Saturday, May 22, 2010

Watchdog no longer trusts in Qld. police honesty

About time!

THE Crime and Misconduct Commission has indicated a scathing distrust of police, announcing it will now take charge of investigating all deaths in police custody.

Queensland Deputy Chief Magistrate Brian Hine was unable last week to make a definitive finding about the 2004 death of Aboriginal man Cameron Doomadgee - known in death by the name Mulrunji - due to unreliable witnesses. But he found that Mulrunji's arresting officer, Senior Sergeant Chris Hurley, punched Mulrunji several times as he lay on the floor of the Palm Island watchhouse.

He suggested that the officers who initially investigated the death had colluded with Sen-Sgt Hurley, tipping him off to an Aboriginal witness's claims about the punching. Mr Hine recommended the Crime and Misconduct Commission be the sole or primary investigator in future unnatural deaths in custody.

On Monday, the CMC wrote to the Queensland Police Service, advising it would take on the role immediately. CMC chairman Martin Moynihan announced the decision on Tuesday, saying all relevant parties had been notified of the change in responsibility. ``We are liaising with the state coroner and the QPS to develop protocols to ensure that all parties understand and respect the roles to be performed by each agency,'' Mr Moynihan said in a statement. ``Until these protocols are endorsed, interim arrangements for the investigation of deaths in police custody have been established.''

Meanwhile, Police Minister Neil Roberts said he and Police Commissioner Bob Atkinson were concerned about the findings regarding police collusion. ``These issues will of course require careful analysis to determine what future action is required,'' he told parliament on Tuesday.

Mulrunji died at the Palm Island Watchhouse on November 19, 2004, after struggling against Sen-Sgt Hurley following his arrest for drunkenness. A CMC report into his death is expected to be released in coming weeks.



warramunga said...

Good grief. How many trials and inquests does this top cop have to under go? For goodness sake. give him a fair go.
This officer did what he was supposed to do.
Protect other citizens.
Well done Chris Hurley.

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