Accused killer may face trial over children's deaths
A MAN acquitted of the murders of two Aboriginal children at Bowraville will face a hearing in November that will focus on whether there is enough "fresh and compelling" evidence for him to face a retrial.
The 51-year-old accused serial killer - who cannot be named for legal reasons - was again charged in February this year with the murder of Warwick boy Clinton Speedy-Duroux, 16, and Evelyn Greenup, 4, who disappeared from the northern NSW town in the 1990s.
No-one has ever been charged with the disappearance of 16-year-old Colleen Walker, who went missing in September 1990.
On Thursday, Justice Clifton Hoeben ordered the Court of Criminal Appeal hearing to take place on November 28.
The hearing is expected to take between four and five days and the accused will be required to attend.
Up to a dozen relatives of the children sat in court for today's mention to set the hearing date, which is an important step in their fight for justice.
The three Aboriginal children lived on the same street and all disappeared within the space of five months between 1990 and 1991.
Colleen's clothes were found weighted down with rocks in the Nambucca River several months after she disappeared, while the remains of Evelyn and Clinton were found off the side of a dirt road on the outskirts of Bowraville.
The accused man had previously been charged with their murders but was later acquitted after a judge ruled the trials should be heard separately.
The white man they always suspected of killing their children also lived in the small Bowraville community.
Last year, NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione apologised to the families of the victims and acknowledged the initial police investigation was inadequate.
A major stumbling block to a retrial has been the double jeopardy laws which prevent a person from being tried more than once for the same crime.
But in 2006, the state's double jeopardy laws were changed to allow a person to be tried for the same crime but only if there was "fresh and compelling evidence".
It remains unknown whether evidence that police believe links the killings to each other and the suspect meets the legal definition of "fresh" and is evidence that has not already been "adduced" in court.
In what has been described as uncharted legal territory, it is up to the highest criminal court in the state to decide whether there is "fresh and compelling evidence" to warrant a retrial.
The suspected killer has always denied involvement in the deaths.