For 20 years Zhanyu Zhong has fought a losing battle to overturn his conviction for hiring an undercover policeman to kill his wife.
But a U2-quoting Victorian judge has suggested he give it another go, minus the "drivel and bile" he's burdened the system with in the past.
Mr Zhong says he never intended to have his former wife killed and there was no prospect of him even having the money to afford it.
In what Justice Michael Croucher described as a "nicely put" but "difficult" argument, Mr Zhong compared his conviction to that of a rooster laying eggs in Switzerland in 1474.
Mr Zhang was sentenced to six years behind bars but released on parole after three-and-a-half. He appealed to the Court of Appeal but was refused.
He failed again in an appeal to the High Court after being released on parole, and has made multiple petitions to various attorneys-general and state governors since.
While Justice Croucher was unable to overturn the latest decisions to refuse those petitions, he described Mr Zhong's conviction as troubling.
"I have a nagging doubt that Mr Zhong ever really formed a concluded intention that his wife should be killed at all, or that he really intended or believed that his wife would be killed by Mark, the would-be hitman," he said.
Justice Croucher said Mr Zhong had been dogged in his attempts to clear his name, after failing many times in the past.
He couldn't say whether he had persisted out of a genuine sense of outrage, pursuit of forgiveness, hopes of rebuilding a relationship with his daughter or to "play Jesus to the lepers in his head".
"Apologies to the Irish rock band U2. I have taken these words from among the aching lyrics of their 1991 song, One," the judge said.
Perhaps all is not lost though, he suggested.
Laws in Victoria have now changed allowing a second appeal where new evidence is available.
Mr Zhong might be able to convince the Court of Appeal that evidence he had used in his petitions to the attorney-general and Victorian governor were not available at his trial.
Justice Croucher suggested a barrister or two might help the unrepresented man to put together a more targeted petition.
He has recommended Attorney-General Jill Hennessy consider a fresh petition.