‘Australian Story’ explores campaign that sought justice for Scott Johnson

Next week’s episode of Australian Story dives into the campaign that kept the case of Scott Johnson in the public eye, following his suspected suicide in 1988.

When Johnson’s body was found in Sydney over 30 years ago, police quickly decided the young American man had taken his own life, but Scott’s brother was convinced the death was the result of a hate crime.

Steve spent 30 years campaigning for justice, leading to a second coronial inquest in 2012, and a third in 2017. The third inquest found Scott had been chased, frightened or pushed off the cliff because he was gay. In May 2020, a 49-year-old man was charged with the murder of Scott Johnson.

Steve had assembled a team of investigators and lawyers, journalists and police officers using his vast resources, dubbing the campaign ‘Team Scott’.

Over time, the team grew to ten or twelve people in the United States and Australia,” Steve Johnson told Australian Story from his home in Boston.

“Fortunately the case attracted a lot of people who just wanted to help because they thought this was important.”

One of those helping behind the scenes was former NSW Deputy Coroner Jacqueline Milledge, who initially thought the case would never be solved.

“You had the complication of it being a cold case, and you had the unwillingness of the police to admit that perhaps they got it wrong.”

Australian Story airs Monday 31st August at 8pm on ABC.

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