|West Gate Bridge|
Source: National Archives of Australia
In sentencing Freeman, Justice Paul Coghlan said "Your crime is a most fundamental breach of trust and it is an attack on the institution of the family which is so dear to the community"
Also last week, NT Coroner Greg Cavanagh criticised Northern Territory Police for their lack of investigation of the drowning of an 8yo aboriginal boy in 2009. The boy had been weighted down with rocks in his shorts, and drowned in a waterhole. The case has now been referred to the Director of Public Prosecutions after he found a crime had been committed. Police were criticised for: being too quick to dismiss the death as accidental; not protecting and keeping the rocks; not making measurements of, and photographing or keeping other physical evidence; a beer can was not tested for DNA for months after the discovery (the DNA reportedly belongs to a person on remand for child sex offences); the waterhole was not drained and searched; evidence (a pornographic magazine and a singlet) was dismissed as unimportant without being tested. The list goes on.
Any unlawful death hurts society. The killing of a child is especially painful for family, and society. In the Melbourne, Victorian, case, police conducted an investigation which led to trial, and conviction. In the other, it is hard not to conclude that the death of an aboriginal child was deemed not worthy of rigorous investigation by the investigating police. Our society has been hurt twice by this case: once that a child has been killed; and again because the police we trust apparently did not do their job properly.