Lex Wotton Trial

Lex Wotton, pictured outside the Brisbane District Court yesterday with his daughter.

For coverage of this important trial click on

To understand why Lex Wotton has been charged see the Workers BushTelegraph article Mulrunji

The following video is of the song “Aboriginal Land — always was, always will be”

One response to “Lex Wotton Trial

  1. Unlawful assembly raises its ugly head in Queensland 30 years after the street march ban by the Bjelke-Petersen Government.

    Lex Wotton has been charged with riot under the Qld Criminal code of Queensland. The definition of Riot under s 61 of the Criminal Code is:

    “When an unlawful assembly has begun to act in so tumultuous a manner as to disturb the peace, the assembly is called a riot…”

    The ‘unlawful assembly’ alleged by the crown in the Lex Wotton trial is said to have occurred in and around the Police station and Courthouse on Palm Island.

    Palm Island is aboriginal land. When I went to the island in 1980 I was there with the permission of the Palm Island council during NAIDOC week. This was the period of the Bjelke-Petersen regime. I participated in a football game where I was the only non-indigenous participant.

    It could be said that football games especially state of origin are riots. Players come together with a common purpose to strike fear into the hearts of their opponents sometimes with injury as the result. Yet this is not riot because the community accepts this behaviour as sporting contest. Not so when people on Palm Island express their opinion that a police officer has killed a member of their community.

    The unlawful assembly is alleged to have been performed on 28th November 2004 by the traditional owners of the land, people born on Palm Island. Judge Shanahan told the court yesterday that the test for the unlawfulness of the assembly is an objective test by the general community not the Palm Island Community. The judge has denied traditional owners of their right to determine whether assemblies on Palm Island are acceptable or not. The Mayor at the time and Elder, Erika Kyle, never read the riot act to the Palm Islanders assembled to hear the coroner’s report into the death of Mulrunji.

    Judge Shanahan’s views relate to the Qld Criminal Code which is derived from English law during the Industrial Revolution. The law was used against Luddites who opposed the introduction of large industrial machines in the cotton mills of the North of England.

    The Qld Criminal Code says that a riot occurs:

    “When 3 or more persons … cause persons in the neighbourhood to fear on reasonable grounds that the persons so assembled will tumultuously disturb the peace…”

    Detective Sergeant Robinson attributed words to Lex Wotton in evidence today (10 October 2008) — words that conveniently fit this definition of riot.

    Qld Police have a long documented history of ‘verballing’ in this manner particularly where there is not independent record of the words spoken by an accused.

    Lex Wotton’s trial continues at 10 am on Monday, 13th October 2008.

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