Wait­ing on jus­tice

No progress on who will head Hur­ley re­view

Townsville Bulletin - - Front Page - By RACHELLE CHAP­MAN

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

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