Fam­ily re­jects DPP meet­ing

Townsville Bulletin - - Front Page - By MAL­COLM WEATHERUP

THE f a mi l y o f Mul r u n j i Doomadgee has re­fused the of­fer of a private meet­ing with the Queens­land Di­rec­tor of Pub­lic Prose­cu­tions, Leanne Clare, to hear what ad­di­tional ev­i­dence led to her re­fusal to lay charges against Se­nior Sergeant Chris Hur­ley.

‘‘We have noth­ing to dis­cuss with the DPP in private, be­cause we be­lieve the ev­i­dence should be made pub­lic,’’ El­iz­a­beth Doomadgee said yes­ter­day.

The of­fer of a private meet­ing came from Pre­mier Beat­tie dur­ing his re­cent visit to Palm Is­land, af­ter Mrs Clare had an­nounced that there wasn’t enough ev­i­dence to bring SenSgt Hur­ley to trial.

In di­rect op­po­si­tion to the find­ings of Deputy State Coro­ner Chris­tine Cle­ments, who found Sen-Sgt Hur­ley was re­spon­si­ble for Mul­runji’s fa­tal in­juries, Mrs Clare de­scribed the death from a se­verely rup­tured spleen as a ‘ter­ri­ble ac­ci­dent’ caused by a fall.

She said her own in­ves­ti­ga­tions af­ter the inquest led her to be­lieve there wasn’t enough ev­i­dence which would al­low a jury to reach a guilty ver­dict.

That ex­tra ev­i­dence is yet to be re­leased to the pub­lic, which ou­traged at least one in­dige­nous ac­tivist.

Abo­rig­i­nal leader Noel Pear­son sug­gested hold­ing back on such vi­tal ev­i­dence made a non­sense of Pre­mier Beat­tie’s state­ment to Palm Is­lan­ders last week that jus­tice needed not only to be done, but to be seen to be done.

The Doomadgee fam­ily’s lawyer, Fred­eric Cas­sis, said the inquest spanned 18months, which gave the Gov­ern­ment am­ple time to present all ev­i­dence it thought rel­e­vant to the case.

‘‘If the ad­di­tional ev­i­dence ex­isted prior to the end of the inquest, why wasn’t it ten­dered?’’ Mr Cas­sis asked.

‘‘It is dis­grace­ful for the Gov­ern­ment to now rely on ‘ad­di­tional ev­i­dence’ in th­ese cir­cum­stances, and then con­tinue to shroud such ev­i­dence in a veil of se­crecy.’’

The is­sue has split the wider com­mu­nity and caused so much fric­tion that Pre­mier Beat­tie last week bowed to pub­lic pres­sure and ap­pointed the re­tired Chief Judge of the Dis­trict Court, Pat Shana­han, to re­view Mrs Clare’s de­ci­sion.

That ap­point­ment it­self has now come un­der at­tack be­cause in 2000 Judge Shana­han was one of a panel of three which unan­i­mously rec­om­mended Mrs Clare’s ap­point­ment as DPP.

And t h a t , ac­cord­ing t o Fred­eric Cas­sis, is a clear con­flict of in­ter­est.

‘‘It is to­tally in­ap­pro­pri­ate for Pat Shana­han to lead any re­view of the DPP’s de­ci­sion (be­cause) he en­dorsed Leanne Clare’s com­pe­tency in sup­port­ing her (for her ap­point­ment) as DPP,’’ Mr Cas­sis said.

‘‘Her com­pe­tence is an is­sue at the very heart of this re­view,’’ Mr Cas­sis said.

‘‘In the in­ter­ests of jus­tice, this in­de­pen­dent re­view needs to be re­ferred to a per­son out­side Queens­land who is free from all po­lit­i­cal, per­sonal or any kind of af­fil­i­a­tion to Leanne Clare or any­one else in­volved in this mat­ter,’’ Mr Cas­sis said.

Fred­eric Cas­sis

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