Mulrunji

“Yet clever than pictures them show off
making fun of old Boonah
sitting outside waiting for
dreaming to come to reality”

from “Remember Something Like This” by Lionel Fogarty [old Boonah = peace-maker] “Minyung Woolah Binnung” = “What Saying Says”. Southport, QLD: Keeaira Press, 2004.

Mulrunji was a Palm Island man killed by police in November 2004. The campaign for justice that ensued reached its peak on Invasion Day, 26 January 2007, when the Qld government recommended that Queensland police officer, Snr Sgt Chris Hurley should go to trial on the manslaughter of Mulrunji.

It is now, one year later, Invasion Day 2008

Beattie is gone, replaced by Bligh.

The police union is out there trying to get the findings of the coroner, quoted in the letter below, revoked.

The man who killed Mulrunji, Sgt Chris Hurley, was acquitted of manslaughter in Townsville last year, even though he admitted in the witness stand to being the cause of Mulrunji’s death by ‘falling’ on him.

Here is the letter sent prior to Invasion Day 2007.

Ian Curr
26 January 2008

Please find below a letter to the Queensland Premier, Peter Beattie, during the Mulrunji Campaign.

*****************

PO Box 5093 West End 4101

Your Ref: MCU

Peter Beattie MP

Premier and Minister for Trade Queensland Government

Dear sir,

We refer to your proforma letter dated 31 October 2006 in reply to the petition of 1160 people delivered to you by Alec Doomadgee in the company of 150 other petitioners at the gates of parliament on 10 October 2006. The thrust of the petition was that you instruct the Police Commissioner to terminate the employment of Senior Sergeant Hurley on the basis that he killed Mulrunji Doomadgee in the police watch house on Palm Island on 19 November 2004 as indicated by the acting coroner in her judgment dated 3 October 2006. We note that you have taken no such action. Many of us were in attendance when you stated the following at the gates of parliament:

“Many people said at the beginning (when Mulrunji died) that there would not be due process…I said at the time that the coroner would go through due process and the matter would be followed appropriately and that’s what has happened.”

Please indicate to us why the following actions (of due process) have not yet been taken?

  1. Why Snr. Sgt. Hurley was not charged from the outset by the internal police prosecutions unit?
  2. Alternatively, why the DPP has not charged him long before this? Why the police commissioner has failed to stand Snr Sgt Hurley down from day one in the same way as any Qld public servant would have been stood down (given the serious allegations made when Mulrunji was killed by Snr Sgt Hurley)?
  3. Why those people who rioted on Palm Island have been charged and some already punished, while no action has been taken against the police who witnessed Mulrunji crying out for help from the cell after being fatally injured, with no help being given.
  4. Why no effort has been made to discover what motivated the police in attendance for their conduct as they saw images from the cell video of Mulrunji, writhing in pain as he lay dying on the cell floor (p26 of her “Finding of Inquest”)?
  5. Why Snr Sgt Hurley has not been charged with perjury for the lies he used to accommodate the medical evidence in the second autopsy (p22 of her “Finding of Inquest”)?
  6. Why both your government and previous Labour governments have not implemented the detailed recommendations of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody in 1991 (p28 of her “Findings of inquest)?

    This list of ‘due process’ as you called it (or more correctly the failure of due process) on 10 October 2006 at the gates of parliament is not exhaustive in these matters.

We note that in reply to our petition you state:

“A high level response team is currently undertaking an urgent assessment of the recommendations of the Acting State Coroner’s report in this tragic death.”

  1. Why does this statement in your letter still fail to acknowledge that Mulrunji was killed and that the finding of inquest was that Senior Sergeant Hurley’s changed recollection and reconstruction of where he (Mulrunji) had fallen occurred after he knew exactly what injury had caused Mulrunji’s death (i.e. the three punches delivered by Snr Sgt Hurley)[p26 Finding of Inquest].
  2. Why have Snr Sgt Hurley’s colleagues from the Townsville CIB not been charged with conspiracy to pervert the course of justice in their collusion with said Snr Sgt to cover up his crimes? (pp 9, 10, 12, 16, and finding 28 at p31 of Finding of Inquest).
  3. Why you have not issued an apology to members of the Palm Island community for your precipitate and unreasonable actions in sending the riot squad into that community to harass them when it has proven that their concerns about the attempted cover up of the killing of Mulrunji proved justified.

Please indicate when the assessment of the high level response team will be complete and when we may see a reply to the questions listed above?

Yours faithfully, Name and email address to be placed in the space provided below.


Footnotes: The riot only occurred because the people of Palm Island knew that a murder had occurred and that it was going to be covered up while the rest of Queensland was being spoon fed by senior police through the media details of:

1) What a great bloke Hurley is and how he loved aborigines.

2) The terrible ordeal police were put through during the riot

3) The character assassination of Roy Bramwell (the witness to Hurley punching Murrinyi).

*****

TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER LEADERS AND ABORIGINAL LEADERS
WILL MARCH ON PARLIAMENT HOUSE
GEORGE STREET
BRISBANE CITY

1 PM ON FRIDAY
22ND JUNE 2007

TO DEMAND THAT PREMIER BEATTIE
MEET WITH ALL INDIGENOUS COUNCILS
AND JUSTIFY THE NEW GOVERNMENT
AMALGAMATIONS OF COUNCILS

WE DO NOT WANT TO LOSE OUR LAND
WE DO NOT WANT TO LOSE OUR CULTURE
WE MUST STAND AND FIGHT FOR OUR RIGHTS
AND FOR THE RIGHTS OF OUR CHILDREN

COME AND SUPPORT OUR COMMUNITIES
HANDS OFF OUR COUNCILS
PAY THE STOLEN WAGES
GIVE US BACK OUR DEPARTMENT
GIVE US BACK OUR MINISTER

COMMUNITY NOTICE

URGENT COMMUNITY MEETING

JAGARA HALL

MUSGRAVE PARK

11 AM

FRIDAY 22ND JUNE 2007

AGENDA

(*) THE FORCED AMALGAMATION OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT AUTHORITIES

(*) DEATHS IN CUSTODY

(*) THE PALM ISLAND TRIAL

(*) POLICE

(*) ANY OTHER COMMUNITY BUSINESS

This meeting will be attended by representatives from local government authorities from across Queensland. There will be senior people and leaders from the Torres Strait and from mainland communities.

