Smith has been serving a life sentence since 1989 and is presently imprisoned in Lithgow Correctional Centre after being moved from Long Bay Correctional Centre in New South Wales, where he spent 14 years of his life. Smith’s bodyguard Graham ‘Abo’ Henry claimed in ABO – A Treacherous Life: The Graham Henry Story that the gang of criminals Smith led committed crimes worth A$25 million in the 1980s.
Smith was born to an Australian mother and an American serviceman father that he never knew, and brought up in Sydney. He attended Boys Homes’ for approximately three years after becoming involved in burglaries and other offences.
Smith has spent much of the rest of his life in prison, serving sentences from 1963–1965, 1968–1975, 1978-1980 and 1989 to date . Smith was a self-confessed heroin dealer, and armed robber who gained notoriety for his violent temper. Standing 6 ft. 6 tall and weighing 16 stone in his prime, Smith exploited his size when involved in countless street fights and bar brawls. Journalist John Dale has commented “there is no doubting Neddy Smith‘s physical size and menacing aura. In Neddy: The Life and Crimes of Arthur Stanley Smith, he claimed to have beaten up former British and Commonwealth heavyweight champion Bunny Johnson after a row outside a Sydney nightclub. However he denies committing the rape he was imprisoned for in 1968 and the numerous murders of which he has been accused.
Smith gained further notoriety when he became a whistle-blower and star witness for the Independent Commission Against Corruption and the Wood Royal Commission. He obtained immunity for all crimes he had committed, except murder, in exchange for testifying against former New South Wales police detective Roger Rogerson and other allegedly corrupt police officers.
During ICAC proceedings, Smith testified that he had committed eight armed robberies and had made a large amount of money from dealing heroin. He alleged that members of New South Wales Police had given him a “green light” to commit crimes and had aided him in various robberies and other crimes. He also claimed to have paid corrupt police officers large sums of money to escape criminal charges himself and to assist his friends in avoiding criminal charges.
In The Damage Done, Warren Fellows claimed he had witnessed Smith make death threats against two police officers who attempted to take him in for questioning on his daughter’s 10th birthday. Fellows also alleges that he was working for Smith when he was arrested in Thailand for attempting to smuggle 8.5 kilograms of heroin back to Australia. Fellows was travelling in the company of Smith’s brother-in-law, Paul Hayward, who was also charged with trafficking.
Though Smith has been charged with eight murders, he has only been convicted of the murder of brothel owner Harvey Jones and the murder-in-company of a tow-truck driver named Ronnie Flavell during an incident of road rage.
Smith’s claimed exploits, and those of allegedly corrupt New South Wales police officers, are depicted in the mini-series Blue Murder, based on Smith’s book, Neddy, and produced by Australia’s public broadcaster, ABC TV. First aired in most of Australia in 1995, the show was banned in New South Wales until 2001 due to the ICAC hearings, the Wood Royal Commission and outstanding contempt of court charges. Australian actor Tony Martin played Smith, while Richard Roxburgh played Rogerson.
In Blue Murder, Smith is shown murdering whistle-blower prostitute Sallie-Anne Huckstepp. Smith was recorded in his prison cell confessing to this crime and later made the same confession to his publisher. However, he has otherwise consistently denied involvement in the murder and has maintained that he knew he was being secretly recorded in his cell and made the statement to gain publicity for his book. He was subsequently charged with Huckstepp’s murder, but was acquitted. In his second book, Catch and Kill Your Own, Smith implies ignorance, but told writer John Dale he knows who committed her murder and would release the information once the killer is dead.
Diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 1981, Smith served 14 years in Long Bay Correctional Centre, NSW, and was a regular patient at the prison hospital. In 2003 he was moved to Lithgow Correctional Centre.In 2008, The Daily Telegraph reported that Parkinson’s medication had ceased being effective and that Smith’s health had deteriorated, leaving him unable to maintain balance and using a wheelchair. Despite being imprisoned for the rest of his life, Smith continues to refuse to assist police with ongoing investigations of unsolved murders, which were not covered by the immunity granted to him in exchange for his testimony against allegedly corrupt police officers at the Independent Commission Against Corruption and the Wood Royal Commission hearings
- Director of Public Prosecutions v Arthur Stanley Smith Attorney General for the State of New South Wales v Arthur Stanley Smith
- Regina v Arthur Stanley Smith (2000)
- Regina v Arthur Stanley Smith Matter No 70082/96
- Royal Commission into the NSW Police Service Final Report – Volume 1 – Corruption
- Royal Commission into the NSW Police Service Final Report – Volume 2 – Reform