• Gene Gibson was sentenced to seven years in jail for a crime he didn't commit. (Kiwirrkurra)Source: Kiwirrkurra
The Aboriginal man who spent almost five years in jail for a crime he did not commit is looking at possibly suing the police after the West Australian government awarded him over a million dollars in compensation.
Rangi Hirini

19 Apr 2018 - 9:29 AM  UPDATED 19 Apr 2018 - 9:43 AM

After launching his compensation case nine months ago Aboriginal man, Gene Gibson was awarded an ex gratia payment of $1.3 million it was revealed yesterday.

In addition, Gibson will receive $200,000 to go towards expected administration costs.

The Western Desert man was wrongfully convicted of manslaughter in the death of Josh Warneke who was found dead on the outskirts of Broome in 2010. 

Initially, Gibson pleaded guilty to murder, on the advice of his former legal team. Three separate reviews of the police investigation found there were major flaws in their case.

Mr Gibson’s lawyer, Michael Lundberg, said his client is currently in Alice Springs.

“The first thing he said to me was, ‘bala’ which is Pintupi for everything is good. Gene and his family are happy,” he told the media yesterday.

Mr Lundberg said his client has also questioned the possibility of suing the police who put him in jail.

“This money can’t extinguish the wrong, it’s a step in the right direction, we’ve always made that very clear that this is an important step for Gene to get his life back on track.”

Eleven officers were disciplined over the investigation, all of them are still working for WA Police, while the real killer is still on the run and yet to be found.

Yesterday, West Australian Attorney General, John Quigley apologised to Mr Gibson and announced the compensation payment.

“On behalf of all West Australians, I want to extend my personal apology, the government’s apology… We hope the ex gratia payment we’re now making will go some way to compensating and rectifying that dreadful suffering,” Mr Quigley said at a press conference.

Josh Warneke’s mother Ingrid Bishop has been a strong advocate for Gene Gibson’s release and believed he was not behind her son’s death.

“It was a great day when Gene got released and his conviction was squashed today is of equal status,” she told local media.

Mr Gibson was acquitted of manslaughter last year and released from prison on April 12. 

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