Calls for sacking of police minister over Pullen disaster
UPDATE, 5.40pm: The State Opposition has called for the sacking of Police Minister Mark Ryan after the man convicted of killing Mackay man Timothy Pullen was formally cleared for prison release by the parole board.
Speaking on Thursday afternoon, Opposition Leader Tim Nicholls said the decision to release Benjamin Oakley was "a terrible travesty of justice".
The shock decision came after Timothy's parents Leanne and Gary Pullen accused the State Government of using them as "political pawns" to promote new 'No Body No Parole' laws.
Timothy Pullen's body has not been found.
"He's had the outright gall to stand beside them at a press conference in an attempt to promote changes to the laws that the Pullens thought would have given them the location of their son's body so they could do the right thing (and) send him on his way," he said.
"And then hope has been held out to them - a false hope - with comments made by Mark Ryan that a review could take place and the review would see the new laws apply.
"But that hope, today, has turned out to be hollow as well."
Mr Nicholls said Mr Ryan's behaviour was shameful.
"This is a poor reflection on the operation of this Government. It's a poor reflection on the standard of this minister and it's a poor reflection on Annastacia Palaszczuk that she continues to stand behind a minister in this fashion," he said.
The Opposition is putting a motion of no confidence in Mr Ryan before the house, which will be debated Thusrday night.
"The Premier should listen to the opinion of the house if the no confidence motion is successful," Mr Nicholls said.
"The Premier, in convention, should dismiss the police minister and should appoint someone who won't act in such a tawdry fashion."
EARLIER: THE man convicted of killing Mackay man Timothy Pullen has been formally cleared for prison release in November after his lawyers threatened Supreme Court action against the Parole Board.
The shock decision comes after Timothy's parents Leanne and Gary Pullen accused the State Government of using them as "political pawns" to promote new 'No Body No Parole' laws.
The man, Benjamin Oakley, who has not been formally asked since his jailing where the body of victim Tim Pullen was dumped in 2012, heard today that the Parole Board had approved his release for November 13, The Australian reports.
The new decision of the Parole Board, following a meeting of some of its members on Wednesday, was immediately condemned today by Mr and Mrs Pullen.
The Pullens said the fresh decision also made a mockery of the pledges by Police Minister Mark Ryan and the Parole Board's newly appointed president, Michael Byrne QC, of a 'review' of an earlier decision of July 31 to release Oakley in November.
Mrs Pullen told the Mercury today, after hearing the man who killed her son was granted bail she "literally felt ill".
"I'm starting to think that the woman who has held it together for the past five and a bit years is starting to crumble after today," she said.
"The legislation really should have been a triumph, but it's just turned into this huge debacle and really, who are the winners in this sad tale?
"The only one I can see really, is Oakley. Him and his lawyers must be the only people who are happy here because we are definitely not happy.
"The sitting party definitely can't be happy over the fiasco this has caused."
"The only winner in this whole situation is the criminal."
In a statement by the Parole Board, they said they reviewed the decision of parole for Oakley.
"At its meeting of 23 August 2017 the Parole Board Queensland reviewed its decision to grant parole, on conditions, to Mr Oakley made on 31 July 2017 to commence from 13 November 2017," a spokesperson for the Parole Board Queensland said.
"In doing so it had regard to additional material which was not before the Board at the time of its earlier decision.
"On having regard to the whole of the material now available and the legislation, the Board determined to amend the parole order by adding a condition that the prisoner not enter or remain in Mackay except as approved by an authorised corrective services officer.
"The Board did not otherwise vary its decision."
In light of the Parole Board's decision, Mr Ryan issued a statement, again dismissing the accusation his office was involved in political interference, in not alerting the Pullens to the decision of Oakley's parole.
"While I cannot interfere with decisions of the independent parole board, personally I do feel disappointed in the decision.
"I can understand why the Pullens feel the way they do.
"As I have previously stated, the President of the Parole Board Queensland made it clear to me that any decisions that the Parole Board had made for future granting of parole would be reviewed in-light of the new 'No Body, No Parole' laws," he said.
Last Thursday, Shadow Minister for Corrective Services Tim Mander wrote to the Crime and Corruption Commission, calling for an investigation into alleged "deliberate political interference" by Corrective Services Minister Mark Ryan and his office.