Another Aboriginal Death in Custody: Uneasy Alliances and Tensions in the Mulrunji Case
Legal Studies, 28 4: 531-558
Posted: 9 Jun 2015
Date Written: 2008
The death of an Aboriginal man, Mulrunji, in an Australian police cell in 2004 precipitated an extraordinary response from the community. The usual distinctions between the roles of police, coroner, prosecutors and politicians became confused and merged in the media maelstrom that followed the death. Uneasy alliances developed which qualified the binary response of right versus wrong. Could the coroner's findings be reconciled with the decision of the prosecutor not to try the police officer involved? Was the government's response of overriding the decision of the independent prosecutor justified? What does this case tell us about the adversarial and inquisitorial approaches to evidence? This paper examines the tensions at play in the response to the death of Mulrunji and explores the wide reaching implications for law and justice in death in custody cases.
JEL Classification: k00
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation