By: KOCH A Source: QNP

Sturgess found Mannix queries "extraordinary' By TONY KOCH MR Des Sturgess, QC, has described some inquiries by the Police Complaints Tribunal into allegations by Barry Mannix as ""quite extraordinary''.
Mr Sturgess represented Mannix at committal proceedings before his appointment as Director of Prosecutions.
He made the comment in November, 1985, in official correspondence to Mannix's solicitors, Hopgood and Ganim.
On November 22, 1985, the tribunal asked Hopgood and Ganim to supply written submissions on four matters: Why no bail application was made on behalf of Mannix.
Why, at the committal proceedings against Mannix, it was not submitted that there was no case to answer.
Why, at the committal, there was no attack on the viability of the confession allegedly made by Mannix.
When the police approached Mannix in Brisbane Jail, why did his lawyers not contact the police and what was done in relation to the police request in this regard.
Hopgood and Ganim referred the tribunal's requests to Mr Sturgess, who replied on November 28, 1985: ""The answers are as follows: ""1. Because I advised it would have been unsuccessful.
""2. Because there plainly was a case to answer. It took the form of signed confessions by Mannix and independent evidence suggesting the attack on his father had occurred after he arrived home.
""3. My approach in the committal proceedings was to begin to build a case showing that the allegations in the confession, which on the instructions I then had were obtained by threats and because of fear, were factually wrong. In other words, I was preparing to challenge it when it became possible to make that challenge.
""I trust that the above is sufficient for your purposes. Frankly, I find these inquiries to be quite extraordinary.''
Mannix was charged with the murder of his father, Kevin Mannix, whose body was found outside his unit block at Palm Beach on June 22, 1984.
His head was bound with masking tape and his throat had been cut.
Barry Mannix, 18, was charged with the murder on July 21, 1984, after supplying a written ""confession''.
The confession, proved to be false, was supplied after he had spent 12 hours at the Broadbeach police station, where he did not have a legal representative present and was not allowed to telephone his mother.
He was released after four-and-a-half months in jail when four other men were charged and convicted over the murder of Kevin Mannix and Gold Coast prostitute Lovina Cunningham.
Barry Mannix then fled to New Zealand at the advice of his legal representatives, including Mr Sturgess, because he was frightened of police harassment.
He complained that the ""confession'' to his father's murder was obtained under physical and psychological duress from police, and the Police Complaints Tribunal investigated his allegations.
In its report, tabled in Parliament last week, the tribunal found the police had no case to answer.
The Opposition justice spokesman, Mr Goss, yesterday released the tribunal's and Sturgess' letters.
He said in view of Mr Sturgess' advice to Mannix to flee from the country to avoid the police and his ""stinging criticism'' of the tribunal's approach, the Government should consult Mr Sturgess on the Mannix case when he returned to work in about a month.
""Mr Sturgess should be requested to provide a submission on the report and a statement of his knowledge of the matter,'' Mr Goss said.
""These latest revelations give further weight to my call for an open judicial inquiry.
""On the evidence presently available, justice has not only not been done, it has not been seen to be done either.''