Cheryl Grimmer’s Family Left With 'No Choice' After NSW Attorney General Declined Appeal
After almost 50 years, Cheryl Grimmer’s family is no closer to justice after their last-ditch effort to appeal a judge’s ruling that key evidence relating to her murder was inadmissible, was knocked back.
Ricki Grimmer was the last to see his three-year-old sister in the change rooms at a Wollongong beach in January 1970, before she was abducted and murdered, allegedly by a 16-year-old boy.
He has been fighting for justice for the past five decades and has been in talks with NSW Attorney General Mark Speakman’s office for last three months, hoping the minister could overturn Justice Hulme’s ruling that a 1971 confession from the accused toddler murderer was inadmissible in court.
The decision was made during a pre-trial conference in February which debated the use of the key piece of evidence in a court of law. Both the Crown and the accused agreed the case could not proceed without it.
After a week of proceedings, it was deemed inadmissible as police at the time did not ensure there was an appropriate adult or support person present when they interviewed the accused, who was underage and suffering mental health issues.
“Having an adult present during a police interview is a legal right, the rationale being to protect children and young people,” Grimmer said.
“But this right did not exist in 1971 and was conferred by legislation from 1977 onwards... [so] given that no legal right has been transgressed with respect to the 1971 police interview, any related procedural laws designed to enforce rights would have no function.”
That was the desperate brother's argument to the Attorney General, who had asked Crown Advocate Dr David Kell SC to provide him with his own independent legal advice after the Director of a Public Prosecutions declined to appeal.
After careful consideration, the Attorney General decided not to appeal the judge’s ruling.
“I have told members of Cheryl’s family that I have concluded that any appeal against the Supreme Court’s decision will fail and that I will not be bringing any appeal,” Speakman said, in a press release on Friday, minutes after speaking with Cheryl’s three brothers.
“I am sorry for the further distress this will bring to Cheryl’s family, who seek justice for her. I am sorry that today I am unable to help end that search.”
Speakman told Cheryl’s three brothers, Ricki, Paul and Stephen, in a conference call at 11am, which lasted about an hour.
The immediate response from Ricki was that news was “all bad” and that they as a family “are left with no choice”.
Featured image: Supplied