Please come to the meeting and support our people on the Islands and people on the DOGIT communities.

  • People intend to march on Parliament and demand a meeting with the Premier and his government.
  • Beattie and his government have sold our people out, they have not repaid the Stolen Wages! They have wiped out our Minister for Indigenous Affairs! They have closed down the Department of Indigenous Affairs!
  • It is time for this government to be held accountable!!

( All inquiries – Sam Watson 0401227443 )

53 responses to “Mulrunji

  1. Pingback: Palm Island — on the inside and out | Workers Bush Telegraph

  2. cheryl kaulfuss

    It saddens me that even as Lex Wotton is still incarcerated that there has been no real justice for Mulrunji or the Doomadgee family. As a member of Indigenous Social Justice Association Melbourne I will always be grateful to have had the opportunity to hear Lex speak when he was in Melb. for a speaking tour prior to his trial. The stories he told were not pretty but all those who heard them gained an insight of life as an Aboriginal person on Palm Island. The trauma Lex and his family experienced at the time of his arrest will no doubt be with them all their lives. Mulrunji is arrested and dies unecessarily, the investigation of his death is undertaken by Hurley’s mates, Lex is the one who ends up doing time – and the national anthem of this country is ‘Advance Australia Fair’ – fair for some maybe but certainly not fair if you happen to be one of the original people of this nation! Lex you are a hero – your strength has inspired, and will continue to inspire, huge numbers of people in this country and internationally.

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    • Thanks for your comments.

      The findings of Mulrunji’s third inquest is due to be handed down on 14 May 2010 in T’vlle Courts Building.

      Lex Wotton’s fixed date for parole was set by Judge Shanahan in Nov 2008.

      Subject to parole hearing the first possible date of release was set at July 2010.

      in solidarity,
      Ian Curr
      Editor
      Workers BushTelegraph

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  3. Related to Mulrunji’s death in dustody is the death of Daniel Yock in 1993 in Brisbane.

    The police, media, courts and state government used similar means to cover-up that death in custody. This was during the period of another Labor government. By the time Hurley killed Mulriunji in 2004, Labor politicians like Police Minister Spence and Premier Beattie were well versed in cover-ups of this nature.

    Using a mixture of appeasement and due process no one was held to account for either death.

    It is instructive to read this report by John Nebauer in the Green Left Weeklyat the time Daniel Yock was killed:

    Daniel Yock died in custody on the night of Sunday, November 7, after being detained by police officers in Bereton Street near Musgrave Park in South Brisbane along with another 17-year-old Aborigine.

    According to police reports, Daniel died on the way to hospital, but according to the youth who was arrested with him, Daniel was dead before the police vehicle arrived at the car park of the Brisbane city watch-house.

    Daniel Yock’s death produced an immediate response, with about 250 Aborigines and supporters marching to Roma Street police station, occupying the street and holding a rally on Monday. A fight between police and some demonstrators at the nearby Roma Street
    Transit Centre was caused by police provocation, according to Aboriginal community representative Robbie Williams.

    Williams told Green Left Weekly, “The police were throwing cans and were taunting our people. Some were yelling `Go home you boong’, and `Go home you black bastards’. It seemed like they wereout to provoke us.

    From /* Written 6:08 pm Nov 15, 1993 by greenleft in peg:greenleft.news */ GREEN LEFT WEEKLY Issue #123 November 17, 1993
    Read more at http://nativenet.uthscsa.edu/archive/nl/9311/0182.html

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  4. Lex Wotton testifies “years of government neglect” on Palm Island led to charges against him and scapegoating palm islanders.

    On August 9th 2008 Lex Wotton, invited by Indigenous Social Justice Association Melbourne, spoke at the MUA Auditorium prior to his trial relating to the riots in Palm Island.

    He was charged with “riot with destruction” and describes in his own words the events that day.

    What he said on that day is recorded here http://www.engagemedia.org/Members/d4nlaurence/videos/Wotton1.mp4/view

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  5. The islanders were upset at the killing of their brother, Mulrinji, by Snr Sgt Hurley.

    Sgt Robertson gave evidence on 26 November 2008.

    He produced a video that he had made of the Palm Island protest after Mulrunji was killed. It showed that the people on Palm were upset about the killing of Mulrunji.

    The video also showed 6 hours of events condensed down to 13 minutes. The was no sound played on the video except for some shouts by police to watch out after a bit of ‘rocking’.

    The video showed police armed with revolvers, batons, capsicum spry, handcuffs. According to Det Sgt Myles the police station police moved up Police lane and Mango Ave in a wedge with armed officers on the outside.

    later the video showed a policeman casually getting dressed into his riot gear — he was in no hurry. It also showed police just stand there as the protest walked down police lane and up to the barracks via Mango Avenue and finally to the hospital.

    Lex Wotton is not guilty, he was upset at the death of a palm island brother!

    Ian Curr
    20 October 2008

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  6. Going back to Day 6 of the Lex Wotton trial, both defence barristers, King and Steirns (from the NSW bar) made a submission that the indictment of riot with destruction was null and void. This occurred after the crown introduced a witness that said Lex Wotton had forced him to burn down Hurley’s house on Palm.

    The defence had just lost an argument on Voir Dire that the witness’s evidence should not go to the jury because he was intellectually disabled and incapable of giving coherent evidence.

