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The REAL background to the Hurley trail

The Qld Police Union has now gone on the offensive in the wake of Chris Hurley's acquittal. But the union will be selling a lie as for two and a half years it has sabotaged all and every attempt to win justice for the Mulrunji Doomadgee. Their secretary Gary Wilkinson even publicly accused the deputy coroner Christine Clements of conducting a "witch hunt", and ignoring large amounts of evidence.He was then cited by the state attorney general for contempt.

So it's about time we remembered the facts.

Here is a chronology of events that lead up to the trial of Senior Sergeant Chris Hurley for manslaughter and assault over the death of Mulrunji on Palm Island,an aboriginal community off the coast of Townsville, in November 2004.
  • November 19, 2004 - Mulrunji Doomadgee is taken into the Palm Island watchhouse following his arrest for "public drunkness" after singing .An hour later he is found dead in his cell.
  • The coroner's inquest that followed during 2005 is aborted when sabotaged by the Qld Police Union.
  • A new inquest by Acting Chief Coroner (Christine Clement) finds that Mulrunji's death was caused by the actions of Hurley.Read her report.
  • The Coroner's report is then sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions ( Leanne Clare) who later rules that there is not enough evidence for charges to be laid against Hurley. Clare stated that Mulrunji's death was caused by a "complicated fall". Premier Beattie asked the Aboriginal community and supporters to "accept the umpires decision"
  • This decision is met with massive outrage and under great pressure and a militant street campaign by Queensland Murris and their supporters, the public prosecutor --after initially refusing -- is forced to agree to a review.
  • The state government announces that there would be a review into the decision of the DPP, but not of the DPP performance.
  • The retired judge (Pat Shanahan) is appointed to undertake the review but is forced to stand down when it is revealed that he was on the selection committee that gave the DPP her current job.
  • Retired NSW judge (Sir Laurence Street)is then appointed to head the review.
  • Street finds that there was indeed enough evidence to prosecute and so after two years, Hurley ceases policing at his lawyer's suggestion(he had never been formally relieved of his duties at any time previously) and charged with with manslaughter and assault.. The same day, police at a protest meeting on the Sunshine Coast pass a no confidence motion in Premier Peter Beattie.
  • Since then the Qld Police Union has been issuing wrist bands to be worn while on duty with Hurley's police number on them as a gesture of solidarity, cop assertiveness, and to raise money for his defence. In response, Sam Watson and Socialist Alliance begin distributing thousands of yellow wristbands inscribed with date of Mulrunji's death and calling for "Justice Now!"
  • The Hurley trail begins in Townsville on June 12th.

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Red Wombat | June 21, 2007

The text of the Police union radio adds is available on The Australian website:


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