News State NSW News Please explain issued over 32-minute jury case

Please explain issued over 32-minute jury case

Lynette Daley
Lynette Daley died of internal bleeding after being sexually assaulted. Photo: Supplied/ABC
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The New South Wales Attorney-General has issued a please explain to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) over its handling of the Lynette Daley manslaughter saga.

Two men were on Wednesday found guilty over the 33-year-old’s death, with a Supreme Court jury taking just 32 minutes to reach its verdicts.

Despite a thorough police investigation in 2011 and coronial findings in 2014 which strongly recommended charges be laid, the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions did not prosecute the men.

The jury’s swift conviction in the matter has led to questions about why the DPP waited so long to pursue Adrian Attwater and Paul Maris over Ms Daley’s death.

An ABC Four Corners program about the case in 2016 sparked public outrage, so director Lloyd Babb SC called in independent counsel, Philip Strickland SC, who ended up bringing the matter to trial for the DPP.

On Thursday, NSW Attorney-General Mark Speakman said he had “spoken with the Director of Public Prosecutions and sought an urgent brief on the circumstances surrounding this case”.

Adrian Attwater
Adrian Attwater was found guilty of manslaughter. Photo: Supplied/ABC

“I’ve also confirmed that the NSW government will continue providing support for the family of Ms Daley during the sentencing process,” he said.

The DPP told the ABC that as the matter was still before the Supreme Court “no comment can be issued”.

Sentencing will begin on November 3.

‘I would like an apology’

Ms Daley, 33, bled to death on an Australia Day camping trip in 2011 after a violent sexual encounter with Attwater, 42, and Maris, 47.

Lynette Daley’s stepfather Gordon Davis told ABC News the family was “very happy” with the verdicts, but would like an apology from the Director of Public Prosecutions because it took so long for the matter to get to court.

“Lloyd Babb handed it over to Philip Strickland and Georgia Huxley and they said the men had a case to answer to, I can’t see why Lloyd Babb couldn’t see that,” Mr Davis said.

“I’d like to thank Mr Babb for letting [Mr Strickland and Ms Huxley] do it, but I would like an apology on top of it for the trauma, heartache and sorrow to get there.”

Associate Professor of Law at University of Technology Sydney, Thalia Anthony examined the autopsy report and coronial findings for Four Corners.

Paul Morris
Paul Maris was charged over the death of Lynette Daly, but never prosecuted. Photo: Supplied/ABC

“To the DPP’s credit they ran a really strong case in the end and I think that is one form of redress,” she said.

“But really the fact that justice has been delayed for six-and-a-half years and the fact that the jury reached its verdict so expediently shows the DPP was in error by not prosecuting earlier and should apologise.”

Family need more answers

Robert Tumeth was the Aboriginal Legal Service lawyer who represented Lynette Daley’s family at the 2014 inquest.

He said after the DPP chose not to prosecute initially, police sought additional medical experts for the inquest and the case against Attwater and Maris was strengthened as a result.

“It disturbed me that following the coroner’s recommendation and with the material that was contained in the coroner’s brief the decision was made by the DPP not to prosecute on any charges,” Mr Tumeth said.

He said the DPP should give the family more information about why a prosecution was delayed.

“I think it would be a useful exercise to provide reasons to the family,” Mr Tumeth said.

Attwater was found guilty of manslaughter, Maris was found guilty of burning a blood-soaked mattress to hinder the discovery of evidence, and both men were found guilty of aggravated sexual assault.