Tony Krawitz and “The Tall Man”

In November 2004, Cameron Doomadgee was arrested for drunkenness.
Forty-five minutes later Mr. Doomadgee was dead, with four broken ribs and a liver almost cleaved in two.
Senior Sergeant Chris Hurley has denied assaulting Mr. Doomadgee, maintaining that he fell.

“The Tall Man” is a multi-award-winning documentary based on the novel of the same name by Chloe  Hooper, the documentary winning the 2011 Walkley Award, the AWG Award, and the Best Documentary Award at the Native Film Festival in Toronto.

Yasmin Bright, from our sister station, 2SER in Sydney, spoke to Director, Tony Krawitz, and asked him why he wanted to become part of the documentary team.

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One response to “Tony Krawitz and “The Tall Man”

  1. “It places the audience almost in the position of a jury. They can watch the film and work out the facts for themselves.”

    How can the audience be in the position of the jury when they lacked the key evidence about what was well witnessed and what was the medical evidence when a key issue is the sudden death of a healthy young man? A jury gets all relevant witness testimony and the medical evidence not the opinion of a journalist or prosecution lawyer.

    There were a number of witnesses or a watch house video available for almost all the relevant time. (For 6 or 7 seconds after a fall only the participants and another prisoner were present. He gave evidence at the inquest that the police officer punched the prisoner in the head. The death was due to a liver injury not a head injury. The prosecution didn’t call him at trial however as they created a circumstantial knee drop theory to explain the death and the witnesses evidence contradicted that theory.) Medical experts gave a unanimous opinion about the relevant possible cause of death.

    If a number of witnesses viewed the police officer and the prisoner struggling and accidentally falling and one thought it looked like the police officer fell on top then there isn’t a need to speculate about the fall to the extent that the documentary seems to invite. I don’t believe a jury with all relevant evidence would have been led to the same speculation.

    If the only event at the time that could explain a liver injury was a fall with a 115kg man stilletto heeling his weight via his knee into a liver effectively pinned on a concrete floor during the fall and all medical experts said that could explain the injury then the injury is no mystery even if the prosecution lawyer and a journalist have a different view.

    If a police officer gets punched in the face, struggles and falls and ends up making contact with another man with his knee for a split second while watching and thinking about the other man’s head (he claimed it was to protect it but more likely because he was about to punch it in retalliation) there is no reason to assume he was aware of his knee. There was even expert evidence on that point. A forensic pathologist gave evidence that people are not able to recall exactly what happened in such complex events. Of course most of us already know that from life experience.

    Krawitz made a very interesting documentary with a lot of artistic merit and he is entitled to his opinion but I definitely disagree.

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