The report of the Special Commission of Inquiry into LGBTIQ Hate Crimes, which calls for new inquests into a number of unsolved cases, as well as a clear set of actions to improve shortcomings in the NSW Police Force’s investigative and record-keeping practices, has been welcomed by ACON.

In its three-volume report released today, Commissioner Justice John Sackar made a number of case-specific recommendations. These include establishing fresh inquests into the deaths of Scott Miller, Paul Rath, Richard Slater and Carl Stockton; reinvestigating the death of Gerald Cuthbert; reviewing DNA and other evidence relating to Crispin Dye and Kenneth Brennan; and correcting the Register of Births, Deaths and Marriages for Peter Sheil, Russell Payne, Graham William Paynter, Samantha Raye and Peter Baumann.

ACON CEO Nicolas Parkhill said: “The Special Commission has shone an important light on a dark time in NSW’s history and in the process has uncovered new evidence or information relating to a number of cases. The implementation of the Commission’s recommendations with regards to these cases will provided much needed answers and closure for the victims’ families and loved ones. ACON calls on the NSW Government to ensure these recommendations are fully implemented.”

The report also laid out 12 recommendations aimed at improving shortcomings in the investigative practices of the NSW Police Force, particularly in relation to unsolved homicides and bias-related crimes. These include reviewing evidence and conducting forensic testing in light of the latest technological advances; conducting a systemic review of all unsolved cases and setting up a framework for regular review and reporting; updating records and databases of hate crimes; and providing adequate resourcing for staff and/or units to deal with bias-related crimes.

The NSW Police Force was also called upon to enhance the training and education provided to all its officers relating to the LGBTQ community, including cultural awareness, LGBTQ hate crimes and trauma-informed communication and engagement.

Parkhill said: “This report is an important document that acknowledges the suffering and trauma many people from sexuality and gender diverse communities in NSW have experienced. It makes clear the steps the NSW Police Force need to undertake to properly address this and ensure that healing and justice can begin. This report highlights the unfinished business for the NSW Police Force in delivering justice for our communities.

Parkhill added: “We note in the report the Commission’s detailed observations about its engagement with the NSW Police Force, and the challenges the Commission experienced in those interactions. We are hopeful that the recommendations in this report are adopted in full so that the victims, their loved ones and LGBTQ communities get the answer answers we deserve. We stand ready to work with the government and other agencies to ensure they are actioned.”

While the report did not call for an apology from the NSW Police Force, it did importantly urge the NSW Police Force to consider the value of sincerely and unequivocally acknowledging the shortcomings of their work in the past.

“Any apology will only be meaningful for community when recommendations that materially change practice and increase safety and access to justice have been implemented,” Parkhill added. “Ensuring that any acknowledgements of shortcoming are paired with actions that address these failings supports safety and community trust.”

An additional unreleased volume of the report contains potential information related to future criminal investigations and prosecutions. ACON strongly urges the NSW Government to provide this volume to the NSW Police Force and any other appropriate law enforcement agency so that these matters can be urgently and properly investigated.

Parkhill said the report marks another significant step in the process towards truth and healing.

“ACON, along with a range of partners and stakeholders, have been working towards truth and healing for victims and loved ones of historical hate crimes for many years.

“Across the decades, the attacks committed against sexuality and gender diverse people have left a painful legacy for the loved ones of victims, survivors, their families, and the entire community – all compounded by the slow and inadequate responses to many of these crimes. We will continue to advocate for truth, justice, legislative reform and victim support.”

“We thank the Commission and all the stakeholders who, with much courage, bravery and fortitude, have worked together to shine a powerful light into the darkness of this era for many people in our communities,” Parkhill said.

“In due course, we look forward to seeing the work of the Government in assessing how they respond to the recommendations. Our hope is that the NSW Government will commit to implementing the Report’s recommendations in full.”

Parkhill thanked the many people and organisations who have worked diligently in bringing attention to past fatal violence, and in facilitating justice for families, loved ones and sexuality and gender diverse communities.

“The Special Commission and this report builds on the work of many dedicated LGBTQ community members, groups, organisations and allies over a long period of time. We acknowledge their efforts in advocating for justice for those affected by these crimes,” Parkhill said.

ACON also extends its heartfelt thanks to every individual from inside and outside of our communities who came forward to share their experiences and provide testimony to the inquiry.

“Through the bravery of these individuals, the true extent of the harm inflicted upon our community has been brought to light,” says Parkhill. “They are a beacon of inspiration for us all.”

The Special Commission of Inquiry into LGBTIQ Hate Crimes Report is available to download via this link to the NSW Government website:


David Alexander, ACON Media and Communications

E: T: (02) 9206 2044  M: 0428 477 042

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