Justice for Kevin Henry! The Qld government must order re-trial into botched case
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In September 1991, an Aboriginal woman named Lynda was found on the banks of the Fitzroy River in Rockhampton, Central Queensland.
Four people were convicted over her death the following year.
But despite these convictions, we have reason to believe the justice system still failed her in the most devastating of ways.
In fact, what happened after she died, was another, enduring injustice.
That’s because the man convicted over her murder, now serving a life sentence in the Capricornia Correctional Centre, could very well be innocent.
Lynda was a beautiful, smart, accomplished mother-of-four, who was first victim to a brutal assault perpetrated by three women, all later convicted of grievous bodily harm. She was later placed in the river where she was found the next morning.
The police alleged an Aboriginal man named Kevin Henry, or Curtain, was the person who placed her in the river. He was only 22 at the time and was visiting Rockhampton from the nearby Aboriginal community of Woorabinda.
But Curtain has maintained his innocence for the past 25 years. He has spent a quarter of a century spent behind bars for a crime he says he didn’t do.
A long term investigation by Martin Hodgson, a senior advocate at the Foreign Prisoner’s Support Service and journalist Amy McQuire, has revealed startling flaws in the police investigation that lead to the conviction of Curtain.
The investigation, broadcast in the podcast ‘Curtain’, has found that not only was Curtain’s confession most likely coerced, but that he was given no legal representation despite asking for it.
The judge threw out a large portion of this ‘confession’ because he found it had not been obtained voluntarily.
We have also uncovered Curtain had an alibi at the time he was alleged to have committed the crime.
The investigation also found it was very unlikely Curtain had placed her in the water.
Lynda was found two kilometres down stream, on the opposite side of the river. Analysis of historic tidal records has shown that she would have had to been placed on the northside of the river. Curtain had no car, and no time, to travel to the opposite side.
It means that there were likely other suspects, which police failed to follow up, even when provided with information about other alleged perpetrators.
It seems there was no reason other than they thought they had got their man, because after Curtain ‘confessed’ they closed the investigation, and all other lines of inquiry.
However, there is one fact that is even more startling.
There has never been any DNA or forensic evidence connecting Curtain to the crime. There are only discredited witness statements and that coerced confession, which was extracted without legal representation.
But it is not just the police investigation – we also have concerns about the court process, and the way the media reported sensationalistic, and false, testimony given on the stand by discredited witnesses.
Over the past 25 years, Kevin Henry has been protesting his innocence to anyone who will listen – but his pleas have fallen on deaf ears.
His case has never been taken up seriously, despite him sending his transcripts to the Griffith University’s Innocence Project, and the Aboriginal Legal Service in Brisbane.
But we believe what we have found in Curtain the Podcast warrants another look at Kevin’s case. We are calling on the Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Attorney General Yvette D’Ath to send this case back to court, to give Kevin a fair go that he was denied.
We are calling for this not just for Kevin – but also for Lynda and her family.
Because if the wrong man was locked up for 25 years over her death, the justice system – already skewered so heavily against Aboriginal women – didn’t just fail Kevin.
It failed Lynda, a strong, much-loved Aboriginal woman whose life was tragically ripped away from her, and who fell victim yet again to a racist justice system.
Curtain’s case shows that our justice system has two laws for white and black. Because if the victim was white, and the alleged perpetrator was white, do you think we’d be talking about this case, 25 years on?
Please sign this petition to take one step forward for justice.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Attorney General Yvette’ D’Ath must order a re-trial into Kevin Henry’s case.
For more on Kevin Henry's case see www.curtainthepodcast.com or see the Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/curtainthepodcast/?fref=ts
Also check out Twitter here: https://twitter.com/CurtainPodcast
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