    Both defence arguments sounded weak and paternalistic. Perhaps they were a tactical master stroke designed to flush out closing submissions by the prosecution to the jury, but from where I sat they were none convincing.

    The defence underestimated the guile of the witness and his police minders making the assumption that, because a psychologist claimed he was intellectually impaired, meant he was stupid to boot. He was not.

    Instead the witness’s basic claims would have stood the test of cross examination had it not been contradicted by other crown witnesses and some of his own. The jury has already been given a warning about this person’s evidence, and the incentive such a person might have for cooperating with the police and minimising their own punishment.

    The defence team are good at cross examination of police witnesses but not of the indigenous witnesses; not the least of which because they cannot understand the Palm patois (speech or talk) and accent. The lawyers (on both sides) constantly ask what the witness was saying.

    I do not understand the argument by the defence or the ruling by the judge concerning riot. Under s 249 of the Qld Criminal Code 12 persons or more are required to make up a riot. Both the defence and judge seemed to be saying it takes only 3 persons or more??! It beggars belief that 3 person could constitute a riot. Perhaps the judge should go down to a shoe sale at Myers one day. Now there is a riot and it is not by three people. See comments titled “Media, police and lawyers exaggerate riot“.

    It is one thing to accuse a person of encouraging or abetting a specific act of violence (e.g. making them a party to an offence of arson etc) and yet another to prove the “common purpose” element of riot. This seems to be the defence case and to be fair they are arguijng it in a persistent and dogged fashion.

    I do not think that the defence should rely upon the possibility of winning an appeal against conviction by jury because the issues of whether there was a common purpose, whether Lex Wotton was part of it, etc are all questions of fact for the jury (under Qld Criminal Law), and a jury’s determination about them is unlikely to be disturbed on appeal.

    The only likely avenue of appeal would be if the judge makes an error in his summing up but judge Shanahan is unlikely to make such an error given his experience and co-editor role in the definitive text “Carter’s Criminal Code”. But you never know …

    As far as the Courier Mail is concerned, it obviously wants Lex Wotton to be found guilty. This paper, staffed by award winning closet racists, did their best to paint Hurley in a positive light before his trial and have now turned around and tried to paint Lex Wotton as the mastermind of the unrest on Palm. The Palm people were and are still carrying out opposition to police occupation of their island in much the same way as the people in Gaza do, by throwing stones at the police house. The comparison does not end there. The police were armed to the teeth that windy tropical day on 26 November 2004. They had revovlers, automatic weapons, batons, capsicum spray, handcuffs, makeshift weapons, protective jackets, army style boots, vehicles, aircraft, video cameras — the complete armoury of the state. That against a few mothers and children throwing rocks, a man with one spear, and the will of the people against them.

    Ian Curr
    October 2008

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  7. Already abysmal reporting gets worse in the trial of Lex Wotton.

    Take today’s report in Brisbane’s only paper, The Courier Mail.

    Claims made by the Courier-Mail are analysed below. Biased reports like “ACCUSED Palm Island rioter Lex Wotton ordered another man to burn down a police officer’s house” is syndicated far and wide and is being broadcast on all News Ltd websites and other media.

    During Day 7 of the trial the defence barrister, Clive Steirns, submitted to the judge that Lex Wotton was not guilty of riotous assembly because the charge did not disclose a common purpose (to riot).

    The indictment names only Lex Wotton.

    Yet the judge raised the hypothetical question, what if the other rioters were masked? Would that prevent the crown from bringing a charge of riot? Yet the only people on Palm Island who were masked were the police.

    Riot in Qld requires three or more people. On the evidence before the court, Sterins submitted, there was no common purpose because the ‘accomplices’ had all been acquitted. So who is Lex Wotton supposed to have joined in common purpose with? Terence Kidner? See his evidence below.

    During the argument, the crown barrister, Cowen, actually said that the indictment is “impossible to particularise” but that the common purpose was to riotously assemble.

    According to the crown, in Queensland, three people can be a ‘riotous assembly’.

    This beggars belief, that 30 years after the Bjelke Petersen regime banned 2 or more people marching in the street that the Criminal Code still contains such a nonsense.

    In NSW it is marginally better. It takes 12 people to riot. So the racists who rioted at Cronulla beach a couple of years ago could have been charged with riot, but were they?

    The only person the crown can now identify as joining in this ‘riot’ is Terence Kidner. This is because the others have been acquitted.

    Yet the judge said that “there is no point in asking Mr Kidner complicated questions” it would be “unfair because they can’t be understood” meaning that Terence Kidner was not able to understand such questions.

    Here is the Courier Mail article which fails to mention these crucial points in Day 7 of the trial.

    Lex Wotton ‘ordered torching of cop’s house’ on Palm Island
    by Christine Flatley
    Courier Mail October 15, 2008 posted 03:50pm (before the court adjourned)

    ACCUSED Palm Island rioter Lex Wotton ordered another man to burn down a police officer’s house, a court has been told.

    Comment: The witness was unable to give any coherent words spoken by Lex Wotton that constitutes an order to burn Hurley’s house despite the courier mail’s claims that these words were said by Lex Wotton. In fact Mr Kidner said at one point that no words were spoken between he and Lex Wotton at the time in question. Certainly no words asking him to burn down Sgt Hurley’s house. The journalist claims that

    Mr Kidner said: “He just said go and burn it.”

    Comment: However it came out during the latter part of Mr Kidner’s evidence during cross examonation that the only words he heard Lex Wotton say was in a speech to a community assembly when the first coroners report was read out, saying that Mulrunji’s killing was the result of an accidental fall.

    Terrence Kidner today gave evidence in the trial against Mr Wotton, who is accused of inciting the riot in November 2004, following the death in custody of 36-year-old Cameron Doomadgee.

    Mr Kidner told the Brisbane District Court Mr Wotton had handed him a petrol tin and told him to “burn up” Senior Sergeant Chris Hurley’s house.

