DPP stands firm on custody death

December 22, 2006

Victim ... Cameron Doomadgee.

THE Mayor of Palm Island, Delena Foster, says she is disgusted that the Queensland Director of Public Prosecutions will not seek an external review of the decision not to charge a policeman over the death of Mulrunji Doomadgee.

Ms Foster also called for the sacking of the director, Leanne Clare, over her handling of Mr Doomadgee's death in custody in 2004.

Ms Clare said last week that Senior Sergeant Chris Hurley would not be charged despite a ruling by the deputy state coroner, Christine Clements, that he caused the death.

The Attorney-General, Kerry Shine, wrote to Ms Clare yesterday saying the Premier, Peter Beattie, would strongly support a review or a second opinion.

Ms Clare said last night that she was acutely aware of the controversy over her decision.

"It does not change the fact, however, that the evidence does not support a prosecution. If this case had gone to a jury no law-abiding citizen - black or white, Christian or Muslim - would have found this man guilty."

Sergeant Hurley could not be prosecuted even if she did order an external review, she said.

"The firm assessment of my office was that the evidence fell considerably short of that which would be required to put anyone on trial. Therefore, no one in my office could prosecute this case regardless of any position adopted by an external review."

Ms Foster described Ms Clare's decision as cowardly.

"I'm very disappointed, angry and disgusted. It makes you wonder, what has she got to hide? It's cowardly on her part."

Ms Foster said outrage expressed in rallies in three states should have been enough to prompt an independent review.

"I would have thought Ms Clare would have had compassion for the family and, knowing that there hasn't been closure for them, she would have been more willing to have an independent review," she said.

"I believe the Premier should sack Ms Clare because she is incompetent and she has failed to disclose any reasons why she came to that decision."

Ms Foster said she would speak to Mr Doomadgee's family about flying to Brisbane soon to talk to Mr Beattie and Ms Clare about the findings.

Ms Clare said ordering an external review would "override" her office's independence.

She said she would be happy to meet Mr Doomadgee's family and explain her findings.

Ms Foster said: "And so she should meet with the family. She should let them know what was the additional information that she received to make her decision. This hasn't been shared."