Chris Hurley caused Mulrunji's death then lied about it, magistrate finds

By John Paul Janke.
POLICEMAN Chris Hurley caused the death of Cameron Mulrunji Doomadgee in the Palm Island police lockup then lied about it because he feared retribution, a magistrate has found at the third inquest into the controversial death in custody case. Deputy Chief Magistrate Brian Hine accepted the fatal injuries suffered by Mr Doomadgee - a burst portal vein and a liver which was cleaved in two - were caused by Senior Sergeant Chris Hurley. However he was unable to rule whether the injuries were inflicted deliberately or accidentally.

Mr Hine said the injuries could have been caused by Sen Sgt Hurley accidentally falling on top of Mr Doomadgee or by the officer ``dropping a knee into his torso''.

He also accepted Sen Sgt Hurley had punched Mr Doomadgee in the face and abused him during his attempts to force him into the police station. Hurley then dragged a "limp" Doomadgee to the cell.

There's no doubt he was dead weight at this stage, Mr Hine said. There also was no doubt Hurley fabricated evidence that he fell to Mulrunji's side when the pair scuffled.

Hurley then lied about the circumstances of Doomadgee's death to cover it up, and also out of fear of retribution from the Palm island community.

Mr Hine said that once Hurley made the lie, he was trapped.

He also said the police investigation was inappropriate, unacceptable and had its integrity compromised. He recommended the CMC be empowered and resourced to investigate death in custody cases.

The inquest was reopened last year after Queensland's Court of Appeal upheld a District Court decision to overturn the 2006 findings of deputy state coroner Christine Clements.

Mr Doomadgee died on the floor of a cell at the Palm Island watchhouse on November 19, 2004, after he was arrested for creating a public nuisance.

A Townsville jury acquitted his arresting officer, Senior Sergeant Chris Hurley, of manslaughter in 2007. The incident sparked a riot on Palm Island in which the police station and an officer's home were burnt down.

Last month counsel assisting the inquest Ralph Devlin, SC, told the court he was seeking an open finding.



And I'm sure the police officer was never threatened, hit, pushed or abused during the process. How dare a police officer force someone into the jail, I'm sure he was walking in politely.

How dare he force someone???? I don't care if he was hit, doesn't give him the right to beat someone to death. The bastard lied about what happened, his story is that Mulrunji accidentally fell as he was being moved into the police station. If you believe that "falling over" can cause 4 broken ribs, a liver that was cleaved in half and bruises on the face... you're part of the problem, there is no justice here.


From a moderator:
I have removed your personal abuse. If you wish, I will remove what I've left here.

by ray jackson, president, indigenous social justice association

this is not the result from coroner hine that we were looking and hoping for. this decision leaves everyone in legal limbo. more on this later.

i do not believe that hurley can now be charged with murder. the highest charge against hurley was one of manslaughter, and on that charge he has been acquitted by a jury. my understanding of the law is that he cannot be charged a second time with a higher and more serious charge. or a charge of the same degree.

whilst several cops and gaol officers have been charged with involvement in an aboriginal death in custody case (in wa, nt and qld) only in qld has a coroner stated that a copper needed to face a court of law. the greater majority of australia's coroners generally exonerate all cops involved in a death in custody, whether aboriginal or no.

hurley, the union and their legal advice i believe made a very bad decision in seeking the coronial decision of ms. christine clements to be erased from the records. in taking that arrogant and insulting approach to arrange a clayton's outcome that, yes, doomadgee died at the hands of hurley, whether by accident or design, but that fact must be expunged from the hurley record for all time, would have been a total travesty of justice. hurley's life record must relate the true facts of the circumstances of the doomadgee death. he caused it.

last time i posted re this matter i stated that the hurley team was looking for an 'open finding', a legal finding that finds neither guilt nor innocence. i exampled the finding by justice angel in the nt supreme court in the case of the murder of douglas bruce scott by 4 gaol officers in the nt berrimah gaol in july 1985.

i believe this to be 'coward justice'. it is used by some in the judiciary when the evidence is pretty overwhelming that homicide has been involved in by the cops, or whomever, but that decision does not find favour with their peers both within and without the judiciary. the argument is that it would not be 'in the public interest' to make that decision. so an open finding is made.

