Saturday 22nd of January 2022

it's just plain murder .....

poor fellow my country .....

from Crikey .....

 Mulrunji inquest reopens ... to tell us what we don't know

 National Indigenous Times editor Chris Graham writes:

Any hopes that the community of Palm Island might have finally moved on from the 2004 death in custody of Mulrunji Doomadgee was dashed this morning after the Queensland Court of Appeal ruled that the 2006 findings of Queensland Acting State Coroner Christine Clements be set aside, and that the inquest into Mulrunji's death be reopened.

It sets the stage for yet another gut-wrenching chapter in a tragedy that has churned on for almost five years.

The full bench of the Court of Appeal, a division of the Queensland Supreme Court, ruled that: "The whole of the finding of the Coroner as to how the deceased died ... is set aside.

"The inquest is to be reopened. The State Coroner is directed to appoint another Coroner, other than the Coroner below (Christine Clements) to re-examine the finding ..."

The dispute is centred on the October 2006 finding by Coroner Clements that the Officer-in-charge of the Palm Island Police Station, Senior Sergeant Chris Hurley, had repeatedly punched Mulrunji while he was lying on the floor of the police station, and that those punches caused fatal injuries to the victim.

Lawyers for Hurley successfully argued that it was not open to the coroner on the evidence provided at the inquest to determine that the punches caused the death.

"Undisputed medical evidence" provided to the inquest suggested that "severe compressive force" was needed to cause the fatal injuries, and that Hurley -- despite his 200cm frame -- could not have applied that sort of force merely from punching the victim.

For his part, Hurley has always maintained he never even did that much.

Right up until his trial for manslaughter, Hurley claimed that not only did he not repeatedly punch Mulrunji, but that the drunken Aboriginal man had simply tripped up a single step into the police station, and fallen onto a flat floor.

Hurley claimed that he had fallen beside him.

Of course, no-one has been able to explain to Palm Islanders how that might have caused an otherwise healthy 36-year-old man to sustain the sorts of injuries you'd expect to see in a plane crash victim.

For Hurley, the issue is fundamentally about culpability if Coroner Clements' findings stand, then he's culpable for causing Mulrunji's death while repeatedly punching him. But if the findings are that the death was caused by Hurley "accidentally" landing on Mulrunji as they both fell, culpability disappears.

Waiting in the wings, is a civil action against Hurley by the Doomadgee family. It will hinge on the ultimate findings of the inquest.

Queensland Police, and in particular the Queensland Police Union, will no doubt try and use this latest legal manoeuvre to strengthen their repeated claims that Snr Sgt Hurley is an innocent man caught out doing a difficult job in trying circumstances.

But it's no victory for Hurley, particularly when you note what's not being disputed here.

What's not being contested is that Mulrunji Doomadgee, a man with no prior history with Palm island police, had simply chipped a black police liaison officer for assisting in the arrest of an Aboriginal person. He was warned to move on, and did so, but for reasons known only to Hurley, he decided to go and arrest Mulrunji anyway.

Within an hour Mulrunji was dead.

What's not being contested is that the injuries inflicted on the deceased were staggering -- Mulrunji's liver was "almost cleaved in two", his spleen had been ruptured, his portal vein was torn, four of his ribs were broken, and he suffered a number of abrasions to his scalp.

What's not being contested is that while Mulrunji lay dying in the watch house, writhing and screaming in pain, no-one came to his aide. He died on the floor of a police cell while another Aboriginal man (who has since taken his own life) tried to comfort and console him as he bled to death from massive internal injuries.

What's not being contested is that Hurley didn't even have the courage to tell the family their husband, father, son was deceased -- when they arrived at the police station later in the day to visit, he told them Mulrunji was sleeping, and to come back later.

What's not being contested is that three days before the resumption of the inquest in 2006, Mulrunji's son Eric hung himself from a tree on Palm Island.

