MEDIA RELEASE: INQUEST INTO THE DEATH OF MARK HAINES BEGINS 36 YEARS AFTER MYSTERIOUS DEATH

  • The coronial inquest into the death of Gomeroi teenager Mark Anthony Haines began this morning at Tamworth Courthouse.
  • The inquest will run for two weeks before Deputy State Coroner Harriet Grahame and will hear from a number of witnesses, experts and police investigators.

(The above photograph of Mark is provided with permission of the family for your use)

***

The long-awaited coronial inquest into the death of Gomeroi teenager, Mark Anthony Haines, will examine the suspicious circumstances surrounding the 17-year-old’s death in 1988.

The inquest will consider the manner and cause of Mark’s death and the circumstances that led to his body being found on the train tracks outside Tamworth.

Counsel Assisting the Coroner, Chris McGorey said in his opening address:

“I expect that [the] evidence, at the very least, will call into question the finding that Mark’s severe head injury was caused by impact with Train 2… it seems difficult to conceive that Mark came to be in that location [when] he was on his own.  Assuming that to be true, someone likely has or has had direct knowledge of those circumstances.  If [a] person or persons out there have information about this is the time to do so.  It is of critical importance for Mark and his family.”

Legal advocates for Mark’s family will draw the Coroner’s attention to the manner in which the police conducted their investigations in the aftermath of Mr Haines’ death, arguing the police’s conclusion that the death was a suicide or due to misadventure failed to consider evidence suggesting the involvement of third parties. They will also explore whether racism played a role in the failures of the investigation.

Lorna Haines, Mark’s sister, said:

We knew Mark and we never believed that Mark would have killed himself or gone out to the tracks that night by himself. We wanted there to be a proper investigation into what might have happened.

We are hoping that other families will not have to go through the same situation as our family has endured over the 36 years of not knowing.”

***

INQUEST DETAILS:

Date: 8-12, 15-19 April 2024
Location: Tamworth Courthouse

Coroner: Deputy State Coroner Harriet Grahame
Video streaming: Contact Tamworth Local Court to request streaming access: local-court-tamworth@justice.nsw.gov.au or 1300 679 272
Interview requests:

  • National Justice Project: Sashka Wickramasighe, Communications Coordinator, info@justice.org.au or (02) 9514 4440

Family members represented by the National Justice Project:

  • Lorna Haines (Sister of Mark Anthony Haines)
  • Ron Haines (Brother of Mark Anthony Haines)

National Justice Project legal team:

  • Jason Hesse, Solicitor
  • Duncan Fine, Solicitor
  • Self Rumbewas, Barrister

***

BACKGROUND INFORMATION:

Mark Haines was found deceased on 16th January 1988 on train tracks outside of Tamworth.

The initial police investigation concluded that Mr Haines died by suicide after being struck by a train. In September 1989, a coronial inquest returned an open finding on his death.

The Haines family has long pointed to shortcomings in the police version of Mr Haines’ death, including the loss of crucial evidence at the time and the failure to consider alternative conclusions to suicide and misadventure.

In 2022, family members secured the support of human rights lawyers at the National Justice Project to advise them on their avenues for justice and accountability.

In November 2022, the NSW Coroner confirmed that the court was reviewing Mr Haines’ death, and in May 2023, a coronial inquest was announced.

JUSTICE

CHANGE

ACCOUNTABILITY

Take action today to help us secure justice for our clients and systemic change for the community.

LEARN MORE ABOUT OUR CASES

Keep

in touch

National Justice Project

"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Scroll to Top

Keep

in touch

National Justice Project

"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.