appeal to have the conviction overturned was made on the grounds the trial judge made errors when he was instructing the jury before they retired to consider a verdict.

During his time in Orange, Kennett taught at Orange Public School in the early 1970s, was the principal of Kinross Wolaroi preparatory school in the late 1970s and, at the time of his arrest, was a program manager at OCTEC.