• Bowraville rally: Family of Colleen Walker Craig in Sydney. (Danny Teece-Johnson)Source: Danny Teece-Johnson
NSW Government votes down a bill to tweak the double jeopardy laws as families of the Bowraville victims and supporters rallied in Sydney ahead of a decision.
Danny Teece-Johnson

The Point
5 May 2016 - 3:37 PM  UPDATED 5 May 2016 - 3:50 PM

They have been waiting 26 years for justice. Three children murdered, one prime suspect, but no one behind bars. 

The families of the three murdered children of Bowraville - four-year-old Evelyn Greenup and 16-year-olds Colleen Walker and Clinton Speedy-Duroux - travelled by bus to Sydney on Thursday in their own freedom rides to justice, believing a change to the law could see the alleged killer brought to justice. 

But in a shock decision in NSW Parliament's Upper House today, that quest for justice has been denied and the families are "devastated" says lawyer, Larissa Behrendt.

The families of Bowraville had their hopes of a retrial shattered, after the NSW Government and Labor Opposition joined forces to block the bill that could have paved the way, in certain circumstances, for a person to be re-tried for a crime they had been found not guilty of committing.

The legislation had been introduced by the Greens and supported by other cross-benchers.

The government and Labor cited 'Civil Liberties' as the reason why the bill was voted down.

Before parliament began, Greens MP and Justice Spokesperson David Shoebridge said:

"Two years on from the start of the parliamentary inquiry into the Bowraville murders, family members and community supporters are coming together to ask why there is still no justice." 

The inquiry was set up to begin a process to make amendments to the 'Double Jeopardy' laws which would pave the way for a retrial of all three murders. Mr Shoebridge went on to say:

"When the report was handed down, MPs from all sides of politics spoke in support of its 15 recommendations. It is well and truly time we put those words into action.

"This is a simple reform that can deliver a realistic chance of obtaining a retrial where all three murders can be considered together.

"Given parliament's emotional commitment when the Bowraville report was tabled, we hope that every political party can get behind this reform and put into law our collective promises. 26 years is too long to wait for justice."

That however did not happen.

WATCH: Innocence Betrayed - the fight for justice in Bowraville
When three Aboriginal children were murdered in Bowraville in the early 1990's a small community was torn apart, but a long fight to convict their killer began...

Recommendations from the parliamentary inquiry said very clearly the parliament should assess 'the merit of expressly broadening the scope of the provision to enable a retrial where a change in the law renders evidence admissible at a later date.'

The families earlier held a rally and walk for justice from Hyde Park to Parliament House where it was expected the bill would be passed, so it could then be debated in the Lower House.

A fresh appeal by the NSW Police to Attorney General Gabrielle Upton seems to be the families last hope.