WARNING: Indigenous readers are advised that this article includes the names of people who have passed away.

An Adelaide man who has spent four decades in jail for a murder he maintains he never committed has been granted parole.

Derek Bromley’s application was heard by the South Australian Parole Board on Tuesday, and chair Frances Nelson KC confirmed the request had been granted because of Bromley’s “exemplary” behaviour in prison in recent years.

The 62-year-old Narungga Ngarrindjeri man is reportedly the longest-serving Indigenous prisoner in the country.

“His institutional behaviour has been very good, we are convinced that he will not present a risk to the community if he is released on parole,” Ms Nelson said.

Bromley has been serving a life sentence for the 1984 murder of Adelaide man Stephen Docoza, but has always claimed he was not present when Mr Docoza died in the River Torrens.

“He continues to maintain his innocence,” Ms Nelson said.

“He’s entitled to do that, it’s not for us to retry the issue.

“We approach it on the basis that he’s been convicted.

South Australia’s Parole Board chair Frances Nelson KC.(ABC News: Lincoln Rothall)

“We have to look at whether he is a risk to the community, whether he’s like to comply with parole conditions, and he does satisfy both those criteria.”

Bromley’s lawyer, Karen Stanley, said she was yet to learn of the decision.

“We have not received any particulars from the parole process, if this is true this is wonderful news and long overdue,” she said.

Bromley’s co-accused John Karpany was released on parole 20 years ago, in 2004, after admitting involvement in the murder.

In December 2023, the High Court ruled against re-opening Bromley’s case in a three-to-two judge decision.

‘Spoken of very highly’

While Bromley has been granted parole, he will have to remain in custody for at least another 60 days.

That time will give time to South Australia’s Attorney-General, the state’s Police Commissioner and the Commission for Victims’ Rights to decide if they wish for the decision to be reviewed.

“He’ll remain as a prisoner. If there’s no review or if there’s a failed review he will then go onto parole,” Ms Nelson said.

An ABC Law Report story in March stated that a 2009 parole board report highlighted Bromley’s list of serious convictions, and noted that since his first prison sentence back in 1974 he had spent only 45 days in the community.

A 2017 parole report also referred to assault convictions against prison guards back in 1991.

But Ms Nelson said his volunteer work had been praised by corrections staff.

Bromley has spent a decade firefighting with the local Country Fire Service (CFS).

“He’s spoken of very highly in terms of his CFS contribution,” Ms Nelson said.

He fought the 2019 Cudlee Creek fires and also went to the Kangaroos Island fires.

Ms Nelson said it was “uncommon” for someone to spend 40 years in prison before being granted parole.

“It’s fair to say that it’s uncommon because most people do apply and are dealt with shortly after their non-parole period,” she said.

Bromley is expected to go to a pre-release centre in Adelaide to initially begin his parole.

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