The Aboriginal Legal Service of WA (ALSWA) today welcomed the news that Gene Gibson has won his appeal against his conviction in the Court of Appeal.
“It was the Aboriginal Legal Service which originally fought for Mr. Gibson in exposing the police investigation which resulted in his confession being thrown out. A subsequent CCC report confirmed beyond a shadow of a doubt that police must take sole responsibility for Mr. Gibson’s conviction and imprisonment” said ALSWA CEO Dennis Eggington.
“I can’t begin to imagine how traumatic these past few years have been for Mr. Gibson, his family and the family of Mr. Warneke. But the fact remains, that the conduct of police from the moment they decided Mr. Gibson was a suspect in the death ensured that a miscarriage was certain to occur” said Mr. Eggington.
This is the latest in a long line of cases – Button, Mallard, Beamish – to name just a few, where an incompetent police investigation has targeted the wrong person and left a grieving family high and dry.
Mr. Eggington said that ALSWA stands by its former lawyer Mr. Dominc Brunello. “Dominic is an exceptional lawyer whose representation of Mr. Gibson was as good as any lawyer in WA could provide and at all times, Dominic acted with professionalism and in the best interests of Mr. Gibson”.
ALSWA said that despite advocating for many years, successive governments had dismally failed Aboriginal people in the justice system by not properly resourcing a statewide interpreter service in Aboriginal languages. “Governments are happy to see Aboriginal people go to court every day of the week without an interpreter in their first language, yet a foreign national charged with a criminal offence can get an interpreter in their language in a heartbeat. The situation is farcical and there will be more Gene Gibsons’ if the situation is not urgently rectified” said Mr. Eggington.
*ALSWA has not yet seen the Appeal Judgment and will therefore not be conducting any interviews on this matter at this stage.