NSW double jeopardy laws face reform for murder retrial
DOUBLE jeopardy laws in New South Wales will be reviewed in an effort to allow the retrial of a suspect found not guilty of murdering three Aboriginal children in Bowraville almost 25 years ago.
A chain of investigations and court trials has never managed to convict the person who killed four-year-old Evelyn Greenup and 16-year-olds Colleen Walker-Craig and Clinton Speedy-Duroux over five months in 1990 and 1991.
The three children disappeared from the same stretch of road.
A man was tried for two of the murders and suspected of Colleen's, whose body remains missing, but he was never convicted.
NSW Attorney General Gabrielle Upton yesterday appointed Justice James Woods to oversee a review of the state's double jeopardy laws, following an upper house inquiry which found flaws in the trial system.
The inquiry heard the legal system at the time prevented the man being tried for all the murders in the single trial, meaning crucial evidence may have been missed.
If successful, the review will allow the case and others like it to be retried a single time.
Ms Upton has said the NSW Government would adopt all recommendations of the inquiry - including that all police officers are properly trained on how to deal with cultural differences in cases relating to Aboriginal people.
Lawyers may also be required to undergo Aboriginal cultural awareness training.
Greens MP David Shoebridge, who moved the motion to establish the parliamentary inquiry, said the children's families were a step closer to finally receiving justice.
"There has been a quarter of a century of heartache, campaigning, frustration and persistence from the families of the victims of the Bowraville murders," he said.
"The government's announcement reflects the hard work and dedication of the Bowraville families, which ultimately galvanised and united parliament in sympathy with their story.
"The Government could, and should, have gone further and implemented an immediate reform to the law of double jeopardy, clearing the way for a retrial of the Bowraville murders.
"We still intend to move on the Greens' double jeopardy bill this Thursday to ensure there is a concrete legislative reform before Justice Wood in his review."
Justice Wood's final report is due on November 15.