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Public pressure forces Queensland prosecutor to hand Mulrunji file to Attorney-General Kerry Shine - he will order a review.

Queensland public prosecutor Leanne Clare will hand the Mulrunji file to state Attorney-General Kerry Shine. Shine has said that he will order a review into the Mulrunji case.

The news was reported in the Australian, via the AAP wire, yesterday - click here for the story.

Click here for background on DPP Clare's decision not to charge S/Sgt Chris Hurley with murder..

Michael McKenna and Andrew Fraser in the Australian said:

After a week of publicly refusing to intervene in the controversy, the Beattie Government yesterday announced the unprecedented review of last week's decision by Director of Public Prosecutions Leanne Clare not to lay charges against Senior Sergeant Chris Hurley.

But it ignored calls for the inquiry to be run by somebody from outside the state, last night appointing Pat Shanahan, a retired Queensland District Court chief judge, to conduct the review. He will be assisted by Brisbane criminal lawyer Peter Davis.

Hedley Thomas in The Australian says:

If Leanne Clare believes her own statements about the independence of the Office of the Department of Public Prosecutions and her handling of the Mulrunji Doomadgee case, she will draft a brief letter of resignation and make a hasty exit.

It is not logically possible to reconcile the decision yesterday of Queensland's Attorney-General Kerry Shine to have the case reviewed, with Mrs Clare's earlier view that such a step would constitute a fundamental assault on her independence.

If she stays on as DPP she will be going along with a course of action that she had, just hours earlier, viewed as unwarranted and untenable. She cannot be fiercely independent and hopelessly compromised on the same issue at the same time.

However, Renee Viellaris and Steven Wardill in the Courier-Mail [Brisbane] say:

The State Government has refused to use its special powers to order a police officer at the centre of a Palm Island death in custody to face trial.

The Government last night played down its ability to override the decision by Director of Public Prosecutions Leanne Clare not to charge Senior- Sergeant Chris Hurley.

Attorney-General Kerry Shine yesterday ordered an independent review of Ms Claire's controversial findings that there was not enough evidence to charge Sen-Sgt Hurley over the death of an Aboriginal man, now known as Mulrunji, in 2004.

However, The Courier-Mail learned last night that the Attorney-General has the power to take a person to trial.

The Police Union predictably said that the decision to review would be a 'waste of time'.

Perhaps the Police Union should help their members to do their job - investigate the crime of murder that happened on Palm Island.

Justice for Mulrunji is NOT yet a done deal.

The trouble all along has been that that not enough evidence was been presented to the DPP in the first place.

If the review comes back saying 'not enough evidence', then that evidence needs to be found.

The core of the case against Hurley is that he told the same story three times to investigating detectives - he said three times that he fell NEXT to Mulrunji, not on him.

Then, the medical evidence showed that Hurley either fell on Mulrunji, or criminally assaulted him.

Hurley changed his story to say that he fell on Mulrunji.

Now come on. Put Hurley in front of a good criminal interrogator. That hole is big enough to drive a Mack truck through. If a prosecutor actually WANTED to take this to court, they already have enough to make Hurley look like a liar - without putting a single 'unreliable witness' on the stand.

Click here for a explanation of just how suspicious this is - after the first few paragraphs, scroll to about half-way down where there are quotes from the coroner's report.

If there is not yet enough evidence, go and find it.

That is what the DPP should have said in the beginning:

"This case is not strong enough yet to take to court. But I smell murder, and I need the police to look for more evidence."

Instead, she swallowed the police story, and even claimed in public that Mulrunji's death was an accident.

Via Senator Andrew Bartlett's blog.

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1 comment:

Legal Eagle said...

Your comment on my site was a good one. I have had to go and refresh my evidence law, and I now think that Hurley could not claim the privilege against self-incrimination in relation to his initial three statements to police.

Hurley has a right to refuse to give evidence, so he may not be cross-examined (although some defendants do choose to give evidence). But I think that on the basis of the three statements, enough of a case could be made out to prosecute.

If the massive injuries weren't caused by Hurley falling on Mulrunji, what were they caused by? If I were prosecuting, I would argue that the inference would be that they must have been caused by some other kind of severe compressive force on Mulrunji's abdomen. As Mulrunji was fine but intoxicated when he emerged from the police van and unable to stand by the time he was taken to the cell, it seems that the severe compressive force must have been applied by Hurley to Mulrunji's abdomen in the time it took to move Mulrunji from the police van to the cell.