Still no closure in murder of schoolgirl Leanne Holland
The refusal to take this case further is a shocking case of police petulance. Here is what may lie behind that:
"The Crime and Misconduct Commission continues to probe Detective Senior-Sergeant Graham Richards, the officer who arrested and charged Stafford for the brutal slaying. Sgt Richards was last month identified as one of four officers at the centre of an investigation by the CMC over alleged improper relationships between prisoners and police. Sgt Richards, the officer in charge of Rockhampton CIB, has been stood down pending the outcome of that investigation"
And there's this:
"A PETITION seeking to pardon convicted killer Graham Stafford will point the finger at three men suspected of Leanne Holland's murder. Stafford's legal team is preparing documents containing new evidence to present to the Governor, Quentin Bryce, in a bid to clear Stafford, 43, of the killing of the 12-year-old in 1991. The petition will focus on three men. Two are serving life sentences for unrelated murders. The third was released from jail in 2003 after serving seven years for rape"
So the police claim that a wrongfully convicted man is the only suspect is just wrong. What seems to be driving them is embarrassment about how badly the initial investigation that led to the wrongful conviction was carried out. There was shocking negligence in both the investigation and the prosecution.
If the matter were taken further and the real culprit were identified they would face huge criticism. Interstate police should be brought in to mount a new investigation
THE man who went to trial over the murder of schoolgirl Leanne Holland has called for a coronial inquest into her death, despite police saying he is the only suspect.
Graham Stafford, 52, told The Sunday Mail an inquest would give answers into the death of the 12-year-old Goodna girl who was murdered in 1991.
Leanne’s body was found partly naked and dumped in bushland in Redbank Plains, about 10km from her home.
Mr Stafford, who at the time was dating Leanne’s sister Melissa, served 14 years’ jail before his 1992 murder conviction was quashed. He has always maintained his innocence.
“I have no fears what would be dug up in a coroner’s inquest,” Mr Stafford told The Sunday Mail.
“Unfortunately, Terry (Leanne’s father) is no longer with us and I don’t think Melissa has ever given a response so I don’t know what her feelings are (about an inquest).”
After Mr Stafford’s conviction was quashed in 2009, the Court of Appeal ordered a retrial but the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions refused.
A 2012 police report found there was enough evidence to send him back to trial. However, the DPP ruled it out and said it was not in the public interest.
Former attorney-general Jarrod Bleijie then sought independent legal advice which found there was basis for prosecution but it was not worth pursuing charges.
Mr Stafford said police had refused to release the 2012 report through a Right to Information request, stating it was legally privileged, and he had since lodged an appeal.
“They have what they claim is the opportunity to take me back to court and bolster the case, and they don’t even want to discuss it,” Mr Stafford said.
“The taxpayers paid for this report. It took them close to three years for them to come up with it and now it just conveniently passes away.”
A spokeswoman for Attorney-General Yvette D’Ath said any request for an inquest should comply with the Coroners Act 1958 and detail the reasons to justify holding it.
“I understand no such request has been made,” she said.