The Queen & Zak Grieve doco for Foxtel

Doco tells of an Indigenous man facing a life in prison as a result of NT's mandatory sentencing laws, which a judge called an "injustice."

Foxtel will screen a one-hour documentary The Queen & Zak Grieve, which tells the story of a young Indigenous man convicted of murder and facing a life in prison as a result of the Northern Territory’s mandatory sentencing laws.

But it was a decision the judge himself described as an “injustice”.

The project from national crime reporter at The Australian, Dan Box, will first be available as a six-part vodcast for The Australian. Box has has teamed up with In Films (Hitting Home), with production investment funding from Screen Australia.

Director Ivan O’Mahoney said: “This was a unique opportunity for us to work with one of Australia’s best reporters, on a story of national importance and pioneer a new way of long-form documentary storytelling.”

“The Queen & Zak Grieve brings together the talents of reporter Dan Box and the team at In Films for a powerful examination of justice that audiences will find shocking,” said Liz Stevens, Screen Australia’s Senior Manager Documentary. “It’s an important development that The Australian is providing a new platform for audiences to view Australian documentaries.”

Foxtel will screen it as a one hour edition in September.

The team spent weeks in the Top End town of Katherine investigating the killing and the events that led to Zak Grieve being jailed, despite evidence he was not there when the crime took place. They conducted exclusive interviews with many of the people involved, including the judge who sent Grieve to jail, and obtained rare access to crime scene footage, forensic photographs, police interviews with suspects and trial recordings from the case.

The hard-hitting series raises questions about the criminal justice system itself. How could this apparent injustice have happened? Is it time for the mandatory sentencing laws that led to Grieve’s lifelong incarceration to finally be revoked?

The Queen & Zak Grieve is written and presented by Dan Box, national crime reporter at The Australian, whose Bowraville podcast has been downloaded over half a million times. The series is produced and directed by Ivan O’Mahoney and executive produced by Nial Fulton at In Films, the Walkley and AACTA award-winning team behind Hitting Home, Borderland and Matilda & Me, with John Lyons as executive producer for The Australian.

The Queen & Zak Grieve is produced by In Films for The Australian and Foxtel, with production funding from Screen Australia, in association with Create NSW.

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