Malu Sara sea tragedy case referred to CMC
THE families of the five people killed when immigration boat the Malu Sara sunk off the Torres Strait Islands may finally see some justice served.
A month after federal workplace safety regulator Comcare confirmed it was planning to prosecute the Department of Immigration and Citizenship and the boat’s manufacturer Subsee Explorer Pty Ltd, the Queensland Crime and Misconduct Commission has also said it is looking into the case.
The lawyer for three families, Laura Neil said the first of her three clients, John Saub, will also face mediation next month, in a claim to receive compensation on behalf of his four grandchildren, who are now in his care after the death of his daughter, Valerie, who was a passenger on the patrol boat.
"I wouldn’t say confident is the right word but we are hopeful we will settle," she said.
The mediation is due to take place in Cairns on February 10.
The result of Mr Saub’s case may also push along a claim by Fred Joe, who lost his partner Flora Enosa and daughter Ethena in the incident.
Ms Neil’s third client Jerry Stephen will have to face Supreme Court in Cairns by February 12 before his claim can be considered.
A spokesperson for the CMC confirmed it had received a letter from Ms Neil, which was referred to the department by the Director General’s office.
"At the moment the CMC are considering the issues raised by the lawyers for the families," he said.
The commission has not launched an investigation and could not say how long it may take to decide if there was a case to answer.
Those affected by the sinking could not understand why charges were not orignally laid after the strong conclusions of coroner Michael Barnes.
"The people lost when the Malu Sara sunk didn’t die because some unforeseeable, freak accident swept them away before anything could be done to save them," Mr Barnes said.
"Rather, they died because several people dismally failed to do their duty over many months."
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