Mulrunji Death and Two Suicides

[Aboriginal News]
from Ray Jackson

Most of the facts of the death of Mulrunji Doomadgee are known. We all know that Hurley was responsible for Mulrunji’s death. Whether accidental or otherwise is a moot point, the unarguable facts are that Mulrunji died and Hurley caused it.

There are however two unknowns and it seems the legal system, the police and the coroner, have no interest in investigating the two alleged suicides that occurred on palm island.

The alleged suicide of Eric is especially poignant and pointless. it must have been obvious that Eric needed deep counselling on the death of his father some 18 months earlier. What assistance, if any, was offered by the health system on palm island, or any of the other bodies capable of giving assistance to the traumatised family members. Eric had lost not only his father but also his grandmother over a matter of weeks.

We may never really know what pushed Eric to do that he is alleged to have done. Did the police have a role in his death? Did they taunt him in any way? Did the behaviour of the police in denigrating his father, his family and his community prior to the restarting of the inquest under a/state coroner Christine Clements have any causal effect upon Eric?

We may never know but it seems the legal system is not interested in answering any of the questions still haunting the family, the community and their supporters.

The death of Patrick is more problematic still. It has been stated by witnesses that he was seen with a police officer, a friend of Hurley, and was driven somewhere on the island. The police officer was later seen alone.

The whereabouts of Patrick was unknown until he was found hanging from a tree. With no great surprise we find that there has been no interest in investigating this death either.

It is stated that this officer had told Patrick on previous occasions that ‘if his mate Hurley went down, then he (Patrick) would be in trouble.’ Patrick was to give evidence in the upcoming inquest.

Was Patrick coerced and threatened to take his own life? The practice is not as uncommon as some would believe.

Perhaps the questions above, and many more, are within the CMC report that still has not been released but is thought to contain ‘scathing’ answers to the police actions on Palm Island. We can only hope that some of those answers as raised above will be amongst them.

Why do I doubt it.

I have been advised by Sam Watson that still another death in custody has happened in a Brisbane gaol. More details later.


3 thoughts on “Mulrunji Death and Two Suicides

  1. Monique Bond says:

    Mulrunji Second Inquest – Day 1

    These are my impressions from talking with various community members and sitting, listening and watching, in the Court room – I cannot always catch what is said. The Coroner has quite a soft voice, the lawyers are facing away from the public area and the two witnesses are quite softly spoken so it is easy to miss some words. …

    Mulrunji Second Inquest – Day 2

    A key point which was returned to frequently was how Roy could have seen Hurley hitting Mulrunji when they were hidden by a filing cabinet. Roy said there was a mirror on the wall which was angled to show the corridor in which Mulrunji and Hurley were. When shown a photo of the room, with no mirror, Roy insisted that it had been there on the morning of the 19th…

    As well as appearing confused as to which statement contained what, Roy [Bramwell] also seemed to have different levels of trust in the interviewers, all of whom were police officers except lawyer Frank Shepherd, and all of whom were white. This lead to Roy withholding some levels of information. In particular, he did not include all the evidence about the mirror and seeing ‘kicking’, nor that Mulrunji seemed unconscious when dragged into the cell…

    Mr Zillman [for Hurley] challenged Roy’s statement that he could not read. My impression was that Mr Zillman and Roy’s ideas of being able to read were miles apart…

    Mulrunji Second Inquest – Day 3

    He also asked Steadman [police witness to death of Mulrunji] whether he had willingly cooperated with Mr Zillman and Mr Mulholland [both for Hurley] when they were preparing for Hurley’s defence. Steadman agreed that he had cooperated willingly with Hurley’s defence lawyers but had only cooperated with the Prosecuting team [in Hurley’s manslaughter trial] when the Commissioner had ordered all police officers to do so.

    Mulrunji Second Inquest – Day 4

    [Sgt Leafe in the witness box]
    Mr Davis [for the Attorney General] actually suggested that Leafe’s belief in Hurley’s innocence could have lead him to want to subvert the Crown’s case. Leafe denied it.
    I am fairly sure that I heard this correctly. It was extraordinary. It made me wonder how to keep an organisation honest and true to its mission if its members put loyalty to fellow-members as a top priority.

    Read More…

  2. Jeff Waters: Evidence supressed says:

    Mulrunji’s family and the wider Indigenous community will be waiting
    for a very long time before anyone is held to account for his death.
    (AAP: Tony Phillips)

    Some have called it the “Mulrunji Affair”. It’s been an irritant for
    the Queensland Police and that state’s government since 2004, and it’s
    not going away.

    The inquest into the death in custody on Palm Island has resumed this
    week. The court has been ordered to finally resolve the mysterious
    cause of death of the young and drunken man known as Mulrunji, almost
    six years down the track.

    “I recommend Jeff Waters piece about the evidence which is being surpressed and kept secret from the public – follow this link to Monday’s story.”

    — Monique Bond Qld President of ANTaR

    The Mulrunji Affair: secrecy and suppression
    by ABC’s Jeff Waters

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