Following the shocking revelations of bungling, secrecy and misconduct within Queensland’s DNA lab exposed in journalist Hedley Thomas’ podcast Shandee’s Story, a major royal commission-style inquiry into the fiasco gets underway in a Brisbane court, headed by retired judge Walter Sofronoff KC. The hearings are immediately rocked by allegations of disharmony and distrust amongst laboratory staff, sound scientific advice being ignored by senior bureaucrats, and warnings that the lab’s prohibitively high DNA testing thresholds were unsafe also being dismissed.
Senior police take the stand at the inquiry, saying they went along with the DNA lab’s new testing model because they trusted Queensland Health experts, only to become suspicious, then alarmed – courtesy of DNA expert Kirsty Wright’s damning assessment of the lab’s failings in Shandee’s Story – that offenders may have literally gotten away with murder for years. But DNA lab staff say the police signed off on the controversial testing decision and fully understood its implications. By the end of the inquiry’s first week it’s already clear that Queensland is in the midst of the greatest health and criminal justice crisis in its history.
Join The Australian’s chief national correspondent, Hedley Thomas, and his colleagues Claire Harvey, David Murray and Matthew Condon, in a comprehensive analysis of the opening week of the Sofronoff inquiry.
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