Wednesday, December 26, 2012
Australia: Qld. police still trying to justify themselves in Stafford case
As the Appeal court found, the evidence was weak and interpretable as in part a police fabrication. The case hung on a single maggot found in Stafford's car but who knows how the maggot got there? The Lucas inquiry found way back that fabrication of evidence was pervasive in the Qld. police but zip, nothing, nada was ever done about that as far as we can tell
GRAHAM Stafford could again be tried for the murder of schoolgirl Leanne Holland after the Attorney-General ordered an independent review of the evidence against him.
The dramatic announcement late yesterday came two days after the Director of Public Prosecutions said he would not bring Mr Stafford back to court - despite new evidence uncovered in a review by senior detectives.
Mr Stafford spent more than 14 years in jail after a jury found him guilty of the torture murder of the 13-year-old in 1991. But he was released after the Court of Appeal overturned his conviction.
On Tuesday, Police Commissioner Ian Stewart announced a review of the investigation had uncovered enough new evidence to send Mr Stafford back to jail.
But the Director of Public Prosecutions decided it was not in the public interest to order a new trial.
Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie has the power to retry Mr Stafford over Leanne Holland's murder in an ex-officio indictment - even after the DPP has decided to drop the case.
Yesterday, he said he had secured a former Supreme Court judge and solicitor-general to review the evidence and recommend whether it was in the public interest to try Mr Stafford again. Kenneth Mackenzie, QC, is expected to make his recommendation early next year.
"As I have the power to order the re-trial of Graham Stafford independent of the DPP, I have decided to seek independent advice on the strength of the evidence," Mr Bleijie said.
"Presenting an ex-officio indictment is an important power that has been preserved by legislation."
"Mr Mackenzie will consider whether there are reasonable prospects of obtaining a conviction should the matter proceed to retrial and if a retrial is in the public interest."
On Tuesday, Mr Stafford said he would welcome a new trial as an opportunity to clear his name.
"Because it's taken so long, in a way I've just put it out of my head and gotten on with my life - started a new job, I've made new friends, got a new relationship and (I'm) just really content with my life," Mr Stafford said.
"But obviously at the back of your mind is this and it keeps coming back and it's still not resolved."
The last time an Attorney-General initiated an ex-officio indictment was when the DPP ruled there was not enough evidence to proceed against Senior Sergeant Chris Hurley over the 2004 in-custody death of Mulrunji Doomadgee on Palm Island.
Original report here. (Via Australian Politics)
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Posted by bussorah at 6:02 PM