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The Battle for Musgrave Park: bail conditions varied for traditional owner

On 29 April 2013 Kevin John Vieritz was charged with obstruct police under section 790 of the Police Powers and Responsibilities Act for defending the sacred fire.

Area where sacred fire is permitted

Shaded area where sacred fire is permitted

Vieritz was placed on watchhouse bail.  The prosecution sought a condition of bail that the defendant not enter within the boundaries of Cordelia Street, Ernest Street, Vulture Street, Edmondstone Street and Russell Street, South Brisbane, until this matter is finalised.

The bail condition that Vieritz not enter within the confines of four streets, those streets effectively bounding what is colloquially called Musgrave Park until this matter is finalised was enlarged (re-applied) by several magistrates until last Friday 4th August 2013.

Magistrate Renardo ordered by consent to the following bail conditions for Kevin John Vieritz (whitefella name) Arjin Wooragard (Blackfella name):

The magistrate sad that the existing bail conditions are onerous.

These state that Kevin Vieritz is prohibited from returning to his country (Musgrave Park). The varied bail conditions are:

  1. Kevin John Vieritz, you are permitted to go to area bounded by Cordelia, Russell, Edmonstone Streets and Brisbane State Hugh School (Musgrave Park) [See map];
  2. you shall refrain from lighting any fire;
  3. and you will not engage in any ceremonial act;
    (i) that impacts on the Health & Safety of other members of the community; or,
    (ii) infringes local bi-law [Health Safety & Amenity Local Law Act 2009]Signed by Kevin John Vieritz on 4th oct 2013.

Legal Advisors entered into their own agreement with Kevin Vieritz advising him not to light the sacred fire [this agreement was also signed by Kevin Vieritz prior to his entering into the new bail agreement].

These conditions do not differ greatly from those entered into by Wayne (Coco) Wharton and Hamish Chitts for their role in defence of the sacred fire in December 2012.

Magistrate Costello ordered that each of these defenders of the sacred fire were on bail on his own undertaking with:—

a special condition that should the defendant(sic) enter Musgrave Park or the deed of grant area, the defendant undertakes not to light or maintain any fires, open or in an incinerator, or erect any structures including a tent.

All of this is unremarkable except that Kevin John Vieritz has permission to light the sacred fire under a contract with Brisbane City Council in a letter dated 18 May 2012: permit letter from mayor and permit area

This was re-iterated by Lord Mayor Quirk 7 months later.

"We also agreed that you would 
maintain a fire for cultural purposes" 
          - Graham Quirk, 18 Dec 2012

So the lawyers, counsel, prosecution (did he take instructions from council?) and magistrate all sought to take away rights that Kevin John Vieritz already had.

Ian Curr
7 October 2013

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