The Streets 10c - Open Findings: mishandled investigations


Open Findings: mishandled investigations

A protesting crowd stands in the middle of an intersection. They carry a banner that reads 'No Justice on Stolen land' and a placard that says 'Australia is a crime scene'. There are Aboriginal flags painted on the banner and on the shirt of one of the men carrying it.

[imagecaption] Justice for Elijah – Warriors of Aboriginal Resistance, Narrm (Melbourne), 2017. Photo: Charandev Singh. [/imagecaption]


‘I think it’s a thing of ‘blacks in the back, forget about them … It feels like it’s just a bloody kangaroo court. The files are missing and they expect people to remember what they said 20 years ago or whatever.’

Stephen Baamba Albert, Petronella Albert’s cousin

Petronella Albert was 22 years old when she disappeared from Broome, Western Australia. She was described as well liked and known in the community and very friend- and family-oriented. 18 years after her disappearance a coroner established that there was no doubt she came to an ‘untimely death,’ but delivered an open finding as to the manner and cause of her death. Some circumstantial evidence suggested that a man named Geoffrey Nicholls could have been implicated in her death, however he was shot dead by police in 2001 so further investigations were not pursued. During the inquest it came to light that the original case files concerning Petronrella Albert’s disappearance had been ‘destroyed or lost‘ by Broome police and that her missing persons file was closed nine months after her disappearance.



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