A senior police officer has criticised the NSW government for failing to properly investigate the death of a young man, including taking the lead role in the investigation, and for not properly protecting the integrity of the police force.
Key points:In a letter, Detective Chief Superintendent Alan Roberts says NSW should have looked at how the murder of teenager Rachael Lai affected the relationship between police and communityA letter was sent to the NSW Premier, urging the police to look at how Rachaeel Lai’s death affected the police relationship with the communityPolice have been criticised for not holding a coroner accountable for the deathThe letter was obtained by The Australian, which obtained a copy.
“The coroner in NSW is responsible for the coroner’s recommendations in cases of murder,” Detective Chief Inspector Alan Roberts wrote in the letter.
“I would like to say that NSW is an extremely poor jurisdiction in relation to this issue and in fact, the State is notorious for not being able to hold a coroner responsible for their findings in cases where a person’s death has a significant impact on the community and on their relationships with their community.”
The letter comes after a review by the coroner, the state coroner and a senior NSW police officer.
Police are also the primary source of information for coroners in NSW, and have to comply with coroners’ orders and guidelines.
Police have received an average of 15,000 reports a year about a homicide, according to data obtained by the ABC.
Police Minister Peter Slipper said the coroners were conducting an independent investigation.
“We have an ongoing and robust police investigation into the death,” Mr Slipper told reporters.
“It is a matter that we will take very seriously, and it is one that the coroner is undertaking and we are confident that it will deliver an outcome that is consistent with the police’s and the State’s investigation.”‘
No need to investigate’Mr Roberts said police had a duty to investigate deaths and that the government’s focus was on ensuring that the victims of crime received the help they needed.
“Our priority is to provide the best support to victims and to make sure that the family have a right to a proper, independent and impartial investigation into what happened,” he said.
“There is no need to examine this incident and it will be the job of the coroner and the coroner alone to conduct an independent review of the death.”
He also defended the way in which the coroner handled the investigation.
Mr Roberts also told the Premier he was “disappointed” in the way the coroner was handling the case.
“At this stage, we are concerned that the investigation process was not conducted properly,” he wrote.
“Given that the coroner has been working closely with the family of Rachay Lai, we understand the concerns that have been expressed, and we have made our position very clear to the Attorney-General and the Minister for Justice that we intend to investigate this matter as quickly as possible.”
Topics:police,police-sieges,law-crime-and-justice,coroners-and‑prosecutions,victim-blaming,police,victoria-5341,nsw,australiaFirst posted May 03, 2019 08:07:56Contact Brett TaitMore stories from Victoria