I was shocked and saddened to hear about the death of Andrew Mallard recently. Apparently he was involved in a hit and run accident in Los Angeles, of all places.

Such a fate would be sad for anyone of course. But it's particularly tragic after what he went through. As detailed in this memoir by local journalist Colleen Egan, Mallard was framed for a murder he did not commit.

He spent years behind bars and would have remained there for many more were it not for a group of people including Egan herself who believed in his innocence and campaigned in support of him.

It's an amazing story. And for anyone who cares about justice the thought of being victimized in such an evil way by the state is terrifying.

There have been similar cases in WA, of course. The Mickelberg brothers' saga comes to mind. And there was the murder of brothel owner Shirley Finn. But these dark episodes, along with Andrew Mallard's ordeal, are not as common as those involving crims and crooked cops in, say, Melbourne and Sydney. And they all seem deeply at odds with the general atmosphere of a sunny, friendly, laid-back city like Perth.

I actually saw him in person once. It wasn't long after he was released from prison. I was waiting in line at a Hungry Jacks in the Murray St Mall and he was standing next to me at the counter. I did a double take when I recognized him from news reports. I refrained from asking him about what he went through, though. I was sure he would've been so sick of that ...

We all struggle and endure hardship and misfortune. But bad luck on this scale is freakishly rare. I find it hard to comprehend it, to be honest.

Well, he does seem to have found some kind of inner peace after his imprisonment as Ms Egan's tweet indicates. Hope he had a great time in his final few years of freedom, too.