Thursday, May 13, 2010

look out for Coroner's report on Mulrunji Inquest Friday 14 may

Coroner Brian Hine will start delivering his report at about 9:30 tomorrow, at Court 3, Townsville Courts.

Some of his findings should be on the news. The full text should be at, coroners court, Findings, by mid-afternoon.

I should have some comments and suggestions for action, by mid- late afternoon.

Meanwhile you might like to check out Ian Curr's comments on

Let's hope we finally have some truth about what really happened on the 19th November and  subsequently.  We may also have some comments on the suppressed evidence which Jeff Waters and others have written about.

Talk soon,


Anonymous said...

Thanks for taking the time to give all this insight.

I haven't read the new coroner's report but in the original one it quoted a number of medical witnesses. For example:

"The consensus of medical opinion was that severe compressive force applied to the upper abdomen, or possibly the lower chest, or both together, was required to have caused this injury."

"Medical witnesses were asked to consider whether the application of a knee or an elbow, whilst Mulrunji was on the hard flat surface, either during or separate to the fall could have caused the mechanism of injury. This was accepted as a possible means by which the injury could have occurred.

Dr Lampe noted that the reported changes in Mulrunji’s behaviour from aggressive prior to the fall, to passive after the fall,suggests the events surrounding the fall are crucial."

"Associate Professor Ranson’s plain English language statement is helpful:
“In my opinion the death occurred from blood loss as a result of the liver being torn. I believe the liver injury was the result of forceful pressure being applied to the front of the upper abdomen or stomach area. This force squeezed the liver by pushing it up
against the front of the spine so that it was nearly split in half.”

Dr Ranson also said:
“A complicated fall where the two individuals fall together from a standing position would not usually cause the liver laceration seen in this man unless during the process of the fall a small area of direct crushing pressure was applied to the front of the upper
abdomen with the back or posterior lateral aspect of the body fixed against a hard surface………If a large person were to fall in an accelerated or uncontrolled fashion on top of an individual who was lying on their back on the ground, such that a small part
of their body, for example a knee applied a crushing type force to the upper abdomen, it is possible that such a liver laceration might be caused.”

Associate Professor Stephen Lynch, who is a specialist general surgeon practising in the field of liver transplant surgery and treatment gave evidence. He discounted any physical possibility of Mulrunji having sustained the liver injury prior to the point of being removed from the police vehicle at the back of the police station. He said Mulrunji would not have been able to struggle, as the evidence suggests, if he had blood in his abdominal cavity at that time. His injuries must have occurred at the time of the fall or afterwards. This is again noteworthy because of the evidence that after the fall, and after Sergeant Leafe had returned from opening the cell door, Mulrunji was no
longer resisting and required to be dragged to the cell.

He agreed with other medical opinions that signs of the abdominal injury could be masked by the degree of intoxication."

"Dr Lynch then indicated that the:-
“… combined mass of the two struggling men, falling together perhaps in an
accelerated and less than controlled fashion through the doorway could generate
considerable force. This force, if applied over a small surface area (for example a knee
contacting the lower right ribs of the deceased) may have been sufficient to cause the
injuries sustained.""

"I am not persuaded by Dr Lampe’s opinion that people are not able to recall exactly what happened in complex events."

There was also apparently relevant medical testimony that the original coroner didn't get to mention in her report - namely the stuff about the reasonableness of punching being an explanation.
There was no suggestion that the pathologist changed his story so presumably he would have said the same thing at the original inquest but it just didn't get mentioned by the Coroner's report.

Did the new inquiry rely upon medical evidence from the previous one or is there more witnesses that you weren't able to cover?

Thanks Col

Monique Bond said...

Hi Col,
Thanks for the question about the punches.
Coroner Hine said that all parties had accepted the medical evidence previously given and it was not disputed.
The evidence was that punches could not have caused the abdominal trauma of the severed liver. It needed a very strong force concentrated in a small area, but a punch would not have been sufficient.
If you check sections 350 to 355, in the Findings,you will find information about the probable damage caused by the punches to Mulrunji's face and that Hurley might have assumed that they were involved with the cause of death. This could explain his early insistence that he had fallen to the side of Mulrunji.

I hope to get my Extracts from the Coroner's Findings up on the blog - 30 pages might be more manageable than the full 160.

I think there is now no disagreement with the finding that Mulrunji's death was caused by some part of Hurley coming into violent contact with his abdomen.
How this came about and whether it was deliberate or accidental, the Coroner says is an 'Open Finding'. He wrote,
"If the two main witnesses of the incident, namely Bengaroo and Bramwell, had not continually changed their versions and fabricated evidence I would have been possible to make a proper judgment."

And I have just realised that therefore the blame is put squarely on who? Two Aboriginal men - two people who are poorly educated and marginalised. It has only just hit me and I am stunned. What about the possible lies and collusion of Sgt Leafe and Constable Steadman?

Col, this has opened up a whole new area of inquiry for me,

Thanks Monique