CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — The government introduced retroactive legislation to Parliament on Thursday that would allow the suspected killer of an Australian woman strangled and stabbed to death in Brunei 21 years ago to face trial in Australia.
No one has ever been charged over the death of Anthea Bradshaw-Hall, killed while visiting her husband Jeff Hall in the Southeast Asian country on July 21, 1994.
While Brunei prosecutors have said they have insufficient evidence to bring the killer to justice, Australian authorities believe that they could prosecute a suspect for murder if they had jurisdiction.
Retroactive legislation in Australia is rare and viewed with suspicion.
Parliament passed retroactive legislation in 2012 that enabled Australian courts to prosecute terrorists responsible for slaying 88 Australians among the 202 people killed by two bombs on the Indonesian resort island of Bali on Oct. 12 that year. The law was never tested because the culprits were prosecuted by Indonesia.
The new law would extend that retroactivity beyond October 2012 for crimes of murder and manslaughter against Australians killed overseas.
Bradshaw-Hall was a 26-year-old school teacher when she was killed. Jeff Hall, who now lives in Tokyo, told Brunei police that he found his wife dead in their apartment.
Australian authorities say there is only one suspect in the death. For legal reasons, they do no publicly identify that suspect.
Government Minister Chris Pyne said the bill would be passed this year. Pyne said the suspect did not live in Australia and might have to be extradited to face charges in South Australia.
"We think that this bill being passed can give us a very good chance of having justice for Anthea," her brother Craig Bradshaw told reporters at Parliament House.