    Comment: Yet the White Victor mower 5 litre petrol tin claimed by Mr Kidner to have provided the fuel for the fire came from under Sgt Hurley’s house, it is a different colour and type to that seen by other witnesses and no pictures or video has been shown that connects Lex Wotton with the tin that Kidner claims he used to pour on Hurley’s house. In fact at one point Mr Kidner told that court that Mr Wotton gave him a red tin containing petrol not the white Victa mower tin that Kidner claims he used.

    The court was told the residents of Palm Island, off Townsville, were “upset” about Mr Doomadgee’s death, and that they blamed Sgt Hurley.

    Sgt Hurley was later cleared by a jury of any responsibility.

    Comment: This is incorrect. A jury found that there was insufficient evidence to convict Hurley of manslaughter beyond reasonable doubt. The finding by the Coroner that Hurley caused Mulrunji’s death still stands despite police union attempts to get the findings quashed.

    Mr Kidner today said Mr Wotton had told him to pour the petrol into the house, and that he had obeyed because he had been frightened by Mr Wotton.

    Comment: Mr Kidner said that he frightened of the police and was afraid that they would put him in jail for a longer period than the 14 months he has already spent there.

    “He was going off … he was wild,” he said.

    Comment:
    A more plausible version of evidence given by Kidner but not quoted accurately by the Courier, namely “[Lex] was trying to get the truth out of the police.” And also: “The man [Mulrunji] died in custody. Everybody was upset”.

    Mr Kidner told the court he also saw Mr Wotton trying to smash windows at the police station.

    During the trial the court was told Mr Wotton also gave police officers one hour to leave the island or be killed.

    Detective Sergeant Darren Robinson gave evidence about rocks being pelted at police as they were holed up in the barracks.

    He said the angry mob burned down the courthouse and police station, causing officers to fear for their lives.

    Comment: This is not true nor is it plausible that Terence Kidner knew what police felt or what caused it.

    The trial continues.

    See also the National indigenous Times report LEX WOTTON TRIAL: Key police witness accompanied to trial by officers, court hears

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  8. Media, police and lawyers exaggerate riot

    There are many claims by police, media and in the courts by lawyers that there is video footage of a riot by Palm Island people in November 2004.

    I have been unable to see anything in the videos I have seen that supports the media claims that the Palm Island people were rioting, least of all Lex Wotton (see http://www.nit.com.au/news/story.aspx?id=16257).

    For example, if you look at ABC video footage the ABC newsreader claims video footage of a riot on Palm Island was shown in court. The same footage as was shown again in court today 14 October 2008 was played on screen behind the newsreader in the ABC news. This is supposed to be footage of a riot by people on Palm. But there was no such video footage shown on that report or in court today.

    There is footage of a public meeting and people walking to together and speakers showing anger at the killing of Mulrunji but there is no footage of a riot as claimed by ABC News.

    This is just one example. For many years, ever since the 1970s, the Australian Media has been showing selective footage, often only seconds in length, of demonstrations that lasted for hours and trying to suggest that demonstrators have been violent.

    This is not my experience of demonstrations in Queensland over a period of 40 years.

    On occasion, it is the police that are violent. There is ample evidence that they were extremely violent during the period 19 November 2004 to 28 November 2004 on Palm Island.

    Just look at the toll of police violence.

    1. One Palm Island man was killed by a policeman, just read the coroners report,

    2. Others were beaten up and shot with tasers by police wearing balaclavas,

    3. a Palm Island woman, Barbara (Jenny) Pilot was run over by Det Sgt Hurley causing the bones to break through the skin of her foot,

    4. Palm Island children were threatened at gun point,

    5. A young pregnant woman was taken by police in her nightie one morning and not returned till evening. She was offered no food or even a cup of tea, her house was searched, as was her sisters place and that of another Palm Island resident (see http://www.nit.com.au/news/story.aspx?id=16242).

    6. The only eye witness to Hurley killing Mulrunji, Roy Bramwell, was hounded to his death by suicide by police, including Det Sgt Darren Robinson.

    7. Doomadgee family members died by suicide in their grief at their brother’s death

    Compare that with what the police had to put up with. Det Sgt Robinson says in the witness stand in the trial of Lex Wotton that stones were raining down on the watchouse roof while Palm Island people were accusing police of killing Mulrunji, but there is no video evidence of that. I have been unable to see any evidence of stones thrown on the roof of the watchouse in the video footage shown in court. I am not saying this did not happen, I am merely saying that it did not happen when Det Sgt Robinson said it was nor were stones thrown with the intensity that he describes in evidence. The facts are that ‘rocking’ is commonplace practice on Palm Island with the police station and houses prime targets.

    Contrary to claims by Det Sgt Robinson, at that specific time, Lex Wotton was not in the watchouse garage as Robinson claims, he was outside as is clearly shown in the video evidence.

    Robinson has verballed Lex Wotton in characteristic Qld police style attributing to him the words of others and then distorting them to make them fit that charge of Riot with destruction (see the riot charge in the reference section below).

    If you look at the definition of riot often they are characterised by people who try to disguise themselves; however there was no attempt by Palm Islanders to do this however the police took steps to make sure their identity was protected and untraceable, especially the police who committed acts of violence against the so called rioters, namely knocking them to the ground, handcuffing their arms behind their backs and then, after they were restrained administering electric shocks to their bodies using Taser guns.

    Rioting under the definition in the Queensland Criminal code requires that people act together with a common purpose. There is no video evidence of riot by Palm Island people that I have seen in the courtroom.

    There is strong evidence of police acting in concert to strike fear into the minds of people distressed by the death of their brother, Mulrunji.

    There was a riot on Palm Island in 2004, it was a police riot. All this talk of riot is designed by government, media and police to place excessive powers of arrest and detentions in the hands of police (see “Stopping a breach of the peace” in the Criminal code in the reference section below.

