Victorian police face murder charges
By Alex Cooper
MELBOURNE — Years of campaigning by the families of two of the 11 men shot by police between 1987 and 1989 have been partially successful. The director of public prosecutions, Bernard Bongiorno, announced on July 20 that nine serving police officers and two former police officers have been charged with the murder of Graeme Jensen (shot by police in a car park at Narre Warren on Melbourne's outskirts in October 1988) and Gary Abdallah (shot in his Carlton flat in April 1989).
Abdallah's family is also considering taking out civil suits to claim compensation from the police and the government for his unlawful killing.
The deaths of these two men and nine others have been the subject of a coronial inquiry. The coroner is expected to release his findings in December, but so far no charges have been laid over the deaths of the other nine people killed by police.
A row has erupted between the Police Association and the government over the legal costs of the 11 police charged, which are expected to run to over $1 million.
The Police Association says it was given a guarantee by the previous Labor government that legal costs of anyone charged as a result of the coronial inquiry would be covered. The Kennett government claims, however, that the agreement applies only to the coronial inquiry itself.