I am today urging Queensland Premier Peter Beattie to arrange for a review or ‘second opinion’ of the Director of Public Prosecutions’ decision not to proceed with prosecution in relation to death of Mulrunji Doomadgee.
It is important that we support our legal institutions if we are to convince all people, black and white, to have confidence in the system.
For that reason, it is not appropriate to comment on the merits of the case or express a view about the conduct of the DPP. I am not a lawyer and have not been privy to the material that was before the DPP.
However, at the human level, it is also clear the decision is causing considerable confusion and not just among the Aboriginal people of Palm Island.
There do appear to be stark differences between the findings of the Coronial Inquiry and the DPP’s decision. It is quite possible both are correct because there is a difference between the on-balance consideration of facts in one judicial forum and whether that amounts to evidence for a successful prosecution in a criminal proceeding.
Nonetheless, this strikes me as a reasonable case for a second opinion and the matter may not be resolved in the minds of concerned people unless that occurs.
Such reviews should be rare events, but there are precedents within Queensland for a second opinion of a DPP decision to be sought.
In the interim, it is important that everybody stays calm and respects the law.
We need to understand that there are innocent family members of all parties who suffer throughout these processes. Nobody’s interests are served by violence or threats.