Community happy to hear about review Family wants fully independent investigation
VICTORY dances erupted and cries of joy broke out among the Townsville indigenous community yesterday.
The community welcomed Attorney-General Kerry Shine’s announcement that he would commission a review of the decision by the Director of Public Prosecutions, Leanne Clare, not to charge a policeman over the death of Mulrunji Doomadgee on Palm Island in 2004.
But they said this was only the first step, and vowed to fight for justice to the end.
Palm Island Aboriginal Shire Council Mayor Delena Oui-Foster said the community was still not satisfied.
‘‘We won’t be truly satisfied until we see justice,’’ she said.
Senior Sergeant Chris Hurley needed to be brought before a judge and jury in a court of law over the watchhouse death of Mulrunji, Cr Oui-Foster said.
Deputy State coroner Christine Clements ruled in September that Sen-Sgt Hurley caused Mulrunji’s death.
Ms Clare said on Thursday night she was aware of the controversy surrounding her decision but insisted ‘the evi- IT’S been an emotional rollercoaster of a week for the Doomadgee family.
Speaking through their solicitor Frederic Cassis yesterday, the Doomadgee family said they wanted the Attorney-General Kerry Shine’s commissioned review to be conducted outside and completely independent of Queensland.
‘‘We would call for the appointment of a former High Court Judge (who has no ties to Queensland) to head the investigation,’’ Mr Cassis said.
‘‘The whole way through this there have been problems with the Queensland investigation.’’
He said Mr Shine’s announcement was a positive first step.
‘‘There is some renewed optimism,’’ Mr Cassis said.
Furthermore, Mr Cassis said the dence does not support a prosecution’.
But Mr Shine said yesterday Ms Clare had agreed to provide him with her file on the case — allowing him to commission an independent review.
‘‘Once I have received the file, I will refer it to the Crown Solicitor to commission an independent review of the material provided by the DPP, in the public interest,’’ Mr Shine said.
He said Ms Clare also provided a summary of the file. Doomadgee family called for the entire inquest to be reopened, in light of ‘new evidence’ Ms Clare had referred to.
It was recently revealed Ms Clare had taken into account new evidence before arriving at her decision not to prosecute Senior Sergeant Chris Hurley.
The evidence has not been publicly disclosed.
‘‘Why wasn’t (the
‘‘I have asked Ms Clare to consider releasing, to the greatest extent possible, the contents of that summary in the public interest,’’ Mr Shine said.
‘‘I believe the information should be provided to the f a m i l y o f M u l r u n j i Doomadgee during a second meeting with the DPP, which Ms Clare has agreed to.
‘‘The DPP’s offer to provide the file offers an opportunity for an independent review of the matter, but I evidence) part of the inquest?’’ Mr Cassis asked.
‘‘We would call for the inquest to be reopened and to have the additional evidence included.’’
On Palm Island, the Doomadgee family was struggling to keep it together, according to their solicitor.
‘‘They are very tired and very upset with this whole process — they just want justice,’’ he said. would urge everyone to let the process run its course.’’
Ms Clare said yesterday her position on the matter had not changed.
‘‘I briefed the Attorney General (on Thursday) on the case so that he might be better informed about it,’’ she said.
‘‘At his request, I warded the file to him.
‘‘There is no evidence to prosecute. I do not propose to comment on the AttorneyGeneral’s decision to take the matter elsewhere.’’
A c t i v i s t G r a c e l y n Smallwood, in tears yesterday, said Mr Shine’s announcement was a victory for all Australians.
‘‘If I had a choice for Christmas of a billion dollars or this decision I would take this decision, it’s been the best Christmas present, not only for me but for all of us,’’ Ms Smallwood said.
She said the community had achieved so much by coming together in a nonviolent way, sticking to the topic and letting politicians know the people were in power.
But she said now the people needed outcomes.
Fellow Aboriginal activist Florence Onus said this was only the beginning.
‘‘The Doomadgee family, Palm Island and the rest of the community will not rest until Sen-Sgt Hurley is charged with the murder of Mulrunji Doomadgee,’’ she said.
‘‘We want to see the full circle of justice come our way.’’
Late last night, Mr Shine announced that he had appointed two senior legal representatives to conduct the review of the file prepared by the DPP.