Legislative Council: Thursday, March 23, 2023


Director of Public Prosecutions

The Hon. F. PANGALLO (14:52): I seek leave to make a brief explanation before asking a question of the Attorney-General regarding the High Court and the duty of disclosure by the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Leave granted.

The Hon. F. PANGALLO: This week, I received a deficient response from the Attorney-General regarding a question I asked over concerns that Mr Hinton KC was not complying with his legal obligations and to not mislead the High Court in an appeal in May by convicted killer Derek Bromley. Mr Bromley, an Aboriginal man who has been in custody for nearly 40 years, has always insisted he was innocent and that he was convicted upon the tainted evidence of the unqualified and disgraced forensic science chief, Dr Colin Manock, recently exposed on the national television program Under Investigation where the UK's leading forensic pathologist Dr Richard Shepherd described Manock as a charlatan who made things up.

The Attorney claimed he had no evidence to support that the director has not met any obligations he has to common law and conduct rules. The Australian Solicitors Conduct Rules clearly state obligations even the DPP must comply with, including:

not to deceive or knowingly or recklessly mislead the court;

take all steps to correct misleading any statement made to a court;

inform the court of any misapprehension by the court as to the effect of an order which the court is making as soon as the solicitor becomes aware of it; and

must fairly assist the court to arrive at the truth.

In 2001, Mr Hinton wrote an article, titled 'Unused material and the prosecutor's duty of disclosure', in which he said, and I quote:

…that everybody who comes before the courts is entitled to a fair trial is axiomatic [and] an accused's right to fair disclosure is an inseparable part of his right to a fair trial.

Why isn't he applying that in Mr Bromley's case? In a 10-page letter dated March 20 to the Attorney-General, the Premier and the DPP, astute law academic and researcher Dr Robert Moles says in Mr Hinton's refusal to disclose to the High Court Dr Manock's rogue history and unreliable evidence, he is in derelict of his duty and obligations as a legal practitioner and he will be complicit in presenting a lie to the High Court. Dr Moles states, the issues arising from this case are so serious they are unprecedented in the common law world. I seek leave to table that letter before I ask my questions of the Attorney.

Leave granted.

The Hon. F. PANGALLO: My question to the Attorney-General is:

1. Has he read the DPP's High Court submission, who gave him that advice and will he now seek an independent legal opinion for himself?

2. Why does the DPP and the entire criminal justice system in this state continue to be wilfully blind to the fraudulent, corrupt conduct of Dr Manock over many decades?

3. Will he now direct the DPP, as he has the power to do under section 9(2) of the DPP Act, and request that he immediately amend his High Court submission so it is truthful, rather than continue this terrible charade and judicial protection racket to prevent another gross miscarriage of justice?

The PRESIDENT: The last part of your question, there was too much opinion in it, the Hon. Mr Pangallo.

The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Attorney-General, Minister for Industrial Relations and Public Sector) (14:56): I thank the honourable member for his question. I am happy to read any information the honourable member has and I certainly have discussed this matter with the DPP. In my discussions, the DPP has assured me that disclosure obligations have been discharged and the DPP, in discussions, has not disclosed anything that disclosure obligations have in any way not been met.

In seeking advice on this matter, I was reminded that a prosecutor's duty of disclosure is owed to the court, but that duty is discharged by disclosures being made to the defence. I don't have any information that would conclude that the DPP has not abided by their duties in this case.