Mona and Cindy: 32 years a lonely road to justice for Bourke teens

Last Updated on 04/08/2022 by National Justice Project

Senior writer for The Australian Rosemary Neill’s extensive report on the horrific death of two Bourke, NSW teenagers, includes the National Project’s involvement in the case.

Thirty two years after a man ­accused of killing two Aboriginal girls – and molesting the critically injured younger child – walked free from a court in Bourke, NSW, the grieving families’ long-held wish has been granted: a full ­inquest will be held into the children’s horrific deaths. This legal breakthrough follows a decades-long quest for answers into why no one was ultimately held accountable for the deaths of the two Bourke teenagers, Mona Lisa Smith, 16, and Jacinta Rose Smith, 15, who accepted a lift from a 40-year-old white excavator driver in December 1987 and never returned home.

The inquest is likely to probe criticisms of the police investigation and legal prosecution of the defendant, who never spent a day in jail in relation to the girls’ deaths, despite admitting he had lied to police. The inquest may also highlight the fractured relationship between law enforcement and Bourke’s Indigenous community at the time.

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