Kalaru’s Martin Hodgson works tirelessly assisting people incarcerated overseas, but a recent radio interview motivated him to investigate whether a man convicted of a murder closer to home was failed by the Australian justice system.
After appearing on Queensland journalist Amy McQuire’s Let’s Talk program on Brisbane’s 98.9FM to discuss two current Texan death row clients, Rodney Reed and Jeff Wood, he was asked by Ms McQuire if he would look into the case of 47-year-old Kevin Henry.
Mr Henry was imprisoned in Rockhampton’s Capricornia Correctional Centre in 1992 for the murder of a woman called Linda (her surname has been suppressed due to cultural reasons) at the Anglican Church run Toonooba House health clinic, by the bank of the Fitzroy River.
Linda suffered from schizophrenia and had been missing for eight days before her naked body was found by a fisherman on the opposite side of the river from where she was alleged to have been murdered by Henry after suffering a severe assault at the hands of three women on August 31, 1991.
She was married to an academic and had managed a preschool in South Australia.
Her brother’s death while in custody in Western Australia had been a prominent case during the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody.
“Even though it was only 25 years ago most of the witnesses who were in their early 20s at the time have all passed away,” Mr Hodgson said.
The Foreign Prisoners Support Service’s senior advocate began to look into the trial and soon began to doubt Mr Henry’s guilt.
His research quickly lead to the creation of a podcast series called Curtain in collaboration with Ms McQuire, who was raised in Rockhampton.
“For me this story is a home coming, it's a Rockhampton story and a platform to examine the underbelly of the criminal justice system in the town where I grew up,” Ms McQuire said.
“Having worked on large projects like John Pilger's film Utopia and been the editor of Tracker magazine this has been my chance to expose the bloody history of the town I come from.”
After just two episodes, the podcast is quickly gaining interest with listeners not just nationally, but across the globe.
“Investigative journalism is critically important to uncovering these stories and sharing them with the wider community,” Ms McQuire said.
“As an Aboriginal journalist I also feel a greater sense of accountability to my community and to the people these stories effect to tell them in a culturally appropriate and respectful manner.”