Shine seeks re­view team

Townsville Bulletin - - News - By RACHELLE CHAP­MAN and AAP

Q U E E N S L A N D At­tor­ney-Gen­eral Kerry Shine is still to find a re­place­ment for a re­tired judge who has stepped down from a re­view of a de­ci­sion not to charge a po­lice sergeant over a death in cus­tody.

For­mer Chief Judge of the Dis­trict Court Pat Shana­han yes­ter­day told Mr Shine he would not re­view the de­ci­sion by Di­rec­tor of Pub­lic Prose­cu­tions Leanne Clare not to charge S e n i o r S e r g e a n t C h r i s H u r l e y over the death of 3 6 - y e a r - old Mul­runji Doomadgee i n the Palm I s l a n d watch­house in Novem­ber 2004.

Ms Clare ini­tially had in­sisted she would not seek an ex­ter­nal re­view of her de­ci­sion.

The DPP said the ‘ev­i­dence did not sup­port a pros­e­cu­tion’, de­spite State deputy coro­ner Chris­tine Cle­ments’ rul­ing in Septem­ber that Snr Sgt Hur­ley caused Mul­runji’s death.

Mr Shana­han had been widely crit­i­cised as hav­ing a con­flict of in­ter­est af­ter it was re­vealed he was on a panel that ap­pointed Ms Clare as DPP in 1999.

Mr Shana­han and Bris­bane crim­i­nal lawyer Peter Davis, SC, were ap­pointed last Fri­day to con­duct the re­view.

Mr Shine said in a state­ment yes­ter­day he had asked the Crown so­lic­i­tor to find a re­place­ment for Mr Shana­han, but Mr Davis would con­tinue to serve on the re­view.

‘‘The Crown so­lic­i­tor has still to find a re­place­ment for the re­tired chief judge,’’ a spokesman for Mr Shine said.

‘‘The re­view will con­sider the DPP’s file on the mat­ter deal­ing with the death of Mul­runji on Palm Is­land in Novem­ber 2004.’’

The re­view was ex­pected to be com­pleted in Fe­bru­ary next year.

But the State Gov­ern­ment’s han­dling of the mat­ter has come un­der fire from op­po­si­tion and Abo­rig­i­nal groups.

Op­po­si­tion le­gal af­fairs s p o k e s m a n M a r k McAr­dle stopped short of call­ing for Mr Shine’s res­ig­na­tion but said the min­is­ter made a ‘comp l e t e me s s ’ o f t h e Mul­runji mat­ter, his first ma­jor de­ci­sion since tak­ing of­fice on Novem­ber 1.

‘‘The at­tor­ney-gen­eral, to date in this po­si­tion, has not per­formed up to the stan­dard that we ex­pect of an at­tor­neygen­eral,’’ Mr McAr­dle said.

‘‘There is a se­ri­ous cloud over . . . whether he has the ca­pac­ity to take on the role of the state’s first law of­fi­cer.

‘‘This is his first ma­jor de­ci­sion and he has made a com­plete mess of it.’’

The Doomadgee fam­ily’s lawyer, Fred­eric Cas­sis, said yes­ter­day the fam­ily wel­comed Mr Shana­han’s de­ci­sion.

‘‘The fam­ily’s view is that this is an ab­so­lutely nec­es­sary de­ci­sion, there was no other way in which this re­view could pos­si­bly pro­ceed . . . (given the) po­ten­tial for a con­flict of in­ter­est,’’ Mr Cas­sis said. ‘‘This mat­ter has been be­set with a lack of trans­parency from day one, when Chris Hur­ley’s friends com­menced the in­ves­ti­ga­tion into (Mul­runji’s) death in the watch­house, right through to the DPP mak­ing a de­ci­sion on ad­di­tional ev­i­dence which she has re­fused to make pub­lic.

‘‘No-one can ar­gue there has been an enor­mous in­jus­tice done to the Doomadgee fam­ily.

‘‘The Queens­land Gov­ern­ment has an op­por­tu­nity to have this re­view con­ducted in­de­pen­dently, thor­oughly, and by a per­son free from any po­lit­i­cal, per­sonal, or any other af­fil­i­a­tion to any in­volve­ment in this mat­ter.’’

Mr Cas­sis said the Doomadgee fam­ily again called on the Queens­land Gov­ern­ment to have the re­view taken out­side of Queens­land.

He said the re­view should be car­ried out by an in­ter­state for­mer Chief Jus­tice of the High Court, like Sir Ger­ard Bren­nan or Sir An­thony Ma­son.

‘‘They’ve got an op­por­tu­nity now — we urge them to take it,’’ Mr Cas­sis said of the Queens­land Gov­ern­ment.

He said if — as has been sug­gested in some cir­cles — Di­rec­tor of Pub­lic Prose­cu­tions Leanne Clare made the right de­ci­sion then the Gov­ern­ment should have noth­ing to hide.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.