    Why is it that the Australian media never says that? Why is the only detail of the Lex Wotton trial being reported by the National Indigenous Times?

    While mainstream journalists sit in the court doing sodoku, an accused man is fighting for his freedom, his family and his people. I suppose it is too much to ask that they should be doing their job and reporting evidence given in court. There is a difference here between listening to occasional snatches of evidence given by the police witnesses and actually reporting the meaning of their evidence. It is just too difficult between catching up with gossip via SMS messages on mobiles, the endless coming and going in and out of court has prevented any fair coverage of the trial.

    If journalists cannot treat these matters seriously why bother to come to court at all?

    Ian Curr
    15 October 2008

    References
    For a For a definition of Riot see the Qld Criminal Code at http://www.legislation.qld.gov.au/LEGISLTN/ACTS/1995/95AC037.pdf

    Sections 248 and 249 of the Qld Criminal Code state:

    †PART 2—BREACHES OF THE PEACE
    †Division 1—Riot

    ˙Meaning of “violence” for division

    248.(1) In this division—
    “violence” means violent conduct and includes violent conduct towards
    property as well as towards persons.

    (2) Violence is not restricted to conduct causing or intended to cause
    injury or damage but includes other violent conduct.

    Example of other violent conduct—
    Throwing a missile of a type capable of causing injury at or towards a person even
    though the missile does not hit, or falls short of, the person and does not cause or is
    not intended to cause injury.

    ˙Riot
    249.(1) A person must not take part in a riot.
    Maximum penalty—
    (a) life imprisonment, if there is unlawful violence consisting of, or
    including, violent conduct towards a building and the building is
    destroyed or partially destroyed; or
    (b) 10 years imprisonment, in any other case.

    Crime—

    (a) riot destroying a building;
    (b) riot.

    (2) A person takes part in a riot if—

    (a) at least 12 persons who are present together use or threaten
    unlawful violence for a common purpose; and

    (b) the person is one of the persons and uses unlawful violence for
    the common purpose; and

    (c) the conduct of the persons (taken together) would cause a person
    of reasonable firmness present at the scene to fear for his or her
    personal safety.

    (3) It is immaterial whether or not the persons use or threaten unlawful
    violence simultaneously.

    (4) The common purpose may be inferred from conduct.

    (5) A person of reasonable firmness need not be, or be likely to be,
    present at the scene.

    (6) The crime may be committed in any place.

    And the police have the following powers during a riot:

    Stopping a breach of the peace

    63.(1) A person present at a breach of the peace may—

    (a) intervene to stop the breach or renewal of the breach; and

    (b) for the intervention, use force that is—

    (i) reasonable; and
    (ii) reasonably proportioned to the danger likely to be
    apprehended from the continuance or renewal; and

    (c) detain anyone committing, or about to join in or renew the breach.

    (2) A person detained under subsection (1)(c) must be placed in a police
    officer’s custody as soon as practicable.

    (3) The police officer must release the person unconditionally as soon as
    practicable after being satisfied that the detention of the person in custody is
    no longer necessary to stop a breach of the peace.

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  9. I have been writing about the struggle for justice for Mulrunji for about 4 years now.

    Recently I have been attending the Lex Wotton trial each day.

    I try to understand why this all came about in an article I wrote a couple of years ago now, it was called “Mulrunji” but I prefer to leave it to the Murris to tell the story of Lex Wotton’s struggle for justice. There is excellent coverage of the trial by the National Indigenous Times at http://www.nit.com.au/news/story.aspx?id=16242

    I was hoping that someone would nominate Lex Wotton for leadership and courage under fire at last night’s Deadly’s. Alas, maybe next year.

    By the way, the judge in the Lex Wotton trial has done what all judges do in criminal trials, to narrow the focus down to smallest possible set of facts or events.

    I am not saying criminal trial judges are always successful in doing this, but to think otherwise is to misunderstand how the criminal law works.

    Our criminal law is not about what is fair or what is true or false, it is about conforming to a set of rules laid down by 200 years of Australian law where wealth talks and poverty is silenced.

    This is the defined role of the judge in a criminal trial.

    The defence and prosecution barristers have other roles, but more about that later.

    The rules of evidence in Civil and commercial may be another story, I don’t know too much about that. But I do know about criminal law and how the courts work.

    Ian Curr
    October 2008

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  10. PUBLIC MEETING TO HEAR LEX WOTTON

    6:30pm
    Wednesday September 10th
    QUT Gardens Point Theatre B119 B block
    2 George St, City

    LEX IS FACING LIFE IMPRISONMENT AFTER HE WAS CHARGED
    BY POLICE ON PALM ISLAND

    THE DEATH OF KINSMAN MULRUNJI DOOMADGEE ON NOVEMBER 24TH 2004 WAS MET BY A REASONABLE PROTEST BY PALM ISLAND RESIDENTS.

    Cameron Doomadgee walked past. “Bengaroo,” he said to the police aide, “you black like me. Why can’t you help-help the blacks?” To which Bengaroo said, “Keep walking or you be arrested too.” Doomadgee, 36, a happy-go-lucky character who loved to hunt and fish, had been drinking cask wine and ‘goom’-methylated spirits mixed with water. For all he’d drunk he was “walking pretty good, staggering but not falling over.” He retreated, but when he was twenty metres away, turned and appeared to say something. Bengaroo didn’t hear anything. Others, closer than Bengaroo, reckoned he was singing [Who let the dogs out] . But Chris Hurley heard something disrespectful, and decided at 10.20am to arrest him for creating a public nuisance — from The Tall Man by Chloe Hooper at http://www.thetallman.com.au/extract.cfm

    The riot only occurred because the people of Palm Island knew that a murder had occurred and that it was going to be covered up while the rest of Queensland was being spoon fed by senior police through the media details of:

    1) What a great bloke Hurley is and how he loved aborigines.