What's not being contested is that Queensland Police conducted a woeful police investigation into the death; that Hurley drank beers with investigating police (including an officer from the Ethical Standards Command, there to ensure everything was "above board") only a few hours after the death; that police neglected to mention to the pathologist conducting the autopsy that there was an allegation of assault of Mulrunji by Hurley from an Aboriginal witness in the watch house at the time; that Hurley had run over an Aboriginal woman in a police vehicle six months earlier; that the only people ever punished after the death in custody have been Aboriginal people, with dozens jailed over the uprising that followed Mulrunji's death.

What's not being contested is that numerous Aboriginal people were tasered during the arrests following the uprising, while police including at least one of those accused of engaging in a cover-up of the death were awarded bravery medals for their service on Palm during the uprising. The extent of their injuries was a bruised hip.

What's not being contested is that Chris Hurley successfully obtained a $100,000 ex-gratia payment from Queensland Police to compensate him for his losses in the uprising.

What's not being contested is that he was also allowed to take leave with full pay for months while awaiting trial for manslaughter (he was acquitted). He has since been moved to the Gold Coast and the last I heard was serving as an Acting Inspector (a promotion in rank).

And ultimately, of course, what's not being contested is that Chris Hurley killed Mulrunji.

What we all want to know is how he did it.

whilst elsewhere in mississippi .....

On a hot Saturday night, just over a year ago, Laverton police arrested Mr Ward for driving under the influence of alcohol. Less than 24 hours later he was dead. He had been transported 400 kilometres in the back of a prison van operated by a private security firm. The air temperature inside his cell was over 47 degrees, and the metal surface reached 56 degrees.

"My goodness sake, one can only feel such horror at slowly being cooked." Dennis Eggington, Aboriginal Legal Service of WA

Four Corners examines the events that led to Mr Ward's detention and subsequent death. The Western Australia Coroner hands down his findings on Friday 12th June.

http://www.abc.net.au/4corners/content/2009/s2595622.htm

Murdered because of Money...



Is it realy true that money makes the world go round?money in my words is evil, people are forced out of their homes, murdered, conned and cheated because of money so why do we have it???I know in a way we need it otherwise everyone would be spoilt because you could have anything you want and we couldnt all be equal because some people deserve less because they dont work for their money so i suppose money was the only solution but how could one small thing cause so many big problems?? Some say it is the love of money that is the root of all evil.  Others say that the only people who believe that, are the ones who don't have any money.  Regardless, it seems so much more important during a recession. More people are getting payday loans yet donations to foundations and charitable contributions have increased from some people.  (Some no doubt in order to get a tax break, but hey – every little bit counts.)  How do you feel about payday loans and money?







indigenous times .....

from Crikey .....

We jail black men five times more than apartheid South Africa

Editor of The National Indigenous Times Chris Graham writes:

Last week, the federal government helped launch a paper entitled Bridges and Barriers: Addressing Indigenous Incarceration and Health . It was prepared by the National Indigenous Drug and Alcohol Committee (NIDAC) and calls for new efforts to improve Indigenous health, and thereby reduce Indigenous incarceration.

The report had some startling findings, and in the context of the ongoing Mulrunji Doomadgee outrage, and the horrendous death in custody in Western Australia of Mr Ward -- a respected young Aboriginal leader who was cooked in the back of a prison van during a four hour trip through the Central Desert -- I had expected media to get at least half as 'excited' about the issue as they do when reports emerge of Aboriginal children being sexually abused.

How naïve. Perhaps it's because 'black on black violence' is more palatable to the Australian public. Or maybe it's just because our media (and by inference the Australian public) gets its rocks off on child sexual abuse. Whatever the reason, black men and women being jailed at astronomical rates apparently doesn't pique our interest.

The story got a sparing run across the nation, and was restricted in most cases to a breaking news story on websites, courtesy of an AAP yarn.

It included some startling statistics like "One in four prisoners in Australia is Indigenous and their over-representation in the jail system is only getting worse." One in four is no mean feat given that in the general population, Indigenous Australians make up one in 25.

