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Hurley Not Guilty

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Chris Hurley has been found not guilty. Slightly old report before the news below:

Jury retires in Hurley trial

THE jury hearing the trial of police officer Chris Hurley - charged over a death in custody on Palm island - has retired to consider its verdict.

In his closing instructions to the jury, Justice Peter Dutney urged the panel to judge the case against Senior Sergeant Chris Hurley on its own merits and consider their verdict carefully.

Snr Sgt Hurley has pleaded not guilty to one count each of manslaughter and assault over Mulrunji Doomadgee's death at the Palm Island watchhouse on November 19, 2004.

Justice Dutney told the Townsville Supreme Court jury: "This trial is not concerned with police in general, it is not concerned with the riots which occurred after Mulrunji's death was published."

Yesterday, Special Prosecutor Peter Davis, in his closing address, said Senior-Sergeant Chris Hurley had admitted killing Cameron Doomadgee, now known as Mulrunji, after a violent struggle that led to a fall in the doorway of the police station.

Mr Davis told the jury it was up to them to decide if the lethal blow was "deliberate or accidental". "He told a lie," Mr Davis said.

"We know the accused has had time to stand up, pull Mulrunji out of the doorway, and, the Crown says, drop his knee into him.

"We are not trying to rebuild ancient Rome, it is simply as he gets up, he has lost his temper and bang."

Hurley, who has pleaded not guilty to unlawful assault and unlawfully killing Mulrunji, clearly did not intend to kill him, Mr Davis said.

"We don't say he intended to cleave his liver across his spine, probably all he intended to do was wind him and disable him temporarily and put him in the cell."

Mulrunji, who was arrested for swearing, died from massive internal bleeding due to his liver being virtually split in half and his portal vein ruptured by the compressive force, most likely a knee, less than an hour after being taken into custody on the morning of November 19, 2004.

His death sparked riots on the island and led to locals burning down the police station, watch house and barracks.

Mr Davis ridiculed Hurley's claims he was mistaken in his evidence to investigators and the whole incident was a grey area.

"He can't help you with the booming question of this case: How could he so badly injure this indigenous man without noticing?

"What he said was a part of a body must have touched him, well, that must be an understatement when you look at the medical evidence."

Defence barrister Bob Mulholland, QC, told the jury the death was a tragedy and to convict Hurley would be "a double-tragedy".

"Mr Hurley will never forget that he was the accidental instrument of another man dying, that is the cross he will carry for the rest of his life despite what happens here."
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It most certainly SHOULD have gone to trial, and I'm glad it did. You can't just dismiss someone in custody getting a burst portal vein and a ruptured liver, as though these things happen spontaneously all the time. And Hurley's 'I accidentally fell on him and maybe kneed him' statements were a bit suss, to say the least. I respect the decision of the court, but I'm glad this went to trial.
Thank goodness, just passed the news around my work and everyone is relieved.

It should never even have come to trial.
I'm not surprised there "wasn't enough evidence". The incident - whatever it was - (and something caused Doomadgee to be fatally injured) could not have been witnessed by anyone apart from the victim and the police officer(s) involved. That doesn't mean nothing illegal happened, it means that it couldn't be proved beyond reasonable doubt, so Hurley was found not guilty.

Considering that someone died of injuries in police custody, with no-one else around, I think the reaction is perfectly understandable. Of course people are going to feel angry, and of course this investigation was justified - the state prosecution certainly seemed to think so, and they've got more experience in pressing charges than you or I.
Doomadgee didn't die of "natural laws" as Citystyle said (I think you mean natural causes), even the police officer admitted that he had 'probably' kneed him (and if he admitted that, who knows what he wasn't admitting to), and all the medical evidence suggested he died of injuries sustained in custody. The case centred on whether the injuries inflicted on Doomadgee were deliberate, or if they just happened accidentally when Hurley 'fell on top of' Doomadgee. That alone should tell you that the whole thing was suspicious enough to warrant a thorough investigation. In the end, it was found that there wasn't enough evidence to convict Hurley, which is not surprising considering there were no witnesses apart from the police and a dead man.