    2) The terrible ordeal police were put through during the riot

    3) The character assassination of Roy Bramwell (the witness to Hurley punching Murrinyi)—quote from letter to Qld Premier endorsed by over 100 people listed above.

    The protest was in response to the neither fair nor impartial police investigation, a view supported by the acting state coroner Christine Clements.

    There have been 241 Black deaths in custody since the royal commission in 1990. Not one person has been convicted of any offence over these deaths. The only person left, facing charges, is Lex Wotton, who is not guilty of any deaths.

    Black Deaths in Custody is a national Disgrace (see Black Deaths in Custody — what have Australian governments ever done?
    Anger at this is not a crime!

    Speakers:
    Lex Wotton
    Stewart Levitt (Defence Attorney)
    Other prominent speakers

    Like

  11. Please note: editors notes are in square brackets [].

    Two weeks ago it was an Iranian man who died in custody. [January 2008]

    On Australia Day [Invasion Day] it is an Aboriginal man who died on a 952 kilometre journey in the back of a van [See the perfunctionary way this death is reported by News Corporation below, frontpage news is given to President Suharto’s death — the leader of the vicious military dictatorship in indonesia from 1966 till 1998].

    You can read here what Richard Harding, Inspector general of West Australian prisons, said about this contract [the contract that the West Australian Corrective Services has with Global Solutions Limited for transporting prisoners etc.].

    It was over 40 degrees in Warburton, on the day this man started his 952 kilometre journey to the closest prison, in the back of a van after being picked up for allegedly drink-driving.

    I wonder if it was air conditioned?

    I wonder also if he was left in the back of the van while the GSL guards refreshed themselves en route?

    Parents who leave children in cars on hot days are warned of the dangers and charged.

    Are there charges in WA for leaving an aboriginal man in the back of a stinking hot van.

    Let us ask the questions.


    Pamela Curr
    Campaign Coordinator
    Asylum Seeker Resource Centre ASRC
    12 Batman St
    West Melbourne 3003
    ph 03 93266066 fax 03 93265199
    http://www.asrc.org.au

    Pamela Curr
    http://justfreedom.org.au

    Drink driver dies in custody
    Paige Taylor | January 28, 2008
    Copyright 2008 News Limited. All times AEDT (GMT +11)

    MAJOR Crime Squad detectives are investigating the death in custody of an Aboriginal man
    arrested on Australia Day in the West Australian desert town of Warburton for allegedly drink driving.
    Police say the man died the next day after collapsing in the back of a security van on the second leg of a 915km journey to jail in the goldfields city of Kalgoorlie-Boulder.

    He was being driven by contractors for the Department of Corrective Services, who noticed he had collapsed as they neared their destination.

    Police stopped the man last Saturday at 9.30pm in his remote home town of Warburton, 1500km northwest of Perth in the traditional Ngaanyatjarra Lands.

    He was charged with one count of drink driving and taken to the lockup in Warburton.
    He was driven 570km to the courthouse in the town of Laverton where he appeared on Sunday and was remanded in custody.

    Police say he was being transported to the nearest jail, the Eastern Goldfields Regional Prison 352km away, when he collapsed.

    The man was being transported by Global Solutions Limited, after having been picked up in Laverton at 11.40am, police say.

    He was being conveyed in the rear of the GSL security van.

    As the van neared Kalgoorlie, the man was found to have collapsed and he was conveyed to Kalgoorlie Regional Hospital.

    But he died a short time later.

    Kalgoorlie Detectives will help the Major Crime Squad with its investigation of the man’s death.
    Corrective Services Minister Margaret Quirk said the cause of the death had not yet been established.

    “Any death in custody is a tragedy and will be thoroughly investigated,” she said.

    Like

  12. As an individual with morals and a belief in the importance of the rule of law which is meant to be the basis of our democratic society: I endorse this letter.

    Like

  13. I think Queensland still remain as the one of worst discrimination place in Australia against to Aboriginal people. Two hundreds years has been passed from the English brougth to Australia the European “civilization”
    two hundreds years that the Aboriginal people has been suffer the discrimination.

    The Anglo-Sajon people in Australia are racist by natura, not only target the Aboriginal people but as well the Asians, the Africans, the Latin American and today the Muslems. There are many Anglo -Sajon people in Australia whose fight against the discrimination and they as well are been attack because they support the social justice.

    Like

  14. Although everyone would have different opinions; the Premier’s statement yesterday re: treating all indigenous deaths in custody as suspicious and being dealt with by the CMC immediately seems to be a smoke screen to me. The route he is taking has very little focus on prevention and I believe will do very little to combat the control dynamic and sense of entitlement that underpins these horrendous injustices.

    This situation stems from power abuses more than conflict (or ignorance). Abuse is very different phenomenon to conflict and needs to be addressed as such. Abuse does not go away unless it is challenged at every opportunity and the perpetrator is consistently held accountable for every breach. (Whereas, conflict assumes an equal powerbase; can be mediated and does not involve human rights violations per se).

    Government sactioned murder can not be allowed to occur and a generic body like CMC is inadequately equipped to deal with this very specific and entrenched form of corruption. I propose an independent, specialised indigenous taskforce be set up and that it not be left up to a “powerful” group of mainstream elites to fumble with such culturally and morally delicate issues such as this; especially given the extent racism permeates Queensland’s governmental institutions.

    I’ve attached a link that I think could be fleshed out and furthered – (Well Done Margaret Wenham). http://www.news.com.au/couriermail/story/0,23739,20955432-3102,00.html The Queensland Government is acting no different to any other rogue state which choses to violate the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, often without consequences.

    Compare Mulrunji’s murder with the treatment he had the right to expect – http://www.un.org/Overview/rights.html .
    In reality, certain Queenslanders are receiving death penalties without trial, and this is being simultaneously ignored and endorsed by the Beattie Government.

