In the latest milestone of a twenty-nine year fight for justice for the Bowraville 3, David Shoebridge MLC today proposed a bill for an Act to amend NSW’s Crimes, Appeal and Review Act 2001 to extend an exception to the rule against double jeopardy in relation to an acquitted person where previously inadmissible evidence becomes admissible — the Crimes, Appeal and Amendment (Double Jeopardy) Bill 2019.
Between late 1990 and early 1991, three Indigenous children Evelyn Greenup, Clinton Speedy-Duroux and Colleen Walker, were murdered in Bowraville. Police initially handled their disappearances as a child protection matter and the families have suffered galling racism at the hands of investigators, including assertions that their children went ‘walkabout’. The man accused of their murders was acquitted in a separate trial for the murder of Clinton, and prosecutors dropped charges for the murder of Evelyn. After pushing for reforms to NSW double jeopardy laws, the family was devastated that applications to retry the man for the murders in a combined trial was knocked back by the NSW Court of Criminal Appeal, and leave for appeal was denied by the High Court, both on technicalities on the rules of ‘fresh’ evidence and admissability. They will not stop grieving until justice is served — and justice will be served when the law is changed.
On Macquarie Street, we all gathered outside NSW Parliament House. There were many familiar faces who have come back year after year, in demand for justice from places as far as Sawtell, Tenterfield, and Bowraville.
We filled the chambers where Mr Shoebridge credited the families, the team at Jumbunna and Larissa Behrendt, the police team lead by Gary Jubelin and the thousands of supporters around the state.
The proposed bill has now been referred to the Law and Justice Committee.
This community has continued to fight for 29 years for justice and will continue to fight to honour their families both past and present. In a moving story during the protest one of the Bowraville grandaughters said “she hopes her children don’t have to continue the fight for justice of their aunties and uncles”.