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Hidden Conviction Exposed

THE head of Queensland's peak indigenous legal service will resign after it was revealed yesterday he had once been jailed for sexual assault.
Frederick Victor Coolwell, 50, had been the interim manager of the Queensland Aboriginal and Islander Legal Services Secretariat for only a few weeks. QAILLS oversees and represents 17 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander legal services across Queensland.
QAILLS chairman Tony Bond sought Mr Coolwell's resignation after an anonymous source told The Courier-Mail Mr Coolwell had a criminal record. It was later revealed that Mr Coolwell received an eight-year sentence for sexual assault in 1982.
Mr Bond said he had not known of Mr Coolwell's record.
Mr Coolwell said yesterday that he had been innocent of the crime for which he was convicted but would resign so QAILLS would not be brought into disrepute.
"I'm man enough to resign for my previous conviction even though it is over 20 years old and I hope other high profile Aboriginal people in similar situations will do likewise," he said last night.
Mr Coolwell said he suspected the leak to The Courier-Mail was retribution because he had supported Mr Bond and a reform team in the recent election for the QAILLS board.
It is understood some Aboriginal figures had given Mr Coolwell up to five proxy votes believing he would support the former QAILLS board which had seconded John Leslie.
Mr Leslie is the former chief executive officer of the now defunct National Aboriginal and Islander Legal Services Secretariat.
It is understood Mr Coolwell defied powerful Aboriginal figures by delivering the five proxy votes in the 17-vote election to Mr Bond's reform team.
The Bond team replaced Mr Leslie and installed Mr Coolwell as interim head.

Courier Mail
 
 
 

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