    Words cannot encapsulate just how morally reprehensible this situation is; and how heavily it burdens the minds, hearts and souls of each of us It doesn’t take much to recognise the horrific injustices that has been visited upon this man, his family and his people. Mulrunji, may your death not be in vain. May the theft of your life be a catalyst to obtain long-overdue justice for your people. Our thoughts are very much with your family at this time.

    Like

  15. Although everyone would have different opinions; the Premier’s statement yesterday re: treating all indigenous deaths in custody as suspicious and being dealt with by the CMC immediately seems to be a smoke screen to me. The route he is taking has very little focus on prevention and I believe will do very little to combat the control dynamic and sense of entitlement that underpins these horrendous injustices.

    This situation stems from power abuses more than conflict (or ignorance). Abuse is very different phenomenon to conflict and needs to be addressed as such. Abuse does not go away unless it is challenged at every opportunity and the perpetrator is consistently held accountable for every breach. (Whereas, conflict assumes an equal powerbase; can be mediated and does not involve human rights violations per se).

    Government sactioned murder can not be allowed to occur and a generic body like CMC is inadequately equipped to deal with this very specific and entrenched form of corruption. I propose an independent, specialised indigenous taskforce be set up and that it not be left up to a “powerful” group of mainstream elites to fumble with such culturally and morally delicate issues such as this; especially given the extent racism permeates Queensland’s governmental institutions.

    I’ve attached a link that I think could be fleshed out and furthered – (Well Done Margaret Wenham). http://www.news.com.au/couriermail/story/0,23739,20955432-3102,00.html The Queensland Government is acting no different to any other rogue state which choses to violate the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, often without consequences.

    Compare Mulrunji’s murder with the treatment he had the right to expect – http://www.un.org/Overview/rights.html .
    In reality, certain Queenslanders are receiving death penalties without trial, and this is being simultaneously ignored and endorsed by the Beattie Government.

    Words cannot encapsulate just how morally reprehensible this situation is; and how heavily it burdens the minds, hearts and souls of each of us Admittedly, I don’t know as much as I should about indigenous culture but doesn’t take much to recognise the horrific injustices that has been visited upon this man, his family and his people.. Mulrunji, may your death not be in vain. May the theft of your life be a catalyst to obtain long-overdue justice for your people. Our thoughts are very much with your family at this time.

    Like

  16. I strongly endorse this letter

    Like

  17. I endorse this letter.

    Like

  18. The World is watching… please add my name to this list,
    but let’s not forget – in the heat of the moment – the Stolen Wages
    campaign. Chris Hurley, if you are reading this, you could diffuse the situation by coming forward and telling the Truth.

    Like

  19. JUSTICE and Nothing less!

    Like

  20. I endorse this letter – justice for EVERYONE!

    Like

  21. I endorse this letter.

    Like

  22. I endorse this letter

    Like

  23. On behalf of Socialist Alliance we not only endorse the letter, but pledge to continue to throw our efforts into the campaign for justice for Mulrinji and for all those who have lost loved ones in custody.

    The police must be brought to justice, but also the disgusting politicians, on both ‘sides’ who rush to the defence of murdering police, while scapegoating Aboriginal people and others.

    It seems we can’t expect any more than gutter racism from ALP governments such as Peter Beattie’s, who don’t hesitate to send in SWAT teams when the aggreived Palm Island community demand justice; a government that axes the stand-alone Indigenous ministry in one of its first actions on being re-elected.

    Disgusting, but the brave Murri community fights on, and we will fight with them in every way we can.

    Like

  24. This letter raises matters of justice which should not be delayed nor denied.

    The rule of law is only upheld when it applies equally to all, of any race, background, or occupation.

    Premier Beattie, with this letter we remind you of matters you should not have forgotten and urge you, as our representative to bring justice to the people of Palm Island over the death of Mulrunji.

    Like

  25. The lack of transperency, accountability and honesty about Mulrunji’s death reveal a shocking revelation that equality, democracy and justice are yet to prevail in the hands of current authorities and systems in this state. Ammendments and reparations are due!

    Like

  26. I endorse this letter

    Like

  27. I endorse this letter

    Like

  28. In 1956 Michael Jorgensen was taken into police custody in Mt Isa. ‘Jorgie’, as he was known, was put in the cell for public drunkenness. He was beaten so badly by the arresting officer that night that he died from his injuries, ruptured spleen etc. There was an inquiry into the policeman’s actions, the first ever coronial inquiry in Qld, and no action was deemed necessary. Fifty years on and Queensland policemen are still getting away with murder.

    Like

  29. I fully endorse this letter and demand justice as promised.

    Like

  30. Nichola Hungerford

    I am appalled that the Queensland Government that says it will stand up for justice – will not do the right thing I fully endorse this letter

    Like

  31. Kindness and goodwill and justice for all !!

    Like

  32. I fully support this meesage

    Like

  33. I fully endorse this letter. People around the world are concerned at the lack of empathy, let alone justice, that has been afforded the Palm community by the Beattie Government. The events since November 2004 have disillusioned many Labour voters as what we have witnessed has been so heartless, so lacking in transparency or accountability and so devoid of any sense that Palm Islanders are citizens too. Hurley must be charged, the community must be recompensed and negotiations held to ensure community empowerment (including the provision of resources) to address the fourth world conditions in which people on Palm continue to live.

    Like

  34. Graham and Monique Bond

    Dear Premier,

    Justice delayed is justice denied.

    Please ensure that the DPP is considering the decision about laying charges over the death of Murunji as a matter of the utmost urgency.

    Please also ensure that that the Police Commissoner is taking action in Townsville Region so that any Critical Incidents are properly investigated and followed up. This was conspicuously NOT done in several matters put before the Coroner on Palm during the Inquest.

