The family of a baby who was horrifically murdered seven years ago is seeking a meeting with WA Premier Mark McGowan, and a fresh inquiry into police actions leading up to his death.
Yamatji woman Kathleen Pinkerton said Attorney General John Quigley had rejected a number of requests for meetings about the family’s unsuccessful call for a coronial inquiry, and pleas for a fresh inquiry.
“He's pretty much decided that there won't be an inquiry, and there's no reason for him to meet with the family and hear our concerns and listen to us at all,” Ms Pinkerton told NITV.
“It's pretty disrespectful. We're going to keep fighting because we want this inquiry, we want it to be looked at completely.
“We've lost our baby, but we don't want it to happen to any other families.
“We don't want any other Aboriginal families to be treated like we were by the Western Australian police.
“And unless the inquiry happens, and the whole facts are put out and somebody is held accountable, it may happen again.”
'Failures' in police response
Ms Pinkerton’s grand-nephew Charlie Mullaley was taken after his mother was arrested in Broome in 2013, despite being the victim of a violent domestic attack. The baby eventually ended up with her abuser, who was later jailed over his murder and sexual assault.
The family’s story was recently featured in SBS’s See What You Made Me Do documentary series, and since then, a petition calling on the WA Government to launch a fresh inquiry has attracted almost 30,000 signatures.
WA’s Corruption and Crime Commission five years ago found there were failings in the police response to the violent domestic incident, but Ms Pinkerton says it failed to focus on whether police should have done more to ensure the baby was safe.
The Coroner rejected the family’s request for an inquest, and last year the WA Supreme Court denied the family’s appeal and ruled in favour of that earlier decision.
It found the inquest was not mandated under current laws, and no new information was contained in the submissions.
Ms Pinkerton said if Mr Quigley didn’t have the power to launch a Coronial investigation, he should establish a parliamentary inquiry instead.
Family call for meeting
She called on Premier Mark McGowan to meet the family and hear their concerns.
“We want to meet with Mr McGowan, and ask him if he thinks there's any merit in looking into this case, and having the people of Western Australia given the whole facts of what the Broome Police Station did,” Ms Pinkerton said.
“He was a beautiful happy baby. He was extremely reactive to people he loved and enjoyed people.
“He was healthy and engaging in learning, and his eyes were looking around to take in the whole world, and for the lack of the police, he never got to experience life, he never got to grow up.
“We have to remember Charlie boy and we have to keep fighting to get justice for him.”
The Attorney General was open to meeting the family, although he didn’t want to offer false hope, a spokeswoman said.
She said the Minister he had received advice from the solicitor general that he didn’t have the power to direct the Coroner to reverse her decision not to hold an inquest.
'Does not want to give them false hope'
“The Attorney General wanted the family to be aware of this so he wrote to them explaining the advice,” the spokeswoman said in a statement.
“The Attorney General has extended his condolences to the family and would be open to meeting them but he does not want to give them false hope that he can agree to their request, as that would require him to ignore the advice of the government’s most senior legal adviser.
“The Attorney General notes that there has been a Corruption and Crime Commission report and a criminal case in the Supreme Court relating to this tragic case.”
The Premier’s office referred inquiries to the Attorney General’s office.
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