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Hickey inquest adjourned

Extract from Australian Broadcasting Corporation - ABC Online, on 16 July 2004


The inquest into the death of Redfern teenager Thomas James Hickey has been adjourned until the end of August.

Coroner John Abernathy had hoped to deliver his findings on Friday, but has stressed that will be no justice served in rushing to a finding.

Mr Abernathy apologised to the family of the teenager - known as TJ - for letting the matter hang over their heads for another six weeks.

Earlier, the coroner was urged to commend and not condemn the first police officers who arrived at the scene of the fatal accident.

In his final submission, counsel assisting the police Patrick Saidi said the four key police witnesses had been the subject of sustained and consistent attacks and that there was no major inconsistency in their evidence, no matter how large the magnifying glass.

Mr Saidi said that no disciplinary charges should be made against the officers.

He said they should instead be commended and given the respect they deserve for working to save Hickey's life.

Hickey died after crashing his bike into a metal fence and impaling himself.

Public defender John Stratton told the inquest a matter not in dispute at the time of the accident was that there was an atmosphere of suspicion between the Aboriginal community and police at Redfern, and that after wild rumours spread about Hickey's death.

In his submissions, he questioned the evidence provided by Senior Constable Michael Hollingsworth and Constable Maree Reynolds who were driving patrol R-16 that morning.

He said admissions in their statements were deliberate falsehoods.

Mr Stratton said Senior Constable Hollingsworth had provided three
irreconcilable versions of his movements before the fatal accident.

He told the inquest there were other factors in the teenager's death,
including the awareness of the knowledge he was wanted on a warrant,
that his bike had faulty brakes and police were also responsible because
TJ Hickey was being pursued by them down a pathway when he crashed.


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