17 Jan 2017

'Tragedy': Australian territory open to formal apology for Chamberlains

6:49 pm on 17 January 2017

Australia's Northern Territory is considering making a formal apology to the family of Azaria Chamberlain, who was killed by a dingo in 1980.

Lindy and Michael Chamberlain and their sons Aidan and Reagan.

The Chamberlain family: Lindy Chamberlain, left, and her husband at the time, Michael Photo: File photo

The baby girl's father, New Zealand-born Michael Chamberlain, died of cancer last week.

He and his former wife, Lindy Chamberlain-Creighton, were convicted of involvement in the death of Azaria, who was just nine weeks old when she disappeared.

They were later exonerated and in 2012 a coroner ruled a dingo was responsible for the death.

Acting Chief Minister Natasha Fyles said the territory's government would consider Mr Chamberlain's last wishes, which were reportedly to receive a formal apology and to have a memorial plaque erected.

"We apologise to them. They lost their little girl. What they went through was a tragedy for that family," Ms Fyles said.

She said any apology would not be focused on "saying someone did something bad or wrong".

"I think it is about acknowledging the pain and suffering of a family and that is where the apology would be focused," Ms Fyles said.

"In terms of the formal recognition, obviously in the last 24 hours or so is the first I'd heard that there was a request for that formal apology, that formal plaque, so that's something we're willing to look in to."

However, Ms Fyles said the apology would not focus on the actions of the police.

"I think that those police officers, those involved, they did their best. They ... went about their job with their best interests and working hard," Ms Fyles said.

Northern Territory Police Acting Assistant Commissioner Kate Vanderlaan last week said there was no point in police apologising for the investigation into the Chamberlains.

"There is no point in going back to re-apologising or revisiting those things that have already been discussed many times," Ms Vanderlaan said.

- ABC

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