Australia's ‘generous to criminals, cold-hearted to victims’
The wife of a Bourke St attack victim believes Victorians are better off "protecting ourselves" and has accused police of putting their careers and safety ahead of the people who died in the 2017 massacre.
Melinda Tan's husband Matthew Si was killed in Bourke St when he was struck by a stolen car being driven by Dimitrious Gargasoulas, who had nearly killed his brother in a stabbing frenzy and evaded police for hours before he launched his attack.
Ms Tan told the final day of the coronial inquest she had listened to the evidence and formed the view that perhaps "nothing could be done" because with the benefit of hindsight they couldn't say how they would have acted differently.
"In other words, our families had to be sacrificed," she said.
"If this is the best Victoria Police has to offer, then we are better off protecting ourselves."
She said there were some in police who had offered heartfelt apologies - but others were too egotistical to admit their mistakes.
"You cannot effect change with that attitude," she said, accusing officers of placing their own safety and careers ahead of the safety of the public.
"Safety first is the motto...it seems to be their own first before the public's...they should not wear the badge or the title if they are not prepared to risk themselves for the community."
Ms Tan said police and the City of Melbourne were both unprepared for vehicle attacks - and lashed police for their belief they could stop Gargasoulas.
Ms Tan said "the whole plan hinged" around Detective Constable Murray Gentner trying to get Gargasoulas to surrender peacefully.
"You can't negotiate with a psychopath with text messages."
The inquest has heard Gargasoulas was obsessed with Det Const Gentner, but has laos heard Gargasloulas believed he could get away from police.
She said Gargasoulas must have been the "luckiest person in the world" to be first granted bail and then escape police after stabbing his brother, returning to the crime scene to abduct his girlfriend, and then evade them for many hours.
Ms Tan said her young daughter often asks "why did Papa have to die?"
"Apart from the actions of the offender I will leave that answer to Victoria Police."
Junpei Kanno's younger brother Yosuke Kanno, 25, was killed in the tragedy.
His cousin Hitomi Hattori read a statement from him where he said he couldn't shake the feeling his brother was "killed by this country Australia" because of the law and actions of the offender and some police.
He said senior police were trying to "shift the blame to rank and file officers" which was "disgraceful".
"Australia is a nation which is generous to criminals and their families but cold hearted to their victims," he said in a stinging address.
Mr Kanno said everyone could go on with their lives after the inquest "with their families and barbecues and parties" while the families were left empty and broken.
"We are supported by our families and not you," he said in apparent reference to authorities he believed had not followed through with real change after words of condolence were first made.
"I see Australia as a country where you can be murdered just because you walking on the street and the killer gets a warm bed and medical care for the rest of his life."
The fact police couldn't find Akiir Muo, the girlfriend of Gargasoulas, to give evidence proved the dysfunction of police, he said.
Nawwar Hassan Bryant said her baby Zachary Bryant, the three-month old baby killed in the tragedy, was "just perfect".
"From the moment he was born to when we laid him to rest he was perfect."
"We grew to love him so much...he was a perfect little man."
Ms Bryant said she would never ever forget his gorgeous face with his "piercing" eyes and "unblinking stare".
His father Matthew Bryant said he hated to think it took his little boy dying to cause meaningful change.
In tears he spoke of trying to explain to Zachary's sister why he was not here anymore and how they visited his grave each Saturday.
The victims were three-month-old Zachary Bryant; 10-year-old Thalia Hakin; Jess Mudie, 22; Yosuke Kanno, 25; Matthew Si, 33; and Bhavita Patel, 33.