RELATIVES of three Bowraville children murdered or missing 20 years ago believe the system has once again failed them, but they have no intention of giving up.
On Friday the NSW Attorney-General John Hatzistergos decided not to use new double jeopardy laws to permit a retrial of the chief suspect in the murders.
The families want to have all three murders examined together in a new trial.
Mr Hatzistergos said the Crown Advocate, the Director of Public Prosecutions and the Solicitor General had all considered the matter and had formed the view that there was no reasonable prospect of success.
“I can’t bring myself to read the letter to our solicitors fully, it makes me too angry,” said Leonie Duroux, the sister-in-law of one of the murdered children, Clinton Speedy-Duroux.
“We are still digesting it, but it’s not over yet – as far as we are concerned we are going to continue.”
Teenagers Colleen Walker and Clinton Speedy-Duroux and toddler Evelyn Greenup all disappeared from the Mission at Bowraville within five months in 1990 and 1991.
The bodies of Clinton Speedy-Duroux and Evelyn Greenup were later found in the bush near Bowraville and Colleen Walker’s clothing was found weighted down with rocks in the Nambucca River.
The same man was accused and later acquitted of the murders of Clinton Speedy-Duroux and Evelyn Greenup during separate trials. A coroner’s inquest in 2004 found that Colleen Walker was likely to have been murdered and linked all three killings,
Double jeopardy says that the same person cannot be tried twice for the same crime, but relatives of the thee children pushed for changes to the law.
The 2006 change to the law of double jeopardy in NSW allows a new trial of an acquitted person for the same crime only if there is ‘fresh and compelling’ evidence.
In 2007, despite what police said was a compelling case based on fresh evidence, the Director of Public Prosecutions ruled the man would not be re-tried.
The family decided to apply to the Attorney-General, hoping he would use different legislation and send the matter to the Court of Criminal Appeal.
That hope has now been dashed.
A member of the team helping the Bowraville families with their campaign said their only hope now was a new Attorney-General after the March 2011 State election who could decide to take the matter up.
“The families are very angry and upset”, she said