In late 2018, James Gargasoulas was found guilty of six counts of murder, for running down pedestrians almost 2 years earlier in Melbourne’s Bourke Street mall during the busy lunch hour. Questions had been raised as to whether James would be fit to stand trial based on a subsequent mental health diagnosis and his long history of frequent drug use. Thankfully for the victims’ families, justice had been done. Partly, anyway. But they had no way of knowing how James’ mental health and other mitigating factors would affect his sentence. At the same time, the victims’ families had another fight on their hands. Victoria Police were now firmly in the glare of the media spotlight over their questionable judgement and decision making in the 12 hours leading up to the massacre - key decisions which failed to result in James being arrested for earlier stabbing his brother. But it was uncertain whether senior police would be held accountable by the coroner for how their critical incident management protocols did - or didn’t - protect the public when it mattered.
US National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-7233 (24 hours).
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