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Mabo home
...his credibility didn't find great favour...
While the plaintiffs' case had survived, it had suffered a heavy psychological blow. Justice Moynihan wrote that he was 'not impressed with the credibility of Eddie Mabo' and was 'not prepared, on the evidence in these proceedings, to conclude that Eddie Mabo was adopted by Bennie and Maiga Mabo with the consequence of his inheriting as heir to either or both.' He noted also that, in some instances, Eddie Mabo's claims to specific areas had been disputed by other Murray Islanders called by Queensland.

'The only Eddie Mabo that I knew or saw was the Eddie Mabo who gave evidence in the litigation, and the only things I knew about him - and I still know for that matter is what emerged in the course of the evidence. Now I didn't take a very high view of his credibility. I think I said something like I wouldn't be inclined to accept his evidence, unless it was corroborated by other reliable evidence. And I declined to find that he was adopted as a Mabo so as to found a right of succession. So the short answer to your question is on the narrow one dimensional picture of Eddie Mabo, his credibility didn't find great favour.'

'The conclusions I came to about Eddie Mabo and the reasons for my coming to them are in the Determination with some degree of elaboration ...If you're not persuaded that he was adopted as such, well it's difficult to see where he goes from there.'

Keywords: adoption, inheritance, land disputes, Mabo, Benny, Mabo Case, Mabo, Edward Koiki, Mabo, Maiga, Moynihan, Justice Martin, Moynihan's findings, 1990

Justice Martin Moynihan interviewed by Trevor Graham, 1996.
Author: Graham, Trevor
© Film Australia
Source: Moynihan, Justice