Palm Island Inquest Resumes (again)

It is well over five years since Mulrunji Doomagee died in police custody on Palm Island, his ribs broken and his liver nearly sliced in two.  Previous coronial inquests and trials have wound a tortuous path, with various assertions about the cause of death ranging from the consequences of a “complicated fall” to suggestions Mulrunji’s injuries were inflicted by a more direct methods.

Despite past coroner’s investigations, a trial, a CMC Inquiry into the inadequacies of the police investigation (report still to be released) and ongoing legal action, many issues remain unresolved – and now a new coronial inquest is getting underway on Palm Island.

Monique Bond has published some detailed background notes on the history of the case and her observations from attending parts of the 2006 inquest. These notes can be found at this link.  I know Monique from her involvement in the Queensland branch of ANTaR – Australians for Native Title and Reconciliation. She has a very strong commitment to justice for Indigenous Australians.

Monique is also attending the latest inquest and is planning to post her impressions of proceedings at a blog she has set up for this purpose.  Her blog is at this link, where you will be able to follow her impressions as the inquest unfolds.

You can read the various posts I have written in the past about Palm Island at this link.

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  1. Tony Koch, in the “Australian” today;
    ” Witness changes story: I could see Mulrunji Doomadgee ‘scuffle’ “.
    Koch observes that the key witness to the death of Doomadgee, a clerk, has now changed his story, alleging he had a full rather than partial view of he had a full view of the protracted assault by Senior Sergeant Hurley on Mulrunji Doomadgee,
    “because he felt intimidated by the other police called in to investigate…”.
    Makes “Missisippi Burning” look like child’s play, doesn’t it?
    Particularly with all the scumbaggery that has gone on then and in the interim concerning the atrocity, up in Queensland.

  2. I think it would certainly cost a lot less, and cause less frustration and animosity, if the government somehow managed to get it right the first time around.

  3. If the purpose of coronial inquests is to reduce the likelihood of future accidental deaths and to deliver possible offenders to the legal system, and if the purpose of the legal system is to dispense justice and to provide some measure of closure to victims and their loved ones, then the Doomagee case is likely to resist the Westminster system’s methods for retrospectively righting wrongs.

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