Puisne Justice Richards was a highly legally educated judge who heard the case against Fantin's killer Giovanni Casotti. At the hearing he accepted the submission of the defence, unopposed by the prosecution which was embarassed by lack of proof, that the death of Fantin had been caused accidently. This alarmed Fred Paterson, the communist lawyer from North Queensland where Fantin had been politically active, who began collecting evidence. At trial Richards was obliged to hand down a light sentence of two years hard labour. Subsequent to Casotti's release Fantin's comrades secured his deportation by the Curtin government.