‘I want this to stop’: Shandee’s mum slams legal system

THE mother of murdered Mackay woman Shandee Blackburn says Queensland's justice system unfairly favours the accused and that she's "disappointed" a legal review of her daughter's failed trial found nothing of substance.

Vicki Blackburn and her family yesterday met with Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions Todd Fuller after multiple complaints about the case finally resulted in a legal review.

Vicki wrote complaints to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions - including via registered post and email - but got no response until she contacted former Attorney-General Yvette D'Ath for help.

Shandee was 23 when she was attacked in the street as she walked home from her shift at the Harrup Park Country Club in 2013.

She was stabbed more than 20 times in a frenzied attack that was witnessed in part by a passing taxi driver.

Vicki Blackburn, centre, with her partner Paul Beardmore and daughter Shannah after inquest findings were delivered. Photo: Daryl Wright.
Vicki Blackburn, centre, with her partner Paul Beardmore and daughter Shannah after inquest findings were delivered. Photo: Daryl Wright.

Police eventually charged her former boyfriend, an accomplished amateur middleweight boxer, with her murder but he was acquitted in 2017.

However, in August, following an inquest, Coroner David O'Connell found Peros was responsible for Shandee's death.

"Miss Blackburn died due to injuries sustained during an incident involving violence with Mr John Peros, who used a bladed instrument," he said in his findings.

"I realise and appreciate the gravity and ramifications of my findings."

Vicki and her daughter Shannah said they felt the trial was not going well from the second day and were so distressed they wanted to stop attending.

She said she felt the legal system did not allow for the jury to get a proper understanding of the case because so much information was not presented to the court.

And she believes cases tried in regional areas do not always get access to the most senior prosecutors.

"I want this to stop," Vicki said yesterday.

"Everyone I speak to agrees the system is overly balanced towards the defendant."

Two weeks after Peros was found not guilty of Shandee's murder, Vicki wrote a letter to the ODPP complaining about the process.

When she didn't hear back, she emailed, then called, then called again.

But it was not until she contacted Ms D'Ath, who was the then-Attorney-General, that she received a response.

John Peros leaves the Shandee Blackburn inquest.
John Peros leaves the Shandee Blackburn inquest.

"She sent a letter to the DPP and cc'd me in saying `please respond to this'," Vicki said.

She met with Mr Fuller yesterday for two hours to discuss the findings of his legal review.

She said she spoke to him about her concerns on how the trial unfolded and that she believed such a difficult and complex case should have been given to one of Queensland's most senior prosecutors.

"He said they give the cases to the prosecutors who are available," she said.

"That won't always give a case the best chance of success.

"And he told us their complaints procedure has changed and they now have four people monitoring that email.

"I'm disappointed."

Originally published as 'I want this to stop': Shandee's mum slams 'unfair' legal system


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