A decision regarding the parole application made by convicted murderer Robert Paul Long appears to be imminent.
Long was sentenced to 20 years behind bars after being found guilty of arson and two counts of murder after he set fire to the Palace Backpackers Hostel in Childers on June 23, 2000.
The details of the tragedy, which claimed the lives of 15 young men and women from around the world have been documented in the chart-topping podcast series CHILDERS – The Full Story.
Long’s legal representatives lodged a parole application on his behalf in early June this year.
However, the matter has not yet been heard by the Queensland Parole Board.
I made several requests for an update on the status of his application over recent weeks and wrote a piece on this website last month calling for answers.
I have now been provided with new information.
In an email response, a spokesperson for the Queensland Corrective Services (QCS) said:
“The Parole Board Queensland (the Board) deferred Robert Long’s application for a parole order for further information to inform the parole decision. The Board has received that further information and the matter will be re-listed to a Board meeting.”
I subsequently filed a request to establish if this would be considered at the next scheduled Board meeting or if an extraordinary meeting would be convened for the purpose of evaluating Long’s case.
While it does not make it clear what the next steps are, QCS has indicated a decision is not far away.
“The Robert Long application for a parole order is understandably complex and the outcome of the application is of considerable public interest. In cases which are complex and or involve considerable public interest, it is important there be consistency in the members of the Board who decide these matters. Accordingly, the Board will reconvene to further consider this application for a parole order when all members of the Board are next available.”
I have requested further clarity on these timelines.