    What has happened to the comprehensive and useful Stuart McDougall report, commissioned by your government. How is the suggested different approach to a more consultative rather than dictatorial approach being implemented.

    We support this letter. Please act quickly on the matters raised.

    Hopefully,

    Like

  35. Mulrunji Petition

    Thanks to the following people who signed the letter at the rally (18 November 2006) on the 2nd anniversary of Mulrunji’s death:

    1. Keith Kennelly, Carina
    2. Paul Conway, Palm Island
    3. Ludmila Andersson, West End
    4. Viviana Ramirez, Beerwah
    5. Robert Austin, Bowen Hills
    6. Lea Maslen, Yeronga
    7. Greg Brown, West End
    8. Wayne Levy, Redbank plains
    9. J. Paapea, Brunswick Heads
    10 G. Green, Moorooka
    11 Steven Fisher, Kangaroo Point
    12 Fletcher Lauey, Yeronga
    13 Menessia Nagie, Spring Hill
    14 Mark Gillespie, East Brisbane
    15 Robin Taubenfeld, West End
    16 Tanya Moir, Highgate Hill
    17 Kenny Curril, West End
    18 Shelley Madden, Stones Corner
    19 Sam Cope, Brunswick, Victoria
    20 Melanie Ruska, Woodridge
    21 Marcia Skeen-Anderson, W/Gabba
    22 Rebecca Leeks, Herston
    23 Valda Coolwell, Milton
    24 Juana Katzer, Beenleigh
    25 Joanne Furminger, West End
    26 Natalie Brown, Mt Gravatt
    27 Holly Zualf, West End
    28 Shannon Huber, West End
    29 Steven Beetson, Salisbury
    30 Meg Foley, Red Hill
    31 Janet Stajic, Woodridge
    32 Shea and Wilarn Rotumah, Fortitude Valley
    33 Beverley Marcusson, Upper Coomera,
    34 Jim Graham, West End
    35 Bernadette Glancy, Manly West
    36 Katrina Barben, Ferny Grove
    37 Elizabeth Cowie, Daisy Hill
    38 Naomi Rodgers-Falk, West End
    39 Joanthan Ogden, New Farm
    40 Rosie Renshaw, Yeronga
    41 Michael Rennie, Yeronga
    42 Valerie Stone, Fig Tree Pocket
    43 Jason Grice, Taringa
    44 Coo Coo Lunga (Inka-Lubba), Torres Strait
    45 Ainslie Burdell, West End
    Others who endorsed the letter include:
    46 Paul Benedek, Fortitude Valley
    47 Ian Curr, Camp Hill
    48 Juanita Hall, Yeronga
    49 Katherine Hunt, Camp Hill
    50 JM
    A special thanks to Peter from 4AAA for his radio show about the rally and to Juanita and Flynn Hall for helping out.

    Like

  36. It is a disgrace that Hurley has not yet been charged. Nor have not forgotten the riot police and state of emergency that Beattie inflicted on Palm Island in the wake of Mulrinji’s murder.

    Justice demands that the Beattie government as well as Hurley be held accountable.

    Like

  37. The Beattie government have not acted in good faith and in a legally straightforward manner. They have given all the wrong messages on the killing of this indigenous man at Palm Island. Had the crime been committed by anyone other than a police officer, the killer would have immediately faced a charge of murder.

    The Beattie government give the appearance of hastening slowly whilst looking for a way out of the mess. The message to indigenous people is that the lives of their people are less valued than those of other members of the community.

    This, together with the stalling and obfuscation over the stolen wages, gives us all the undeniable impression that Joh Bjelke Petersen is alive and well within the Beattie government. It is time for progressive policies, not the morally bankrupt racism of the past.

    I am angry and sad.

    Regards
    Willy Bach

    Like

  38. I fully endorse this letter. Please add my name:

    Ray Bergmann, 3/74 Eton Street, Nundah 4012.
    rayberau@yahoo.com

    Like

  39. I fully support this letter too

    Like

  40. I really feel that your government’s failure to deal with this matter smacks of racism as aboriginal people are gaoled instantly while this matter has been allowed to drag on and on.

    Like

  41. I am an Australian Muslim and I would like to say that when we invited the Police Minister for “Iftar” the month of Ramadan this was the only topic in my mind.
    I thanked her for her leadership as well as the police commissioner and I said:
    “People from different affiliation are keeping an eye on the Premiere Peter Beattie’s handling of the Palm Island death in custody issue”
    “This is a test for Beattie’s accountability as he should put on practice what he talks about.
    No-one is above the law.
    Justice is not partial and will never be.
    We should put criminals where they belong even if they are in Government or Government agents.”

    Like

  42. Bob Gould, BA, Dip Ed

    I endorse this letter.
    Are we going to have a state government that embodies truth, justice and honesty or hypocrisy, lies and bigotry?

    Like

  43. I endorse this letter.
    Now is the time when the government should show courage and leadership in the interests of justice and honourable principles.

    Like

  44. Please add my name to letter, I fully endorse it.

    Like

  45. another govenment lie
    we will follow due process?
    why is it such a fight 2 get the govenment 2 do the right thing when a ‘black man’ is involved.

    Like

  46. I too endorse this letter

    Like

  47. I endorse this letter

    Like

  48. I endorse this letter.

    Like

  49. I would like to add my support to this letter and the sentiments therein. Human rights for ALL Australians (not just white ones).

    Like

  50. I fully support the above letter – it’s time to see the human rights of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people being taken seriously in Australia

    Like

  51. This is an open letter to the Premier of Queensland that came out of Community Meetings at Jagera Hall, South Brisbane, chaired by Sam Watson.

    If you agree with the sentiments in this letter could you please place your name in the comments section provided below.

    It is a collective letter to voice our concerns about the failure of the Qld government to act on the petition handed to the Premier on 10 October 2006.

    Your email address will be recorded and any reply from the Premier’s office will be forwarded to you.

    Like

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