As the families of the three Aboriginal children murdered in Bowraville gather themselves to continue their 28-year fight for justice, NSW Greens MP David Shoebridge is seeking to do the same on the floor of the NSW Parliament.
“Last week’s judgement rejecting the request for a retrial was a deeply emotional time for the families,” Mr Shoebridge said.
“Having waited nine months for what they believed would finally be a thorough review of the evidence, the case was once again rejected on a technicality … it was a legal judgement, not a judgement of whether the evidence was compelling.
“They didn’t want tears – they wanted justice.”
Speaking to this reporter on Monday, Mr Shoebridge said once again the judgement centred around whether the evidence was ‘fresh’ … which under NSW law means it must be evidence that was not available at the time of the previous trials.
“In NSW if evidence was available to prosecutors, even if it was not admitted into the trial, it is not considered ‘fresh’.
“I tried to fix this in parliament in 2015/2016 but our efforts were rejected … and I believe this contributed to this latest rejection.”
Mr Shoebridge said he had revived his 2015 Bill with some modifications, including a limited opportunity for a second double jeopardy application.
“I am hoping to give notice of the bill tomorrow (Tuesday) and then give its first reading on Thursday. From there I will work with whoever is willing … there are a lot of people in government who want to fix this because they recognise the ramifications of the error two years ago.
“While I am hopeful ... there is only one way this can go right and lots of ways it can go wrong. The families have already waited 28 years, so this really needs to be done properly.”
Meanwhile NSW Attorney-General Mark Speakman said he would seek legal advice about the prospects of applying for leave to refer the case to the High Court.
"This may not be the end of what has been a hard, devastating, distressing road for the Bowraville families and I'll be urgently considering what remedies are available either legislatively or in court in the coming days," he told reporters.