And there was this: "The situation is worst in the Northern Territory, where 83 per cent of the prison population is Indigenous ." That's 83 per cent in a jurisdiction where Aboriginal people constitute less than 30 per cent of the total population.

"In Western Australia, the figure is 41 per cent. Victoria has the lowest proportion of Aboriginal prisoners -- 6 per cent of that state's inmates are black."

All pretty alarming stuff, but not enough to really capture our attention. So I thought I should try and 'sex' it all up a little bit. All I can do is put the figures in some sort of context that might resonate a little better.... Which of course required me to read more than the government press release hand out.

In the first half of 2008, there were 8,411 Indigenous people enrolled in tertiary education. At the same time, there were 6,605 Indigenous people in prison.

By comparison, for the same period there were about 696,279 non-Indigenous Australians enrolled in tertiary education, while there were 20,072 non-Indigenous Australians in prison.

You can do the math ... or I can do it for you. If you applied the same principle to white Australia - ie. the number of people in jail is only about 22 percent lower than the number at university - our total prison population would expand to over 546,000 people. That's a population larger than Newcastle, Australia's seventh largest city.

Nowhere else on earth would you see figures where the Indigenous population in jail almost matches the Indigenous population in university. Indeed, Australia's Indigenous jailing rate is the highest on earth. But that's not the most startling 'figure in context'. This one is:

The jailing rate of black males in South Africa at the end of the Apartheid era (1993) was 851 per 100,000 population. In Australia today, we jail black males at a national rate of 4,364 per 100,000.

That's over five times higher.

In the Northern Territory, the rate is almost six times higher. In fact, no state or territory of Australia -- not even the ACT -- jails black males at a rate less than South Africa under apartheid. The closest is Tasmania, at 1,169 per 100,000 population.

So Australia's 'best performer' is still almost 30 percent worse than the regime considered the most racist on earth.

Our worst performer -- Western Australia -- jails black males at more than eight times the rate of South Africa during Apartheid.

The facts are finally all together but not that post

In response to It's just plain murder:

"Right up until his trial for manslaughter"

No way! He said that at the Coronial enquiry years before. Read the Coroner's report.

"But it's no victory for Hurley, particularly when you note what's not being disputed here."

"What's not being contested is that Mulrunji Doomadgee, a man with no prior history with Palm island police, had simply chipped a black police liaison officer for assisting in the arrest of an Aboriginal person. He was warned to move on, and did so, but for reasons known only to Hurley, he decided to go and arrest Mulrunji anyway."

The Coroner found that he turned around and swore at police after that and he had an extremely elevated blood alcohol concentration if that helps.

"he suffered a number of abrasions to his scalp"

Is an eyebrow a scalp? I am not so sure but couldn't be bothered googling.

"What's not being contested is that while Mulrunji lay dying in the watch house, writhing and screaming in pain, no-one came to his aide."

Didn't the Coroner say in her report that Hurley investigated when he yelled out in a definitely audible way? He found a prisoner who had put up quite a healthy struggle with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.292 apparently peacefully asleep after yelling out. What would you think? The Coroner was critical that Mulrunji was left to die but she believed that Hurley had punched him to death. In that context it made sense. If he had punched Mulrunji to death it would be cold blooded. Now we know better it doesn't make so much sense to be critical.

"What's not being contested is that Hurley didn't even have the courage to tell the family their husband, father, son was deceased -- when they arrived at the police station later in the day to visit, he told them Mulrunji was sleeping, and to come back later."

tick

"What's not being contested is that three days before the resumption of the inquest in 2006, Mulrunji's son Eric hung himself from a tree on Palm Island."

tick He though his dad had been murdered by Hurley. Tragedy upon tragedy. If only he had stuck with it longer he could have informed himself better. The $7 million investigation and prosecution didn't leave any stone unturned.

