This is one of the longest running Miscarriage of Justice cases in Australia. Leanne Sarah Holland, 12 years, was murdered on or about 23 September 1991. On 28 September 1991 Graham Stuart Stafford, then 28 years was arrested and charged with her murder. In 1992 he was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment. He served 14 years and 9 months in Queensland prisons before being released on parole, 3 months short of the minimum required sentence of 15 years.
His conviction was overturned in December 2009 and a retrial ordered. In 2010 the Queensland DPP advised they would not be retrying Graham Stafford.
Since that time he has been fighting for justice. Justice for himself and justice for Leanne Holland. He is not satisfied that this matter continues to hang over his head. He stands accused of the crime but has no means of defending the accusation.
The proceedings have been to the Court of Appeal in Queensland on 2 occasions; applications were made to the High Court of Australia on 2 occasions. In the process he created Australian legal history. No one has ever been to the High Court more than once in the same matter. There would not be a member of the Queensland Judiciary or the Legal profession in general, in Queensland, who is not aware of this case. Everyone agrees there is a problem with the case but sadly no one other than Stafford’s legal advisers will stand up and do something to resolve it.
There is overwhelming evidence to show he did not and could not have committed the murder.
Queensland Police have steadfastly refused to accept there were problems with the investigation. It is no secret that now senior members of the Queensland Police Service were involved in the original investigation.
Successive Queensland Governments have not known how to deal with the case and have accepted advice from Queensland Police that there is no need to take further action in the matter.
Repeated requests to reopen the investigation resulted in the Queensland Police reluctantly agreeing to a review in 2010. As part of the review process they agreed to release the report upon completion. The review was completed in 2012 and they publicly reported they were satisfied with the results of the original investigation. The Queensland Police Service and DPP has repeatedly refused to release the report of the review and have vigorously defended every application through the courts to force the release of the report. As recently as September 2016 they argued against releasing the report in an Administrative Appeals Hearing.
In April 2016 Graham Stafford applied for a Coroners Inquest be held into the death of Leanne Holland. An Inquest has never been held. In October 2016 the Queensland Government refused this request citing it was not in the public interest. A Coroners Inquest is definitely not in the interest of the Queensland Police Service.
There has been enormous media interest in the case spanning more than 20 years. There have been over 100 articles written, broadcast on radio or screened on television regarding the matter. Virtually every media organisation in the country has reported on the matter at some stage. Media organisations have indicated they plan to broadcast further material.
Stafford’s legal advisers, who act for him pro bono believe further pressure needs to be brought to bear on government to rectify this Miscarriage of Justice.
This issue must be resolved. It is a blight on Queensland’s Judicial System. We must have absolute faith in our court process. We must have faith that our Police are acting in the interest of the people and not themselves.
In February 2017 a copy of the report was leaked to Channel 7. Whilst we have read the 10 page executive summary we have not read the 600 page investigative report. Stafford’s lawyers have read the key elements of the report and concluded the executive summary is not an accurate summation of the entire investigation. We were not permitted a copy of either document.