by Jessica Cox
One word. This was all that stood between the families from Bowraville and finally receiving justice for their children after almost 30 years of fighting.
On the cloudy morning of Friday 22nd March, at 9:30am the hearing for the application of retrial for the Bowraville murders commenced. The energy in the room was hopeful. Hopeful that this time the outcome would be in favour of the families of the three Indigenous children who were murdered in Bowraville between late 1990 and early 1991, and their children would finally receive justice for the terrible crime committed against them.
The room, packed full of people, there to witness this potentially momentous occasion, listened as the barristers for both sides made their case. After which the judges presiding over the appeal made the decision to adjourn. Following their departure, the room felt tense. The decision felt so close and yet so far.
The three judges adjourned for a short period before coming back to give the final decision. Within minutes of returning, the judges announced that the appeal had been refused. A wave of defeat spread across the room. The silence that filled the room was telling. For the families, the justice system had failed their children again. Once outside the public gallery upstairs, it was said that as some family members were putting on ochre, a staff member made a comment about them spilling some on the floor.
Outside the court, the family stamped ochre handprints on the windows of the court and shouting for the justice of their children. The riot squad was also called once the families came outside from the court, for a ‘ruckus.’ Though once they arrived, they soon realised there was no reason for the call to have been made.
Politicians that have supported the families in their bid for justice have said they will stand by the families, and that possibly the next step is to try and change the legislation. The battle for justice seems like a mountain for these families, but it is a climb they are willing to take to make sure their children can finally have the justice they deserve after the terrible crimes committed against them.
Despite the unfortunate outcome, the families are adamant; they are still going to fight until justice is served for their three children; Colleen Walker, Evelyn Greenup, and Clinton Speedy-Duroux.