Graham Stafford's conviction for the 1991 murder of Goodna schoolgirl Leanne Holland was quashed, but now a dispute has emerged over a police review.
Graham Stafford's conviction for the 1991 murder of Goodna schoolgirl Leanne Holland was quashed, but now a dispute has emerged over a police review. Jason Dougherty

Police the 'innocent victim' of leak in Graham Stafford case

The lawyer for Graham Stafford, who was cleared of murdering schoolgirl Leanne Holland, says a 500-page police report should be released, because it is already effectively in the public domain.

But Queensland Police Service said it was an innocent victim of a leak, and only tiny fragments of the report had been published.

QPS said media coverage about the report should not compel it to hand over the report to Stafford, a now Sunshine Coast man whose 1991 conviction for the Goodna 12 year old's murder was quashed eight years ago.

After the acquittal, police reviewed evidence, including Holland's blood and a maggot found in Stafford's car boot.

At the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal in Brisbane, Stafford's barrister Patrick McCafferty said there were several reasons the report, developed from that review, should be released to his client.

He said a Channel 7 program broadcast earlier this year revealed the network probably had the report since at least March 8, if not earlier.

Mr McCafferty also said a TV journalist published a podcast series, including parts of the report.

He said QPS had taken no steps to assert legal professional privilege against the network.

"We know that a third party has a copy of the report, is reporting extensively on it ... what matters is it contains much detail.”

Barrister Gerard Sammon, acting for QPS, said "tiny fragments” of the report were in the public domain but that did not mean the 500-page report was available.

He said "there was little or no opportunity” for QPS to take out any injunction to stop the network broadcasting the program, saying "the horse had bolted” by the time Channel 7 aired the program.

Mr Sammon said the network had taken a restrained approach by not uploading the entire report.

He said it was unfair to blame QPS, which was the "innocent victim” of an unauthorised leak.

Mr Sammon said small parts of the report being aired did not mean legal professional privilege for the entire report should be lost.

Judge Suzanne Sheridan reserved her decision until a later date.

- NewsRegional  

 


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