Sunday, January 3, 2010

Coverup for crooked Queensland cops: No review after innocent man served four years for robbery

Queensland is the only State that has had to put a chief of police in jail

THE State Government has abandoned a review into the wrongful conviction and jailing of a north Queensland man for armed robbery. Terry Irving served more than half of an eight-year sentence for a hold-up at a Cairns bank in 1993. Then 39, the concreter protested his innocence, claiming a case of mistaken identity and a suspect investigation. The High Court quashed the conviction in 1997, saying it had "grave misgivings about the circumstances of this case", and cited concerns about the police evidence. Documents obtained by Mr Irving's legal team under Freedom of Information legislation revealed 19 instances where evidence had been falsified or withheld.

Mr Irving was hoping for a full inquiry, apology or compensation, which could have topped $1 million. But any favourable outcome was knocked on the head last week when Attorney-General Cameron Dick reneged on a previous government deal. Former Attorney-General Kerry Shine agreed in September 2007 to an independent review. He said he was impressed by evidence Mr Irving had presented to him at a Community Cabinet meeting in Bowen in June 2007.

In February 2008, Mr Shine appointed retired Supreme Court judge Martin Moynihan to review the case. But Mr Moynihan was then given another government assignment: a review of the criminal justice system. That task was completed by January 2009 and Mr Moynihan was expected to finish the Irving review by July. Then last month Mr Moynihan was appointed to replace Robert Needham as chairman of the Crime and Misconduct Commission for the next two years.

Mr Dick told Mr Irving's legal aid lawyer, Michael O'Keeffe, last week the Government had decided to abandon the judicial review. Mr Dick rejected a plea for an ex gratia payment and said Mr Irving would have to sue the Government if he wanted compensation. Mr Dick claimed that Mr Moynihan was not appointed to review the case and a review was never established. That is in direct contrast to comments made by Mr Shine to The Sunday Mail last year.

"The best way for Mr Irving to test evidence and call witnesses is for him to pursue the civil proceedings against the state that he started 10 years ago," Mr Dick said.

Mr O'Keeffe slammed the decision. "The appointment of a judicial review was a most serious matter and was taken by Kerry Shine only after the closest personal scrutiny of the actual evidence in Irving's case by Mr Shine himself. It was not done lightly at all," he said. "The abandonment of that review by Mr Dick without reasons and in such a cavalier, almost throwaway, manner must be deeply disturbing for most right-minded Queenslanders."

Mr Irving said he would still seek restitution for the almost five years he spent in prison after being wrongly convicted.


1 comment:

kris said...

What they have done to TERRY IRVING should never have happened. My dad deserved fair treatment and had a right to legal aid which he did not recieve until the last possible momment. Mr DICK and the other plastic souls, who recieved promotions for keeping their mouths closed, i hope a day comes wen ur heart returns and u share just some of the pain you have cause and continue to do.