Hodson, Williams family seek inquest
Coroner to reveal whether or not an inquest will be held over the murders of Terrence and Christine Hodson, while Carl Williams' family is seeking another review of his murder.PT1M36S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-2tzf3 620 349 September 18, 2013
The family of gangland boss Carl Williams wants another review into how he was murdered by a fellow inmate inside a high-security prison.
But State Coroner Ian Gray indicated there was a strong argument not to hold an inquest into Williams' 2010 death, after being told on Wednesday an inquiry would duplicate previous investigations.
Williams was hit from behind with the seat of an exercise bike by Matthew Johnson inside Barwon Prison's Acacia unit on April 19, 2010.
Slain in prison: Carl Williams. Photo: John Woudstra
Johnson was found guilty of killing Williams and is serving a 32-year jail term.
The Coroners Court heard on Wednesday that Williams' former wife, Roberta, and his father, George, wanted the death further investigated because of concerns the 39-year-old was not properly monitored by security.
Roberta and George Williams are suing the state over Carl's death on the grounds of negligence.
Counsel assisting the coroner, Chris Winneke, said the court had received a submission from Williams' family wanting to know why CCTV cameras inside the Acacia unit were not being monitored and why it took security staff so long to discover his body.
The State Ombudsman found last year that monitoring systems were so poor inside the unit it took prison guards 27 minutes to find Williams' body, even though he was a murderer and a police informer at the time.
Mr Winneke said the family also raised concerns over whether Williams should have been put in the same unit as Johnson, a notoriously violent inmate who loathed police informers.
Ombudsman George Brouwer found last year that officials had been repeatedly warned that Johnson was a threat to Williams, although the former was transferred to the Acacia unit at the request of both prisoners.
In their submission tendered to the court, lawyers representing the Williams family said Carl’s death needed further investigation.
‘‘It is in our respectful submission that it is difficult to identify a death occurring in Victoria more deserving of an inquest than the death of Carl Williams. The death involves matters of high public importance,’’ the submission said.
Mr Winneke and Ben Ihle, a lawyer representing Victoria Police and Corrections Victoria, both told Judge Gray on Wednesday that an inquest was unnecessary.
Mr Ihle said Corrections Victoria, the Office of Correctional Services Review and the Office of Police Integrity had all investigated Williams' murder.
He said the Corrections Department had also accepted 55 of the Ombudsman's 57 recommendations into improving prison management and supported the remaining two points in principle.
"It is difficult to envisage a death in Victoria that has been more investigated, more reviewed and more considered than the one we're talking about," Mr Ihle said.
"In short, there would be no utility conducting another review."
Mr Winneke said it would be futile using the court's time and public resources to again analyse Williams' death.
Judge Gray acknowledged "very, very thorough investigations" had already taken place, and said there was a cogent argument not to look into the matter again.
He reserved his decision on whether there would be an inquest.
Williams' family was not in court.