"What's not being contested is that Queensland Police conducted a woeful police investigation into the death; that Hurley drank beers with investigating police (including an officer from the Ethical Standards Command, there to ensure everything was "above board") only a few hours after the death; that police neglected to mention to the pathologist conducting the autopsy that there was an allegation of assault of Mulrunji by Hurley from an Aboriginal witness in the watch house at the time; that Hurley had run over an Aboriginal woman in a police vehicle six months earlier; that the only people ever punished after the death in custody have been Aboriginal people, with dozens jailed over the uprising that followed Mulrunji's death."

Umm didn't Queensland Police quickly remove those people from the investigation and no other issues have been raised with their investigation. Why woeful? The behaviour of those police was woeful but not the investigation. Wasn't there a second autopsy for that reason? Didn't investigators describe the running over as fanciful or fictitious and didn't the Magistrate find him not guilty and didn't the CMC also investigate and not prosecute but you call it not contested? Considering something so thoroughly proved false uncontested is pretty extreme don't you reckon?

"What's not being contested is that numerous Aboriginal people were tasered during the arrests following the uprising, while police including at least one of those accused of engaging in a cover-up of the death were awarded bravery medals for their service on Palm during the uprising. The extent of their injuries was a bruised hip."

Dunno. If "accused of cover up" means the police who were supposed to be investigating Hurley but visited him at his house socially then they should get a conviction not a medal.

"What's not being contested is that Chris Hurley successfully obtained a $100,000 ex-gratia payment from Queensland Police to compensate him for his losses in the uprising."

tick His house got burned down didn't it?

"What's not being contested is that he was also allowed to take leave with full pay for months while awaiting trial for manslaughter (he was acquitted). He has since been moved to the Gold Coast and the last I heard was serving as an Acting Inspector (a promotion in rank)."

tick In the context where he was awaiting trial for manslaughter after the DPP found there wasn't enough evidence to charge him. The only person in a democracy to be treated in a particular way by the justice system. Is that fair or democratic?

"And ultimately, of course, what's not being contested is that Chris Hurley killed Mulrunji."

Wasn't he found not guilty?

"What we all want to know is how he did it."

If he did do it he must have done a good job. He didn't use a bullet, a knife, punches, kicks or a knee drop. Have you considered the reason it is impossible to argue that he was guilty might be that he didn't do it and it must have happened by accident?

I found a list of real uncontested facts that don't include "what is not being contested" myths.

http://happyantipodean.blogspot.com/

see the September 7 post

the heat of justice...

As the airport weather gauge in the Pilbara town of Roebourne hit the record for the second hottest day in Australian history on Thursday, with the mercury hitting 50.5 degrees, inmates in the country’s hottest prison just down the road were sweltering in tiny cells with no airconditioning.

A lack of action by the West Australian government around installing airconditioning for cells, despite desperate pleas by the independent prison watchdog for nearly two decades to resolve the problem, is ‘racial discrimination’, according to the Aboriginal Legal Service WA.

ALS WA legal services acting director Alice Barter said the conditions in the medium-security prison, which houses both men and women, would not be tolerated if the majority of people in the facility were not Aboriginal.

Ms Barter pointed to the Department of Justice’s response to a recommendation in the 2020 Office of the Inspector of Custodial Services report on the facility, as evidence of a discrimination.

 

The department detailed how one of its heat mitigation controls was to “retain prisoners at Roebourne who are from and are acclimatised to the local conditions of the region” while “prisoners not from the region are prioritised for transfer”.

 

Ms Barter said the department’s response was discriminatory.

“The department has said prisoners in the region are acclimatised to the conditions,” she said.

“We are saying they are accepting a lower standard for Aboriginal prisoners and that is not acceptable ... and therefore racially discriminatory.

 

Read more:

https://www.smh.com.au/national/western-australia/refusal-to-put-airconditioning-in-pilbara-prison-where-temperature-hit-50-5c-is-racist-als-20220113-p59o5i.html

 

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