The NSW Parliamentary Committee investigating the legal obstacles in the Bowraville Murders has today presented a report referring a new model to reform Double Jeopardy laws to the Attorney General.
The model, proposed by Jumbunna Institute for Indigenous Education and Research, follows the UK model of double jeopardy laws. These reforms would provide a crucial second chance for the Bowraville families. The Committee concluded that they would not fundamentally alter the laws in NSW and, despite opposition from the legal community, would not lead to a flood of applications.
Greens MP and Justice Spokesperson David Shoebridge said:
"This is the start of a new stage in the struggle for justice for the Bowraville families, with the ball firmly back in the Attorney General's court.
"The report has referred a model for reform to the Attorney General, and I am asking him to respond as rapidly as possible to provide an answer to the families.
"The inquiry received evidence that there may be a number of cases, beside Bowraville, that may be impacted by the proposed changes. Many of these relate to historic child sexual abuse where the laws of evidence have changed significantly in the past decades.
"If the NSW Government does not present a reform Bill then I will be seeking to amend my current Bill to adopt Jumbunna's proposed model.
"It has been three decades since the deaths of these children in Bowraville and the time for justice is fast running out.
"The Bowraville families, and their communities, have come to this Parliament asking for fair law reform to enable them to get justice for their loved ones. They deserve this.
"It is clear that the families will continue to fight for justice, it is time that those inside this Parliament did the same," Mr Shoebridge said.
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Download a copy of the report here.