• Gene Gibson was sentenced to seven years in jail for a crime he didn't commit. (Kiwirrkurra)Source: Kiwirrkurra
The Aboriginal man from the Western Desert was wrongfully convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to seven years in jail.
Rangi Hirini

18 Apr 2018 - 4:19 PM  UPDATED 19 Apr 2018 - 8:06 AM

The Western Australian government has taken responsibility for the flawed investigation into the death of Joshua Warneke who was found dead on the outskirts of Broome in 2010.

Gene Gibson, who is from the Western Desert remote community of Kiwirrkurra, was sentenced to seven years in jail after pleading guilty to the manslaughter of Mr Warneke. He was acquitted last year.

Today, the WA government announced they will award Mr Gibson $1.5 million in compensation.

“The State makes this payment in recognition of the miscarriage of justice suffered by Mr Gibson,” West Australian Attorney General John Quigley said in a statement.

“In making this payment, the State has taken into account the flaws in the investigation, Mr Gibson’s vulnerability, loss of liberty, and the hardship, hurt and loss he would have experienced as a result of his conviction and imprisonment.”

Mr Gibson served about four years and eight months in prison before the Court of Appeal set aside that conviction and acquitted Mr Gibson of the charge in April last year.   

In November 2015 an investigation by the Corruption and Crime Commission (CCC) had found “systemic failures” by the West Australian Police in its initial investigation into the death.

During the police investigation Mr Gibson, whose first language is not English, was not offered a translator.

The Supreme Court ruled Gibson’s police interviews were involuntary and inadmissible. 

Mr Gibson launched his compensation claim against the State Government in July 2017 and had requested a $2.5 million.

Joshua Warneke’s mother was a strong advocate for the release of Mr Gibson and did not believe he killed her son.

The State government is looking at reforming the current Criminal Law (Mentally Impaired Accused) Act. 

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