coroner hine made a 160 page decision and i would very much appreciate a copy if one was available but one can generally glean from media reports and some past knowledge as to what it contains.

it is difficult to know whether the cmc report, partly leaked, apes hine's decision or vice versa but both are very critical of the actions taken by hurley, his immediate friends and the qld police force from commissioner atkinson down. the police union is just one overly biased collection of thugs. as most of them are.

i have no idea how scathing hine was to the falsification of evidence, the manipulation of evidence, the intimidation of witnesses, among other acts taken by hurley's friends but i am of the strongest opinion that several of them must be formally charged and face a court of law for their criminal deeds over the last 5 1/2 years. they then need to be drummed out of the force and hurley with them.

not only have they breached the common law but they have also severely breached their own commissioner’s instructions and no amount of counselling or re-training will be satisfactory in answering their criminal actions. citizens of this country must recognise that we get the very high level of police corruption only because we allow them to do it. we must always strongly call for the charging of corrupt and criminal cops and their removal from the police forces of australia. i realise and argue that not all cops are bad, it is only their perfidious culture that makes many of them so.

i await the cmc report with interest, especially their recommendations.

i am unsure as to the legal moves that can be taken by the family and their excellent legal representatives. hurley has admitted in court that he was involved in the death of doomadgee but the jury found him not guilty. the coroner also recognises that hurley was involved in the death of doomadgee but makes no further charges against him other than that he is a manipulative liar. that in itself is not a hanging offence, it just proves what we always knew and that is that cops invariably lie in court. nothing new there.

hurley is reported to be a millionaire several times over and i would dearly love that fortune to go to the doomadgee family, all of it. no amount of money of course can compensate for what the doomadgee family has gone through but it would be of some small and totally inadequate way of saying sorry to those remaining members.

something that krudd must do for the stolen generations along with the 'forgotten people' from england.

the call for the cmc to do any further investigations into (initially?) police deaths in custody is at least a first step in recognising that the police of this country are just not capable of policing themselves in these matters. whether that would be satisfactory to our brothers and sisters in qld must be for them to decide. i cannot and will not do that. i would suggest to them however that should happen only as an interim first step in setting up a true independent investigative team that must include family nominated representatives with all rights and powers of the new independent team.

isja and i express our strong support to the doomadgee family and their untiring and dedicated legal team. whatever their future now we have the greatest respect to all of you. and the palm island community also.

free lex wotten. now!

there also remains the investigation of the two 'alleged' suicides of a son and a friend. when will these investigations start? and by whom?

By Jeff Waters, senior ABC correspondent

“[Hurley] had also taken the time to view video footage of Mulrunji in the watch-house cell - a video which cannot be released to the public (or the contents of which cannot even be discussed publicly) due to two strict non-publication orders issued by the two inquests. Extremely damning and crucial evidence relating to the case is suppressed by these orders, making it illegal for me to discuss that evidence here.”

Jeff Waters is Senior Correspondent for the ABC's Australia Network news service, and author of "Gone for a Song, A Death in Custody on Palm Island", published by ABC Books.

“[Hine] also said he believed some police officers had colluded to support Senior Sergeant Hurley."

How can such criminals stay in the police?

By Stephanie Miller

Also shouldn't Hurley be now charged with Perjury (lying while under Oath) and trying to Pervert the course of Justice?? Hurley is after all a cop and knows (or should know) the law.
Hurley has walked away scott free.. with no penalties on him (financial or judicial)... I still don't feel justice has been accorded to Mulrunji and his family!!

Those with more power and money are in absolute control and the justice system is not exempt from that fact. You dont need to be an adult to figure out when someone is lying to you, but remember this no power or amount of money on this earth will set Chris Hurley free from his guilty conscience. And more so now he will carry the extra burden of lying on top of the murder he committed to Murulnji. He might be physically free but he and his Police mates will forever live with the denial of truth forever and I gaurantee that if he does not come out and admit the truth and repent he will take this load beyond the grave into his next life. And thats where real justice will be delivered.

That cat is going to burn in hell for what happened to that man.