Gene Gibson is to be set free after he was wrongly convicted of killing another man in 2010.
12 Apr 2017 - 12:22 PM  UPDATED 12 Apr 2017 - 4:09 PM

The mother of murder victim Josh Warneke has described seeing Aboriginal man Gene Gibson walk free after almost five years behind bars for the crime as "one of the most profound moments" of her life.

Mr Gibson, who is from the remote desert community of Kiwirrkurra and is cognitively impaired, had been serving seven-and-a-half years' jail after pleading guilty to manslaughter for fatally striking the 21-year-old from behind as he walked home from a night out in Broome in 2010.

After Mr Gibson's acquittal on Wednesday due to a miscarriage of justice, Mr Warneke's mother Ingrid Bishop wished him the best.

"Josh and Gene have never met but their lives are now intertwined."

"It's been a long haul for everyone involved and to see him walk free is one of the most profound moments of my life," Ms Bishop said in a statement.

"I wish Gene, Alamay and his family all the very best as they start the next stage of their lives, and wish them strength and courage as they begin to heal and rebuild."

Ms Bishop, who has publicly supported Mr Gibson, said the appeal process had highlighted the "numerous deficiencies and incompetence" in how the Aboriginal Legal Service managed his case.

"The very agency tasked with protecting and supporting Gene failed, and failed dismally, and has taken the process of justice back 50 years for Aboriginal Australians," she said.

Mr Gibson's lawyer Michael Lundberg said it was hoped Ms Bishop would one day obtain the justice she and her family deserved.

Mr Gibson's conviction was appealed on the basis he suffered a miscarriage of justice because he did not have the cognitive ability or language skills to understand what was happening during the legal process.

He told the WA Court of Appeal last week he gave a false confession because his counsel Dominic Brunello said he'd get a longer jail term if he pleaded not guilty, which the lawyer denied saying.

The court made the unanimous decision on Wednesday to quash the conviction and Mr Lundberg told reporters the 25-year-old was "very happy" with his acquittal.

Mr Lundberg also noted reviews by the Corruption and Crime Commission and WA Police's internal affairs unit, which he said focused the spotlight on Mr Gibson's case and provided the catalyst for the appeal.

But he said there were no winners because Mr Warneke had lost his life, while Mr Gibson had been in custody since his arrest at the age of 21, and had been away from his country and family for a long time.

"Josh and Gene have never met but their lives are now intertwined," he said. Mr Lundberg said it was too early to talk about whether Mr Gibson would seek compensation.

WA Police Commissioner Karl O'Callaghan told reporters he "deeply regretted" how police failures contributed to the unusual case, which was a "multi-faceted failure in the justice system", and said he was willing to meet with Mr Gibson.

He said three of the 11 officers who faced an internal review recently formally advised they did not accept the 2015 findings and made no expression of contrition, which meant they would now face disciplinary charges.

Mr O'Callaghan also announced the special crime squad was launching a new investigation into Mr Warneke's murder.

Ms Bishop said she was "positive, strong and looking forward to the case being re-opened with a fresh start".
Comment has been sought from the ALS.