The Greens NSW have today released a Consultation Report with proposed double jeopardy law reforms following public consultation on the proposed changes.
The proposed reforms follow a Parliamentary inquiry late last year that produced a unanimous report making a series of recommendations regarding the Bowraville murders. Recommendation 8 of that report relates to extending the double jeopardy laws to give the families of the three children murdered at Bowraville nearly 25 years ago a genuine chance at justice.
The Crimes (Appeal and Review) Amendment (Double Jeopardy) Bill 2015 we are releasing today seeks to implement the committee’s recommendation and will be introduced to Parliament next week. If implemented it will remove one significant hurdle in the path of a retrial for the three murders.
As reported in the Sydney Morning Herald:
That change may be a step closer to reality for the families of Colleen Walker-Craig, 16, Evelyn Greenup, 4, and Clinton Speedy-Duroux, 16, who disappeared from the same road in Bowraville within five months of each other in late 1990 and early 1991.
A white man was tried for two of the murders but acquitted. He was also a suspect in Colleen’s death. Her body has never been found.
“The circumstances surrounding the three children’s murders have clear similarities; however, the legal system at the time prevented all the murders being tried together,” a report released on Friday says.
“This meant crucial evidence was missing from each trial and justice has not been done.”
Greens MP and Justice Spokesperson, David Shoebridge said:
“In November last year MPs from all sides of politics spoke in support of delivering justice for the families of three Aboriginal children who were murdered in Bowraville in 1990 and 1991.
“This reform seeks to address that and deliver a realistic chance of obtaining a retrial where all three murders can be considered together. Despite the significant similarities in the three murders, this has not happened to date.
“25 years is too long to wait for justice and that is why we will be presenting this Bill to Parliament on its return next week.
“Given the Parliament’s emotional commitment last year when the Bowraville report was tabled, we hope that every political party can get behind this reform and put concrete action behind our collective promises of last year.
“We received invaluable feedback in the consultation over the draft Bill, and this has resulted in a more closely drafted and targeted law change.
“It was heartening to see that the new Attorney General met with the families this week to hear there concerns directly. Minister Upton should be commended for taking this step so early in her time as a Minister.
“Whether the Bill is supported through Parliament as a Greens Bill or the Government adopts the measure as one of its own measures when Parliament resumes, this is a reform that has been a quarter of a century in the making.
“In all my dealings with the families their primary request is the same, they want justice for their lost children. This Bill takes their cause one step closer to reality,” Mr Shoebridge said.
Media contact: David Shoebridge 9230 3030