The NSW premier has confirmed that his government is “considering” another investigation into the deadly Luna Park ghost train fire in light of new evidence.
The blaze, which claimed the lives of six children and an adult in June 1979, was quickly blamed on a power outage by then-police police.
An investigation conducted at the time found this to be unsupported by the evidence and an open conclusion was made.
But a survey of the TBEN series Exposed revealed overlapping eyewitness accounts of young people or bikes seen at night, as well as the smell of kerosene on the popular ride.
Prime Minister Gladys Berejiklian was questioned on Thursday about the new evidence and whether she would support an investigation.
“I understand that the relevant agencies in NSW are considering this,” she replied.
Ms Berejiklian said it was always “really difficult” to decide what needed to be reopened.
“I know if this was my family I would want this to happen,” she said.
“This is why parts of the NSW government are considering our options there and if we can go that route, we will.” But I want to confirm that we give it good consideration.
Liberal New South Wales Senator Andrew Bragg is also in favor of a new inquiry, but said the form of it should be left to the state government.
“The fact that these families haven’t had an answer for 42 years is truly an indictment against the New South Wales justice system,” he said.
In a statement, New South Wales Attorney General Mark Speakman said he was pleased the Commissioner of Police has committed to reviewing “new and compelling” evidence and that the coroner said that it would carefully consider any request for a new investigation.
“In addition, the Attorney General has asked the Ministry of Communities and Justice for advice on any appropriate action,” the statement said.
“Anyone with information about the Luna Park fire, including those in charge of the program, should contact the police as soon as possible.”
The first and only investigation, in 1979, was subsequently criticized by the National Crime Authority in a report which called it “substantially ineffective”.
A former senior police official told TBEN’s investigation that notorious crime boss Abe Saffron ordered the fire, further claiming he escaped with the plan thanks to the aid corrupt police.
Detective Inspector Doug Knight, the officer who conducted the investigation, has been revealed by witnesses to be a “repairman” who would corrupt court cases by suppressing, modifying and manipulating evidence, as well as by intimidating witnesses .
Some witnesses who spoke during the TBEN investigation said they were “intimidated” or “harassed” to change aspects of their original statements.
Many witnesses have spoken publicly about the horror of the night for the first time, including survivor Jason Holman.
His four friends – Richard Carroll, Jonathan Billings, 13, Seamus Rahilly and Michael Johnson – all perished, along with Craig Godson, 4, his brother Damien, 6 and their father John, 29.
Les Dowds, who was there the night of the deadly fire, claimed to have heard of arson from a group of suspicious men.
Aspects of his memory are corroborated by other witnesses.