Waiting on justice
No progress on who will head Hurley review
THE person who will head an independent review into Queensland Director of Public Prosecutions Leanne Clare’s decision not to prosecute Senior Sergeant Chris Hurley over the death of Mulrunji Doomadgee in November 2004 is still not known.
Attorney-General Kerry Shine has referred the file to the crown solicitor to commission an independent review of the material.
The crown solicitor will now have to choose another head after retired Chief Judge of the District Court Pat Shanahan withdrew earlier this week due to a conflict of interest. A new inquiry head is being sought.
The Palm Island issue has dominated national media recently.
A TownsvilleBulletinreaders survey has found 41.5 per cent of respondents believe Sen-Sgt Hurley Left: AttorneyGeneral Kerry Shine Right: Aboriginal activist Gracelyn Smallwood should face a judge and jury over Mulrunji’s death, but 42 per cent think the matter should not go to trial.
Aboriginal activist Gracelyn Smallwood said the results were a sign of improving race relations in Townsville.
‘‘I’m not disappointed,’’ she said.
‘‘I’m overwhelmed . . . it is a massive improvement because most indigenous people do not complete surveys. Iwould normally expect it to be more like 20 per cent (for Sen-Sgt Hurley to face court) and 80 against.
‘‘There is a bit of light at the end of the tunnel in terms of race relations in Townsville . . . Ibelieve we are having a win.’’
Ms Smallwood said the media had accurately portrayed the facts regarding the fight for justice in the matter.
She said Townsville still ‘without a doubt’ had a racist culture.
‘‘But Ibelieve this survey gives me a bit of hope that race relations are improving,’’ she said.
The survey also found that 70 per cent of respondents felt Townsville was not too racist to form a jury to decide on cases involving the indigenous community.
More than 19 per cent felt the city was too racist, while about 10 per cent didn’t know.
In July, Senior District Court Judge Tony Skoien created controversy when he ruled alleged Palm Island 2004 riot ring-leader Lex Wotton would not get a fair trial in Townsville because of racist attitudes in the community.
He was persuaded in part by a survey commissioned by Mr Wotton’s legal team, in which a large percentage of potential jurors said they would not go on a jury in the case because they had negative feelings towards indigenous people.
GOOD MATES . . . Palm Island children James Lacey, Joey Barry, Alfred Lacey and Ekila Prior