Cash for Convictions – Rewards in NSW

Sep 6, 2023

On 11 April 2003, Rose Howell decided to hitchhike home after going to her local library after printing off invitations for her 19th birthday. She was never seen again.

For the last 20 years, Howell remains missing. In 2012 a coronial inquest concluded that she had likely died but were unable to say definitively due to the lack of evidence.

In an effort to kickstart the investigation, NSW Police have recently announced a $750,000 reward for any information related to Howell’s disappearance.

At the time of posting, there are 143 monetary rewards for information posted by New South Wales Police, ranging from $100,000 to $1,000,000. These include information in relation to murder suspects, disappearances, arson and kidnapping.

In addition to large monetary rewards, Crime Stoppers occasionally offer smaller amounts up to $1,000 for information for less serious matters which result in arrest. With larger offers sometimes being made by Police on a discretionary basis.

Why monetary rewards?

Monetary rewards are typically offered for historic matters where an initial Police investigation has failed to elicit a result. The point of reward money is to elicit new information and move investigations forward.

The reasoning for large monetary reward are two-fold. Firstly, they bring out recalcitrant witnesses who were not previously interested in providing information. And secondly, the sheer amount of money on offer amplifies the demand for information in the community.

In order to qualify for the reward Police have discretion to refuse if they deem that the information is not sufficiently useful to the investigation. Further they may refused to pay if the information disclosed does not result in the perpetrator be convicted.

How effective are monetary rewards?

Police do not publish the recipient of monetary rewards for obvious reasons – the same reason you do not see a lot of lotto winners.

Anecdotally, rewards have played an important role in a number of serious criminal matters in New South Wales. These include:
The prosecution of back packer murder Ivan Milat;
The prosecution of Michael Gyder for the murder of 9 year old Samantha Knight;
The prosecution of Scott White for the murder/gay hate attack of Steve Johnson in 1988;
The 2008 Valentines Day murder of Bernd Lehmann; and
The recent kidnapping case of Cleo Smith by Terence Darrell Kelly.

With the exception of Milat and Gyder, whether the rewards themselves worked, as opposed to the resulting publicity, and whether they were paid out, is unknown.

For further information about current offers of monetary reward visit: https://www.police.nsw.gov.au/can_you_help_us/rewards.

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Green & Associates

We are a community-focussed law firm based in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs focused on results through practicality and simplicity.Since our inception in 2014, we have been driven by and focused on one thing only: to not only win our case or achieve our target, but to do it in the quickest, cheapest and most impressive way possible. Each and every one of our clients can expect that from us in every matter we undertake.We are committed to serving Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs through our criminal, commercial & personal practice areas.We believe everyone has the right to a second chance and the opportunity to make dreams a reality.

Green & Associates

We are a community-focussed law firm based in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs focused on results through practicality and simplicity.Since our inception in 2014, we have been driven by and focused on one thing only: to not only win our case or achieve our target, but to do it in the quickest, cheapest and most impressive way possible. Each and every one of our clients can expect that from us in every matter we undertake.We are committed to serving Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs through our criminal, commercial & personal practice areas.We believe everyone has the right to a second chance and the opportunity to make dreams a reality.

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