Mul­runji case a sham­bles

Townsville Bulletin - - Letters -

WHAT­EV­ER­the pre­vail­ing opin­ions about the Mul­runji Doomadgee case, and there are many and var­ied, one thing that can­not be ar­gued about is the sloppy way the Queens­land Gov­ern­ment has dealt with the mat­ter. Af­ter a coro­ner’s de­ci­sion which raised enor­mous hope in the in­dige­nous com­mu­nity they and their sup­port­ers were forced to come to grips with re­al­ity, Queens­land-style, when Di­rec­tor of Pub­lic Prose­cu­tions Leanne Clare re­ported that she would not press charges against the po­lice­man im­pli­cated by the coro­ner in Mul­runji Doomadgee’s death in cus­tody. Ms Clare stead­fastly re­fused to dis­close her rea­sons and ‘new ev­i­dence’ which she had used to come to her de­ci­sion. Amid the out­cry fol­low­ing her de­ci­sion Pre­mier Peter Beat­tie flew to Palm Is­land on the day of a na­tional day of protest, to be greeted by a com­mu­nity still sim­mer­ing about the mat­ter but de­ter­mined to press for le­gal re­dress rather than take to the streets with vi­o­lence, as had hap­pened once al­ready. Their calls, and those of many other peo­ple, for an in­de­pen­dent re­view were fi­nally an­swered when At­tor­ney-Gen­eral Kerry Shine fi­nally be­came in­volved in the mat­ter. His ap­point­ment then of re­tired Chief Judge of the Dis­trict Court Pat Shana­han, a man of im­pec­ca­ble rep­u­ta­tion and in­tegrity, might have been the be­gin­ning of the new chap­ter promised by his ac­tions were it not for the fact that he failed to check Judge Shana­han’s con­nec­tions with the DPP. The fact that he had been on the panel which ap­pointed Leanne Clare to her po­si­tion was an ob­vi­ous con­flict of in­ter­est and one which a sim­ple back­ground check would have re­vealed. It’s not hard to un­der­stand his ea­ger­ness to an­nounce the judge’s ap­point­ment, given the cal­i­bre of his cho­sen can­di­date, but the en­tire process has now been tainted by that same rush to put things right with­out first ex­am­in­ing the is­sue thor­oughly. Mr Shine’s new ap­point­ment will not please all quar­ters ei­ther, es­pe­cially those who be­lieve that only some­one from out­side this State can be truly in­de­pen­dent of the whole process. It has be­come a very sorry af­fair in­deed and it is now ques­tion­able whether any­thing of any value will ever come out of the process. What a sham­bles — and at the cen­tre of it, a griev­ing fam­ily still look­ing for an­swers.

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