THE FAMILIES of Colleen Walker Craig, Evelyn Greenup and Clinton Speedy Duroux would like to express their disappointment in the Australian justice system, following the rejection of the Special Leave to Appeal Application in the High Court of Australia today.
Today was the last roll of the legal dice for the families of the three children murdered in Bowraville in the early 1990s, who have been fighting for justice ever since.
Following the Court of Criminal Appeal ruling last September that a man could not be retried for the murders of two of the children or tried over the murder of a third, the NSW Attorney-General said he believed a High Court appeal had a chance of success.
Family representative for the Stadhams' family, Michelle Jarrett, said "losing our children, our babies, has taken a devastating toll on everyone in our family.
"We cry tears for Colleen, Evelyn and Clinton every day. They were just children - taken from us in the most awful way imaginable, and we will never give up the fight for justice," Ms Jarrett said.
Family representative for the Walker family, Paula Craig, said all members of the three families were extremely disappointed with the decision by the High Court.
"We are hurt, saddened and angry that the Australian justice system has failed us," Ms Craig said.
"Losing a child is heart breaking but losing a child to murder with no closure - words cannot describe our grief and loss. It has left a gaping wound in each family that will never close."
Family representative for the Duroux/Speedy family, Leonie Duroux, said "our hearts are heavy with today's decision, we must always remember the victims in this tragedy, Colleen, Evelyn and Speedy. They were our daughters and our son, our nieces and nephew, our grandchildren, our loved ones.
"We would like to convey our utmost thanks and gratitude to Detective Chief Inspector Gary Jubelin, Detective Sergeant Jerry Bowden and Bianca Comina and to everyone who has walked with us on our journey. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your support and standing with us in our continued fight for justice.
"For over 28 years have been fighting for justice and we will never give up hope that the person accountable will be brought to justice."
NSW Attorney General Mark Speakman was also disappointed.
"I met with the Bowraville families this morning to discuss the proceedings. Today's decision represents yet another blow to the children's families, who have bravely fought for justice over the last three decades. I am sorry for the further trauma and grief today's decision will bring," Mr Speakman said.
"Despite today's disappointing result, I believe that the retrial application was in the public interest. For almost a decade, the Bowraville families and the NSW Police Force had advocated for the commencement of the retrial application. The State's arguments for a retrial have now been heard and determined publicly before an independent court.
"It is clear that there were failings in the criminal justice system's initial response to the suspected murders of the children. I hope that those mistakes are never repeated again. I am sorry that those failings continue to deny the children, and their families, the justice that they deserve. The Liberals and Nationals Government will consider options following today's decision.
"The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Law and Justice made 15 recommendations to improve the criminal justice system and help the Bowraville community to heal. The NSW Government has implemented the Government response to every recommendation.
"Aboriginal Affairs NSW will continue to support the healing needs of the families, and Solution Brokerage is helping to build lasting resilience for the whole Bowraville community by bringing government and community closer together."
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