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Questions for SA Police over Clavell 'media campaign'


An inquest into the death of fugitive Rodney Clavell has heard how police missed opportunities to detain him, and questioned why he was subject to such a major operation before a 12-hour siege and his suicide in an Adelaide brothel.

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Opening the inquiry today, counsel assisting Ahura Kalali detailed Clavell’s criminal history and suspected offending before the stand-off with police in 2014.

He questioned why the hunt for Clavell was elevated to the Serious Crimes Task Force, and why it became the subject of a media and public campaign.

Warrants for his arrest at the time related only to car thefts and unlawful possession of a firearm, yet he was considered high risk by police.

As part of the media campaign, Kalali said incorrect information was also released that Clavell had shot at police during previous offending.

He said all that raised the question of whether Clavell felt he was being unfairly targeted.

“Did he think he was being singled out. And did that make him more dangerous,” Kalali told the Coroner’s Court.

“These are all reasonable questions to be asked.”

Clavell was on the run from police for two weeks leading up to the siege and is thought to have shot himself.

A post-mortem examination found he died of a single gunshot wound to the head.

Before apparently taking his own life, the 46-year-old had released four women from the brothel as police called on him to give himself up and end the incident peacefully.

The siege shut down a section of Adelaide’s CBD.

The inquest was continuing.

Readers seeking support and information about suicide prevention can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14. MensLine Australia 1300 78 99 78.


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