Palm Island:the Hurley secret evidence revealed
- I guess most people weren't aware of it but the Qld Coroner withheld a
segment of evidence from the trial of Chris Hurley.
I knew of its existence (but not its content)only because a recent
book on the case referred to it: Gone for a Song A Death in Custody
on Palm Island by Jeff Waters.
The facts are that Hurley had ben accused of several previous cases
of violence against aboriginal people but this evidence was withheld
as it was thought it could prejudice his case.I think the number is
You betcha! It was prejudicial! The court saw fit to explore the
character of Mulrunji or later that of Lex Wotton but Hurley wasn't to
be bothered by any background
So now that this evidence may leek -- and may reach a broader public
awareness if a freedom of information application is successful --
suggests that the evidence AGAINST Lex Wotton warrants the same degree
The information will be published on Ratbag Media tomorrow but it
won't necesarily impact on the sentencing of Wotton which will proceed
So there's a lot to unravel in our collective attempt to get Lex
released from his sentence.
Today there were about 300 at the militant rally here in Brisbane.
- ABC challenges Palm Island death secrets
Georgia Waters | August 27, 2008 - 8:00AM
Secret evidence in the case of the death of an Aboriginal man in
custody in North Queensland may be released to the public if legal
action taken by the ABC is successful.
The national broadcaster yesterday announced it had begun legal action
in the Queensland Supreme Court in a bid to overturn a coronial order
that prevented the reporting of controversial evidence following the
death of 36-year-old Mulrunji Doomadgee in a Palm Island police cell
on November 19, 2004.
The incident sparked a riot in the small community.
In September 2006, acting State Coronor Christine Clements ruled
Mulrunji had died after being struck while on the floor of the
watchouse and placed a non-publication order over some of the evidence
heard during the case.
The reasons behind the supression have never been made public.
Former Palm Island officer-in-charge, Senior Sergeant Chris Hurley,
was later charged with Mulrunji's manslaughter and assault but was
acquitted by a Townsville Supreme Court jury in June last year.
The ABC opted to take legal action to challenge the gag order
following the publication of a book on the affair, written by ABC
journalist Jeff Waters, who was prevented from using the secret evidence.
Gone for a Song: A Death in Custody on Palm Island, published in May
this year, included a postscript that "[now Senior Sergeant Chris
Hurley's] trial is over, there is no reason why, in the public
interest, the suppression order should not be overturned.
"The information that would then become available would certainly
reveal a need for institutional reform - and perhaps even force it -
for the benefit of society as a whole," Waters wrote.
The matter will go to court on September 5.