Updated: May 12, 2022
6 September 2021 by Luke Buckmaster
Available only on Foxtel Now, which partly explains why this very compelling 2017 production (originally released as a short form series) has flown largely under the radar, The Queen and Zak Grieve was presented and written by British journalist Dan Box, a former crime reporter for The Australian. The central message is that the true criminal is the system itself.
A familiar message, perhaps, but rarely so demonstrably and obviously true as in this series. The case involves the titular Indigenous man who was sentenced to life in prison for a murder – committed in 2011 in the small town of Katherine in the Northern Territory – that the judge ruled he didn’t commit, declaring Grieve wasn’t even present at the crime scene.
So, what happened? It came down to mandatory sentencing laws, which, in the NT, do not allow judges to determine the sentences they hand out. So, long story short, while Grieve initially had some involvement in planning the murder, he backed out of it – but because of mandatory sentencing laws, was imprisoned for it regardless.
The Queen and Zak Grieve dives into mandatory sentencing laws and circumstances around the murder itself, which Box investigates through the expected means – travelling to Katherine, interviewing the locals and rummaging through boxes of evidence. The journalist, whose narration and pieces to camera anchor the show from a personable perspective, holds himself very well, conducting himself in that classic British style: respectful and politely determined. Read more here