Compensation bid over wrongful jail
A compensation bid will soon be launched by lawyers for the man wrongfully jailed over the death of Broome man Josh Warneke.
It has been three months since Gene Gibson walked free from prison, where he had spent five years, with his lawyer, Michael Lundberg, confirming an ex gratia application to the State Government for compensation is imminent.
One of Mr Gibson’s biggest supporters in his ex gratia bid is Mr Warneke’s mother, Ingrid Bishop, who said financial help was the least the young Aboriginal man and his family deserved after a “harrowing” and “traumatic” experience.
Mr Lundberg, who met Mr Gibson in Alice Springs last week to discuss the ex gratia application, would not be drawn on what kind of payout he was chasing.
“Our position is that he has suffered immensely and that an application is appropriate and we would expect and hope the Government would be very sympathetic to the very unusual and sad circumstances of his position,” he said.
In other compensation payouts, Andrew Mallard received $3.25 million in 2009 for the 12 years he spent in jail for a murder he did not commit, while the Mickelberg brothers were awarded $1 million for the up to eight years they spent behind bars over the Perth Mint swindle.
“One has got to bear in mind the things he (Mr Gibson) has missed out on are different to the things a non-Aboriginal person has missed out on,” Mr Lundberg said.
“I would say a person in his circumstance being away from his country for five years, it’s a different set of issues that might go into the equation,”
Mr Gibson was faring as well as could be expected, his lawyer said.
Mr Gibson, a 25-year-old illiterate man with a limited grasp of English, had his manslaughter conviction for Mr Warneke’s 2010 death thrown out by the Court of Appeal in April.
Police then launched a fresh probe into Mr Warneke’s murder, and boosted the reward to find the Broome man’s killer to $250,000.