Every now and then, I read an opinion which reflects my own, and which I couldn't write any better myself. This is a comment by Tony Koch, from The Australian
newspaper from [today] Thursday 19th November, reproduced in full:
Anyone who doubts that two- speed justice exists in Queensland need only consider the much delayed Crime and Misconduct Commission investigation into the death in custody of Palm Island man Mulrunji Doomadgee.
On October 30, 2006, former Beattie government minister Merri Rose met her former press secretary in the Brisbane City mall and asked him to deliver a threat to premier Peter Beattie that certain allegedly embarrassing information would be made public if she was not given a plum job.
The message was relayed, the Crime and Misconduct Commission chairman, Bob Needham, was informed the same day and an investigation began. On November 9, 2006, Rose was charged with extortion -- to which she pleaded guilty and was jailed.
So it took the CMC -- the state's anti-corruption watchdog organisation -- 10 days to receive the complaint, complete the investigation and lay charges.
Compare that response with the case of Doomadgee, who was arrested on Palm Island on November 19, 2004, for disorderly conduct. He had sworn at a police liaison officer in a back street. Less than an hour later, he was dead in a cell, having sustained horrific injuries including four broken ribs and with his liver cleaved in two.
The appallingly inadequate investigation by police into the death in custody spoke volumes about the Queensland Police Service's lack of professionalism. It was so demonstrably woeful that the CMC undertook an inquiry into the investigation. But five years have elapsed since the death of the Aboriginal man and that inquiry has not been finalised.
The revelation that the parliamentary officer with the statutory responsibility to oversee CMC investigations and refer any official complaints he receives to that committee is to leave his position and act for the Queensland Police Service at the second inquest into Mulrunji's death is another incredible event in this sad saga.
Alan MacSporran SC yesterday said he had not received any formal complaint about the time taken for the CMC investigation so had not seen any need to take any action.
They are weasel words as there has been trenchant criticism in all media, but particularly The Australian, for more than two years about the delays.
The failure to gain closure on Doomadgee's death is attributable to the complete absence of political leadership -- particularly that of former police minister (and former Aboriginal affairs minister) Judy Spence, who had ministerial responsibility for most of the period since the death.
She applauded the quick justice meted out to the Palm Islanders who rioted a week after Doomadgee's death and burned police buildings. But she went missing when it came to standing up for Aboriginal people when it was clear to all that police had acted inappropriately time and again.
The long-awaited CMC investigation has open to it only two possible findings with regard to the police investigation into the violent death in custody of Doomadgee.
They are that the police were involved in a shameless cover-up, or that these senior officers were grossly inefficient.
Your call, Mr Needham" [Tony Koch]
I couldn't have written it better myself!
Labels: Aboriginal affairs, Australian politics, Doomadgee