February 18, 2010 3:11pm | COURTNEY TRENWITH | Brisbane Times
Without “startling” fresh evidence it is unlikely the person who killed Gold Coast woman Shaheda Hussain will ever be punished, lawyers are concluding.
A day after Mrs Hussain’s daughter Kaihana Tahseen Hussain was acquitted of her murder in the Supreme Court, legal avenues to prosecute her killer appear to be closing up.
A jury took little more than an hour to acquit Ms Hussain of the murder of her mother and stabbing of her father, Dr Muhammad Hussain, at their Southport unit on October 9, 2006.
The decision has left the community wondering who, if anyone, will be brought to justice for the crime.
The Director of Public Prosecutions, which lost the case againt Ms Hussain yesterday, has handed back the file to police.
DPP boss Tony Moynihan SC is refusing to comment on the collapsed case or speculate on the possibility of prosecuting a different person for Mrs Hussain’s murder.
Attorney-General Cameron Dick also is refusing to be drawn into the case, declining to comment on whether he is concerned about the likelihood that no one will face the brunt of the law for the three-year-old slaying.
Attention is now back on police, who said this morning they would continue to investigate the incident and take into account the findings of the court.
However, there appear to be few, if any, viable leads.
The court heard during Ms Hussain’s trial that her father was the only other person in the family’s unit at the time of the murder.
It was revealed during his daughter’s trial that Dr Hussain had received a written guarantee from police that he would not face criminal charges.
But police today issued a statement that “there was no application or consideration of indemnity from prosecution for Dr Hussain made in the Hussain matter”.
“During the course of the investigation Dr Hussain was informed that he was regarded as a witness in the case, not a suspect,” the statement said.
“Police are considering the findings of the court, and will continue to investigate any new information.
“There is no avenue of appeal regarding yesterday’s decision.”
Criminal lawyer Tim Meehan said it was extremely unlikely Ms Hussain could be re-tried.
“It’s unlikely that she will face further prosecution unless there’s startling evidence brought forward that was not brought to light at the time,” Mr Meehan said.
“[However] you would expect police would have been very thorough in the investigation.
“It seems this will be simply one of those matters where there is no conviction… because the truth is never really known.”
Potts Lawyers solicitor Mark Williams said Queensland’s double jeopardy laws prevented prosecutors from appealing Ms Hussain’s acquittal or police re-charging her.
“If further evidence came to light the person would then have to be re-charged to have the matter re-heard. Again, that would fall into double jeopardy [so] she couldn’t be re-charged,” Mr Williams said
“That’s why it’s such an important event because she has been acquitted on the facts.”
During his daughter’s trial, Dr Hussain argued she fatally stabbed her mother then blindfolded him on the pretext of giving him a present before stabbing him in the stomach.
Ms Hussain pleaded not guilty to murder and attempted murder and alternate charges manslaughter and grievous bodily harm.
She claimed her father committed the murder and then turned the knife on himself after years of domestic abuse from her parents who were angry at her desire to convert from Islam to Christianity and to be with her boyfriend in Sydney.