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.