Sovereignty goes to Court

Give me an SMedia release: Sovereign Embassy supporters to rally outside court
by Brisbane Aboriginal-Sovereign Embassy on Wednesday, January 9, 2013 at 5:02pm ·

Supporters of the Brisbane Aboriginal Sovereign Embassy will gather outside the Brisbane Magistrates Court this Friday as three Embassy members again face court for defending the Sacred Fire.

Wayne Wharton, Boe Spearim and Hamish Chitts were arrested on December 12 when the Brisbane City Council and over 80 police forcibly evicted the Embassy and desecrated the Sacred Fire.

Since their arrest, the three have been excluded from the Embassy site by the draconian bail conditions placed upon them, which will be challenged in court this Friday. “It is outrageous that these draconian measures have prevented us from carrying out our cultural practice and our responsibility to our people” said Wayne Wharton.

Despite the eviction of the Embassy on December 12 and the continued harassment by police and Brisbane City Council, the Sacred Fire continues to be re-lit and Embassy meetings held each week.

“No matter what they have thrown at us, they are unable to stop this movement. They cannot put out the fire of sovereignty. This is a life and death battle. It is a fight for the lives of our people. The Embassy and the Sovereignty movement give our people strength. That is what the colonial authorities are afraid of and that is why we have a responsibility to keep fighting”.

All supporters of the Embassy have been called on to show their support at the Court – Friday 8:30am outside Brisbane Magistrates Court, corner of George and Turbot Streets.

For more information, phone Wayne Wharton 0408 064 900.

2 thoughts on “Sovereignty goes to Court

  1. Police don't have move-on powers on Aboriginal Land says:

    Three men, including Musgrave Park Aboriginal tent embassy leader Wayne Wharton, face court over protest with police

    by: Brooke Baskin
    From: The Courier-Mail
    January 11, 2013 1:34PM

    Bogaine Spearim, Hamish Chitts and Wayne Wharton appeared in Brisbane Magistrates Court today in an attempt to have bail conditions amended that prohibit them from going to Musgrave Park. The trio were arrested when police dismantled the Musgrave Park Aboriginal tent embassy in a midnight raid last month.

    THREE Aboriginal men (sic) charged when the Musgrave Park tent embassy was dismantled by police in December last year face an uncertain wait after a Brisbane magistrate reserved his decision to grant bail allowing them to visit the site.
    The trio, including Musgrave Park Aboriginal embassy leader Wayne Morris Wharton, and co-accused Bogaine David Skuthorpe-Spearim and Hamish Angus McGregor Chitts, were arrested and charged with contravening a direction under the Police Powers and Responsibilities Act at Musgrave Park in South Brisbane on December 8 last year.

    They appeared before Brisbane Magistrate John Costello on Friday to have bail conditions that banned them from going to Musgrave Park amended because they were ”more onerous than necessary”.

    Barrister Andrew Preston argued the land the Aboriginal people occupied at Musgrave Park was freehold and granted to the Brisbane City Council in trust for Aboriginal purposes on July 29, 1999.

    He said a written agreement had been drafted between Aboriginal people and the Brisbane City Council allowing use of a small parcel of the land, including a ceremonial fire.

    Mr Preston said the area occupied by Aboriginal people at Musgrave Park was not public land and questioned whether the police had any power to direct the defendants to move off the land under the terms of Police Powers and Responsibilities Act.

    ”It’s freehold land – it’s not a park – and it’s colloquially called Musgave Park,” Mr Preston said.

    He said the prosecution case was ”far from strong and robust”.

    Mr Preston argued the three men should be afforded access to Jagera land at Musgrave Park to attend ”legitimate community activities” including meetings and functions while the matter before the courts was being finalised.

    Prosecutor Sergeant Adrian Lang said the council was the governing body over Musgrave Park, adding it was open to the general public, but by-laws prevented structures such as tents being erected or fires being lit without permission.

    He said an authorising officer from the council attended Musgrave Park in the early hours of the morning on December 8 and sought assistance from police to remove a large number of people gathered by fires and in tents.

    Sgt Lang said defendant Wharton stood facing police and council officers and ”screamed” for them to show him a permit allowing them to be on the land.

    He said Wharton and several others linked hands and walked backwards towards the ceremonial fire in the park, yelling the police had no right to be on the land.

    Outside of the park, police spoke with Wharton and gave him a formal direction not to enter Musgrave Park until 12pm, Sgt Lang said.

    ”He was told if he entered again he would be contravening that direction,” Sgt Lang told the court.

    ”The defendant said he did not recognise the land as Musgrave Park.”

    Sgt Lang said Wharton’s co-accused were charged in similar circumstances on the same night.

    Mr Costello adjourned the bail application hearing to a date to be fixed.

    ”I didn’t imagine this application would be accompanied with such complexity,” he told the court.

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