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Bleijie appoints former Justice to review Stafford case

Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie
Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie Greg Miller

A RETIRED Supreme Court Justice will independently review whether the Attorney-General should order Graham Stafford be retried for murdering Goodna schoolgirl Leanne Holland.

Stafford was found guilty of murdering 13-year-old Leanne and dumping her body in bushland at Redbank Plains in 1991.

But the Court of Appeal quashed his conviction in 2009.

Queensland Police closed the murder investigation this week and revealed they had recommended Stafford be re-tried for murder but the Director of Public Prosecutions decided it was not in the public interest.

The director's reasons for refusing a new trial included the fact Stafford had served 15 years in jail and the 20-year time passage since the offence had adversely affected some of the evidence.

While Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie said he respected the director's decision, he announced on Thursday he had appointed former Justice Kenneth Mackenzie QC to review the case against Stafford.

"As I have the power to order the re-trial of Graham Stafford independent of the DPP, I have decided to seek independent advice on the strength of the evidence," Mr Bleijie said.

"Presenting an ex-officio indictment is an important power that has been preserved by legislation and whether I exercise this power requires careful consideration.

"Mr Mackenzie will consider whether there are reasonable prospects of obtaining a conviction should the matter proceed to retrial and if a retrial is in the public interest."

Mr Bleijie said he expected he would receive Mr Mackenzie's advice early in the New Year.

Queensland Police were directed to review every avenue of the murder case in 2010.

Police Commissioner Ian StewartÖ told reporters earlier this week the investigation - which included NSW detectives and Crime and Misconduct Commission officers - identified new forensic evidence which was consistent with the original police case against Stafford.

He said the investigation was "extensive and far-reaching" and even addressed issues raised in private investigator Graham Crowley's book Who Killed Leanne?.

Mr Crowley was a tireless campaigner for Stafford's innocence.

Topics:  crime graham stafford jarrod bleijie leanne holland murder supreme court



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