Smoking ceremony in Park

kevin vieritz at smoking ceremony in musgrave park
Traditional owner Kevin Vieritz carries the smoking log through Musgrave Park South Brisbane in 2012.

[Publishers Note: At a time where appearance and legal fiction dominate, Assistant Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll took part in a smoking ceremony around a fire in Musgrave Park during the G20 summit. Did they arrest the Commissioner? Well no, of course not …  read the Brisbane Times article below. The journo makes out we had an entire legal team to challenge the building full of lawyers that the Brisbane City Council had at their disposal … his ‘legal team‘ comprised of a solitary lawyer, Rob Carroll, with a couple of bush lawyers and a traditional owner assisting.

This park like others is under a ‘deed of grant in trust’ giving Brisbane City Council control over it. Where it differs from others is there are three deeds and one specifies a small part of the park as being ‘for aboriginal purposes and no other’.

Ian Curr,
January 2015]

Man found guilty over ‘sacred’ Musgrave Park fire

The Sacred Fire at the Musgrave park tent Embassy in March 2012. Photo: Harrison Saragossi

A man has been found guilty of lighting and maintaining a fire in Musgrave Park, South Brisbane, following complicated legal arguments about the validity of Brisbane City Council’s case against him.

Ian David Curr, who is not indigenous, was given the responsibility for lighting and maintaining the fire by Yuggera elder Kevin Vieritz.

The fire was, according to the court documents, lit and maintained on an area that had purportedly been approved by Brisbane Lord Mayor Graham Quirk for that purpose in May, 2012.

However, Cr Quirk rescinded that approval on December 11, 2012 – two days before Curr was seen lighting and maintaining the fire in Musgrave Park.

The council slapped Curr with three charges  –  one of illegally lighting, and two of illegal maintaining, a fire.

Curr’s defence team* had argued the council had no power to enforce local laws on the land because, in 1999, the Queen granted a Deed of Grant of Land in Trust to Brisbane City Council on the condition it held the land “in trust for Aboriginal and for no other purpose whatsoever“.

Even if the council could enforce a local law on the land, Curr’s legal team said he had “an honest and mistaken belief” that he could light a fire at the site.

They also argued the land was not subject to any local law and, even if it was, the Health Safety and Amenity Local Law permitted the lighting of fires for barbecues or theatrical displays.

In his written decision, published last month, Magistrate Christopher Callaghan said he accepted the fire was sacred in Mr Vieritz’s culture.

I am satisfied that the fire was consistent with the use of the land for Aboriginal purposes,” he said.

Regardless, Mr Callaghan said Musgrave Park was zoned “sport and recreation“, while the HSALL only allowed open fires in rural areas of the city.

The council had argued the enforcement of the HSALL was “not inconsistent with the purposes for which the deed of trust was granted“, namely that the council must act consistently with Aboriginal purposes in maintaining and managing the land.

Mr Callaghan agreed with that argument and also dismissed Curr’s defence that the lighting of the fire was a “theatrical” act and, therefore, permitted under the HSALL.

The fire was a symbol of the protest that had been occurring in Canberra over the previous 40 years,” he said.

It was a symbol of solidarity with that protest.

In my view, the lighting of the fire by the defendant on the 13th December 2012, the maintenance of it on the same day and the maintenance of it on 19th December 2012 was never in connection with theatrical or similar public performances or displays.

It was a public display of protest in part. It was a public display of symbolism in part, but it was not theatrical.”

Mr Callaghan found Curr guilty of one count of illegally lighting a fire and two counts of maintaining an illegal fire.

The penalties were not outlined in the decision.

During the G20 summit, then-Assistant Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll took part in a smoke ceremony [smoking ceremony (sic)] around a fire in Musgrave Park.

Cameron Atfield
Brisbane Times and Sun-Herald journalist
January 2, 2015 – 12:00AM

Brisbane City Council v Curr [2014] QMC 28

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