Double jeopardy Bill for Bowraville introduced in NSW Parliament

Media release
6 May 2015

As the NSW Parliament returns, the first steps are being taken to deliver law reform to clear the way for justice for the families of three Aboriginal children murdered at Bowraville.

The first item of Private Members Business was a Bill that implements Recommendation 8 of the Bowraville Inquiry’s unanimous report to broaden double jeopardy laws to include where justice was not done under old rules of evidence.

Greens MP David Shoebridge has today read a notion of motion introducing the Crimes (Appeal and Review) Amendment (Double Jeopardy) Bill 2015 to the NSW Parliament’s upper house:

I move that leave be given to bring in a bill for an Act to amend the Crimes (appeal and Review) Act 2001 to extend an exception to the rule against double jeopardy in relation to an acquitted person where previously inadmissible evidence becomes admissible.

If the Bill is passed, the three murders could be retried together instead of separately, since police have always suspected the same person killed the three children who disappeared from the same street in 1990 and 1991.

Greens MP and Justice Spokesperson David Shoebridge said:

“The families have called for justice for their children for 25 years. This Bill sets the wheels in motion for Parliament to act to bring about a just outcome.

“We understand that caretaker period has delayed the government’s response to the Bowraville report. We’ve drafted the Bill, consulted on the Bill, and introduced it in Parliament to ensure there is a concrete legislative reform before the Parliament.

“It was heartening to see that the new Attorney-General met with the families last week to hear their concerns directly. Minister Upton should be commended for taking this step so early in her time as a Minister.

“Given 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 into law our collective promises of last year.

“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,” Mr Shoebridge said.

Media contact: David Shoebridge 9230 3030

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