Justice for Bowraville: what happens next?
FORMER Bowraville man Jay Hart is expected to face the Court of Criminal Appeal later this year for a retrial of the murders of four-year-old Evelyn Greenup and 16-year-olds Colleen Walker-Craig and Clinton Speedy-Duroux.
Hart was previously acquitted of Evelyn and Clinton's murders in two separate trials (Colleen's murder has never been tried) and a joint retrial of all three murders is now being sought.
The potential retrial follows the Attorney-General's decision in May to allow an application for the cases to be reheard.
Permission from the Attorney-General is necessary to bypass double jeopardy laws, which can only happen in serious cases of murder and aggravated sexual assault.
Greens MP David Shoebridge, who has long supported the victims' families in their campaign for justice, said police and crown solicitors were working together to prepare the "best and fairest" prosecution brief so charges could be laid again.
"Senior counsel has now been appointed for the case," Mr Shoebridge said.
"Once charges are laid, police have 28 days to apply for a retrial in the appeal court, and the matter should proceed to court later this year or early next year.
"Having all three murders heard together in court is a landmark achievement for the families and for justice."
Mr Shoebridge said once the application was made, the appeal court would order or decline a retrial based on a number of factors, including whether there was fresh and compelling evidence in the case, and whether a retrial was in the interests of justice.
"In deciding this, the court needs to consider if a fair retrial can occur, especially given there has been such a long delay between the time of the murders and any retrial," he said.
"Often courts are very concerned that either witnesses have died or their memory deteriorates.
"If a retrial is ordered ... and it is by no means a certainty, we might finally see justice done."