The families of two Victorian policemen murdered during a robbery investigation are devastated by a court’s decision to quash the convictions of one of their alleged killers.
Sergeant Gary Silk and Senior Constable Rodney Miller were ambushed and fatally shot during a 1998 stake-out at a potential robbery target in suburban Moorabbin.
Jason Roberts and Bandali Debs were convicted of their murders in 2002, but on Tuesday Victoria’s Court of Appeal ordered a fresh trial for Mr Roberts.
“It is not the decision we were hoping to hear, 22 long years after Gary and Rod were murdered,” the Silk and Miller families said in a statement.
Senior Constable Miller left behind his wife, Carmel Arthur and a seven-week-old son Jimmy, now 22.
Sergeant Silk was survived by his parents and two brothers, including Peter, who is now married to Ms Arthur.
Lawyers for Mr Roberts have flagged a bail application pending a retrial.
The Court of Appeal found conduct of officers investigating the case had been “reprehensible” and amounted to a “gross and fundamental corruption of the trial process”.
The families have stood by investigating officers, saying they were especially saddened at the decision for members of the investigation, known as Taskforce Lorimer.
“A number of lives changed when Gary and Rod were murdered, and lives will never be the same including those of the first responders and Taskforce Lorimer members who have been admirable in their courage, determination and grace as they remained steadfast in their commitment to bringing the two killers to justice,” they said.
“We have no doubt that the original convictions of Jason Roberts and Bandali Debs were correct.”
Victorian Police Association Secretary Wayne Gatt said the families wouldn’t rest until their loved ones can.
“This is a difficult day, one of too many to count for the families of Gary Silk and Rodney Miller over the past 22 years,” he said.