Graham Stafford and his greatest supporter, his mother Jean.
Graham Stafford and his greatest supporter, his mother Jean. Brett Wortman

Stafford calls for release of confidential report

GRAHAM Stafford spent 15 years in jail for a crime he has always maintained he did not commit.

But it appears he has no right to know why the police, and now Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie, have decided not to continue pursuing him over the 1991 murder of Ipswich schoolgirl Leanne Holland.

The answers, Mr Stafford says, lie in a "secret" report presented to Mr Bleijie by the Director of Public Prosecutions, a retired Supreme Court judge and a senior Queen's Counsel following more than 12 months of deliberations.

The trio advised a new trial "would not be in the public interest".

Should Graham Stafford be given a copy of the final report on Leanne Holland's killing?

This poll ended on 20 April 2014.

Current Results

Yes. He deserves to know the full story.

33%

Yes. And it should also be made public.

62%

No. It should be kept confidential.

2%

It's ancient history. Can't he just leave it and move on?

1%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

Based on that advice, Mr Bleijie announced on Friday that he would not proceed with an ex-officio indictment against Mr Stafford, who has lived in Mooloolaba since his release from jail in 2006.

"The relevant considerations included, but were not limited to, the age of the case and inevitable impact on the evidence, given that more than 20 years have passed since Leanne's death and the fact that Graham Stafford had served 15 years in prison," Mr Bleijie said.

Graham Stafford is loaded into a police van after being arrested for the murder of Leanne Holland,
Graham Stafford is loaded into a police van after being arrested for the murder of Leanne Holland, Sunshine Coast Daily Archives

 

Mr Stafford, 52, has called on Mr Bleijie to release the report that has led to the decision, believing it will provide answers to the baffling saga.

"I think after everything I have been through I have a right to know what is in that report," he said.

"I believe the public, which paid for the report, has a right to know.

"If this investigation, which has apparently found there is no point pursuing me over this crime, was open and transparent, then why not stand by it and release the report?"

Mr Stafford was convicted of 13-year-old Leanne Holland's murder after her body was found in bushland near her Goodna home.

Leanne was the sister of Mr Stafford's then-girlfriend.

Police have always maintained he is the only person of interest in the case.

He spent 15 years behind bars, but the Queensland Court of Appeal set aside his conviction in 2009 after he had been released on parole.

In December 2012, the Director of Public Prosecutions decided it would not put him on trial again.

That was despite Police Commissioner Ian Stewart saying investigators had new forensic evidence.

Mr Stafford said he had never been told the nature of that evidence despite undergoing two "brief" interviews during the latest police investigation.

"They said they found more evidence, but it was never mentioned again and it appears they can't say what that evidence was," he said.

"The whole point of continuing to push this was to prove my innocence.

"I think they forget that this re-investigation was our doing. They carried it out, but we forced them to do it.

"We wanted it to be independent and you would have expected we would be provided with the report."

Schoolgirl Leanne Holland.
Schoolgirl Leanne Holland. Contributed

 

Mr Stafford, who works in retail and is in a long-term relationship, has not ruled out seeking compensation but says it is not a priority.

"I probably deserve it after what my parents have been through and what I have been through, but compensation has never been at the forefront of what I am trying to achieve," he said.

"I am trying to achieve justice.

"I have been out of jail since 2005 and if money was my main objective I would have done something about it before this."

In a statement on Friday, Mr Bleijie said he would be making no further comment on the case.

The Daily offered him the chance yesterday to address Mr Stafford's concerns, but the offer was declined.



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