For those of you saying the investigation was a waste of time, and just politically-motivated, well, what do you suggest should have happened instead? Do you really think that 'oh well, just another boong dead in custody, let's not worry about it' is good enough? :eek:hno:
Firstly, don't put words in my mouth, I never said that police officers are "evil" or that they're all "probably racists anyway".

Secondly, you didn't answer my question. What do you suggest should have happened in the wake of a man dying in custody, from injuries he sustained while in police custody?

And yes, the court decided that there was no *proof* that the fatal injuries were maliciously caused by Hurley, but it was always a court that should have decided this, not an internal investigation by the police themselves - hardly an impartial investigation! And just because it was never a guarenteed conviction doesn't mean it shouldn't have proceeded. Using your logic, no cases would be ever be prosecuted unless there is unequivocal CC-TV footage, or the criminal themselves sign affadavits admitting to their crimes!
Aussie Bhoy, *if* the only reason this went to trial was because of Beattie, then good on him. My estimation of him just went up.

jb3, drop the "perhaps you should acquaint yourself with the facts of the case" sh*t. I have the same access to media, and the internet etc. that everyone else has - and I have taken an active interest in this story - so don't pretend that just because you don't agree with me, I must be 'unacquainted' with the case. It's obviously not good enough for you that Hurley was found not guilty - apparently the fact that a man died of injuries sustained in a police watchouse (and this part has *never* been in doubt, the issue is whether it was deliberate), should have just been swept under the carpet by internal investigations and not gone any further. If you think that's sufficient, you must be completely unfamiliar with the concept of justice.
Aussie Bhoy, the main issue here is not what the Premier may or may not have had to do with the prosecution - it's that a man died in police custody of injuries sustained in their custody. Or is that an unimportant little side issue for you? You need to get real. Hurley should always have been charged, and if you or I were in a similar position, we would have been. If someone died in your home, of injuries sustained in a scuffle with you, you would most certainly be charged with manslaughter, if not murder. It would not be swept away by claims that any injuries inflicted were unintentional, which was Hurley's defence in a nutshell. And it would not be dismissed by 'well, there were no other witesses - or CC-TV footage - so where's the proof?' You seem to think that because Hurley is a police officer, he's above the usual application of the law, which is just not on.

And you still haven't answered my question from the last page. Until you can, don't bother replying to me - I'm not interested in debating an issue with someone who responds to the parts they like and ignores the others.
The question was: "What do you suggest should have happened in the wake of a man dying in custody, from injuries he sustained while in police custody?"

"I can see why there was a trial, I am pulling you up on this original comment" is no answer at all.
I think we'll just have to agree to disagree, Aussie Bhoy. Doomadgee was definitely drunk, and allegedly disorderly, but I don't believe that a fatal application of force is an acceptable response. The penalty for being drunk and/or disorderly in this country is not death. Even you've admitted that Doomadgee died from "injuries sustained in the struggle" (hell, even Hurley admits that!), and I fail to see why that's not very reasonable grounds for a manslaughter charge. There are numerous other safer options for quelling an allegedly disorderly person - such as capsicum spray - which were just not used.

And no, I don't believe that Hurley wilfully tried to kill Doomadgee either, but he wasn't charged with that - he was charged with manslaughter, which is generally considered to be an unintentional killing but with a wilful disregard for the person's wellbeing. And I don't care that millions of dollars have been spent investigating this - if someone dies in police custody - or in anyone's custody - of injuries inflicted by the custodian, then no expense should be spared on trying to get to the bottom of it. Now that that's been attempted at least, hopefully Doomadgee's family will get some closure, and hopefully police are on notice that they have to be very careful how they handle people in custody, to avoid future deaths. If it's done that, then some good has been done here.
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