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Queen & Zak Grieve, The (ATOM Study Guide)

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In The Queen & Zak Grieve, crime reporter Dan Box investigates how a young Indigenous man from the Northern Territory was sentenced to life in prison for a murder the judge found he did not physically commit. Dan spent weeks in the outback town of Katherine, piecing together the facts of the killing, including talking to the woman who paid for it to take place.

As it traces the 2011 murder case through Zak Grieve’s arrest, his trial and ultimately his imprisonment, this documentary lays bare the workings of a legal system that the judge himself said will ‘inevitably bring about injustice’. No forensic evidence linked Zak Grieve to the killing, so why did the police pursue him, and were there others in the town who knew just as much about the murder before it took place?

In court, the case came down to one man’s word against another, but in the Northern Territory, the law gives judge and jury no choice but to convict. Zak Grieve went down for at least 20 years despite the judge finding he was not there when the murder took place. His last chance of an early release may now rest in the hands of a young law student who is working unpaid on his case.

With unprecedented access to the evidence and to those involved in the case, the documentary will challenge your perceptions of this brutal murder. As it reveals the history, and the conspiracy behind the killing, The Queen & Zak Grieve asks ‘Who was the real victim?’ and ‘What is the right price to pay for taking another man’s life?’ By shining a light on the mandatory sentencing regime that saw Zak Grieve incarcerated for twenty-plus-years, the documentary also reveals the cracks running through the Australian system of justice itself.

Curriculum Links

This study guide to accompany The Queen & Zak Grieve has been written for middle and senior secondary students in a number of subject areas including Civics and Citizenship, Philosophy, Values and Ethics and Legal Studies. It raises important issues about ethical understanding and intercultural understanding across a range of subject areas. These understandings are two of the National Curriculum's key General Capabilities.

The Queen & Zak Grieve is available on DVD here. The Queen & Zak Grieve is also available to stream here.

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