Samantha Murphy: Accused murderer Patrick Orren Stephenson hires top defence solicitor Paul Galbally

Peta Rasdien
The Nightly
2 Min Read
Patrick Orren Stephenson, 22, has engaged one of the nation’s leading defence lawyers.
Patrick Orren Stephenson, 22, has engaged one of the nation’s leading defence lawyers. Credit: Unknown/Supplied

The man accused of murdering Ballarat mother Samantha Murphy has made a surprise move in his legal fight, signing up one of the nation’s leading defence lawyers.

Paul Galbally, who has previously represented high-profile clients including the late Catholic Cardinal George Pell, will represent 22-year-old Patrick Orren Stephenson, who is at the centre of a homicide case that has gripped the nation, according to The Australian.

The revelation comes after police made a breakthrough in the search for Mrs Murphy’s body last week, with officers finding a phone that is believed to have belonged to the mother-of-three on a muddy dam bank, nearly four months after she went missing.

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A fresh search for Mrs Murphy’s remains was launched on Wednesday, with Victoria Police deploying an excavator and the dog squad to aid officers in their search.

Police were seen hugging and celebrating when they discovered the device on the dam bank.

According to 7NEWS, the mobile phone is “undamaged and in near-perfect working condition” and may be able to provide location data on Mrs Murphy’s final movements.

Samantha Murphy 51, vanished on February 4 when she left her home in Ballarat East to go for a run.
Samantha Murphy 51, vanished on February 4 when she left her home in Ballarat East to go for a run. Credit: Unknown/Supplied
Police found Samantha Murphy’s mobile phone on a muddy dam bank, months after she went missing.
Police found Samantha Murphy’s mobile phone on a muddy dam bank, months after she went missing. Credit: 7NEWS

Mr Galbally is described on the website for his practice, Galbally O’Bryan, as a leading defence lawyer who has “run some of the country’s largest and most complex criminal cases.

“Paul is recognised throughout the legal profession for his judgment, sound strategic advice and discretion and is featured in Doyles Guide as one of Australia’s pre-eminent criminal defence lawyers,” it reads.

Paul Galbally, left, will represent th amn accused of murdering Samantha Murphy.
Paul Galbally, left, will represent th amn accused of murdering Samantha Murphy. Credit: Julian Smith/AAPIMAGE

Mrs Murphy, 51, has not been seen since she left her rural home for a run on the morning of Sunday, February 4.

While Mr Stephenson, the son of former AFL player Orren Stephenson, was arrested and then charged with her murder on March 6, no trace of Mrs Murphy has been found.

Mr Stephenson has been remanded in custody and was earlier this month hit with fresh charges unrelated to Mrs Murphy.

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