The only man ever accused – but never convicted – of the murders of three Aboriginal children on the NSW mid-north coast over two decades ago will appear on national television this weekend, as the families continue their campaign to get him before court.
Channel Nine’s 60 minutes program will air a “major investigation” into the Bowraville murders this Sunday, following on from a parliamentary inquiry report tabled in state Parliament last November.
During a six month period from late 1990 to early 1991, three Aboriginal children – Colleen Walker, 16, Evelyn Greenup, 4, and Clinton Speedy Duroux, 16 – went missing from the same stretch of road on Bowraville mission.
There has only ever been one person accused of the crimes – a non-Indigenous man who hung around the mission at the time. Thanks to a bungled police investigation, spurred by a racism that has even been acknowledged by detectives who headed a major review of the case, the man has never been convicted.
It will be the second time the accused killer – previously known as Jay Hart – has been interviewed on television. He has a new name and is living in Newcastle, a few hours drive from Bowraville.
Two years ago Channel Seven’s Today Tonight program confronted Hart in a Newcastle car park, the first time he had been interviewed on television. Hart denied any involvement in the crimes.
He claimed police had the evidence that cleared him to begin with, a theory police have denied. He also refused to comment when asked if he had any suspicions about who was behind the murders.
In a promo for 60 Minutes currently airing on television, Hart is again shown being confronted by a journalist on the street, and this time he’s asked if he’s a serial killer.
Hart was acquitted of the murder of Clinton Speedy Duroux, but the jury was never allowed to hear key circumstantial evidence that linked all three murders – it was ruled inadmissible. The families have always maintained the best outcome would be if the three trials were linked, as was done in the case of Ivan Milat and the murders of seven backpackers.
After Hart was acquitted of Clinton’s murder, the families campaigned to have the double jeopardy laws overturned, winning an historic Australian (and possibly world) first. But their applications to send the case, with new “fresh and compelling evidence” back to the Court of Criminal Appeal have been knocked back by two Attorney Generals.
After former Attorney General Greg Smith rejected back the families’ application, citing a legal technicality, Greens MLA David Shoebridge called for a parliamentary inquiry, and was successful.
The result was an emotional day in the NSW Legislative Council last year, where all members across the political spectrum called for justice for the Bowraville families, and recommended the NSW Crimes Act be amended to remove the artificial legal barrier preventing the families from returning to the Court of Criminal Appeal.
More than four months on, in the midst of an election, there was no word from the Liberals or Labor about whether these recommendations would be acted upon.
In response, Shoebridge has produced a draft bill clarifying the definition of ‘adduced’, which has held up the application previously. Public submissions can still be made on the bill. Click here for more information.
60 Minutes will air their story on Sunday on Channel 9, at 8.30pm.
— 60 Minutes Australia (@60Mins) March 31, 2015
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