New row on Palm death

Ex-po­lice chief taken to task

Townsville Bulletin - - News - by Nathan Paull nathan. paull@ townsville­bul­letin. com. au

PALM I sland mayor Alf Lacey is fum­ing over fresh com­ments by the re­tired deputy po­lice com­mis­sioner who found six po­lice of­fi­cers should not be dis­ci­plined over botched probes into the 2004 Palm Is­land death in cus­tody of Cameron ‘‘ Mul­runji’’ Doomadgee.

Last week it was re­vealed t hat re­tired Queens­land deputy po­lice com­mis­sioner Kathy Rynders ruled the of­fi­cers should face only ‘‘ man­age­rial guid­ance’’.

The rul­ing flew in the face of a Crime and Mis­con­duct Com­mis­sion recom­men -da­tion that the of­fi­cers should face dis­ci­plinary ac­tion and mis­con­duct charges over t wo f l awed i nves­ti­ga­tions into Mr Doomadgee’s watch­house death in 2004.

Ms Rynders yes­ter­day criti- cised the com­mis­sion and de­fended her de­ci­sion.

She said the watch­dog’s rec­om­men­da­tion was built on al­le­ga­tions, emo­tions and ‘ ‘ i nflam­ma­tory l an­guage’’ that in­flu­enced pub­lic opin­ion.

Cr Lacey yes­ter­day said he was ‘‘ex­tremely disap -pointed’’ at the com­ments.

He said Ms Rynders should now keep out of the mat­ter and ‘‘ en­joy her re­tire­ment’’.

‘‘ It’s just so dis­ap­point­ing that she con­tin­ues to make a me­dia cir­cus out of a re­ally se­ri­ous is­sue,’’ he said.

‘‘ She needs to take re­spon­si­bil­ity – ei­ther put up or shut her mouth . . . in terms of her spat with the CMC and who was right and who was wrong. This is not the is­sue any more.

‘‘ The is­sue is that she has pub­lished her find­ings against rec­om­men­da­tions ( from the CMC) . . . af­ter she gave brav­ery awards to the very of­fi­cers she was sup­posed to dis­ci­pline.

‘‘ How is that im­par­tial and trans­par­ent?’’

Ri­ots broke out on Palm Is­land fol­low­ing Mr Doomadgee’s death and the po­lice sta­tion was burnt down.

Last week the com­mis­sion said it was pow­er­less to chal­lenge Ms Rynders’ de­ci­sion be­cause of a legal loop­hole.

Ms Rynders yes­ter­day told ABC ra­dio the com­mis­sion needed to be re­viewed by an ex­ter­nal body.

‘‘ Clearly in my mind, as a re­sult of hav­ing a look at their re­view into the Palm Is­land is­sue, there has been a fail­ure of qual­ity con­trol in that or­gan­i­sa­tion in terms of that re­port,’’ she said.

‘‘ There has been a fail­ure of cor­po­rate gov­er­nance at the se­nior level.’’

Ms Rynders said her de­ci­sion was fair and based on the ev­i­dence.

She said she found there was no case t o an­swer. ‘‘ Many of the al­le­ga­tions could not be sub­stan­ti­ated,’’ she said.

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