Lex Wotton on Trial

Update : Lex was found guilty.

Free Lex Wotton rally
12pm Saturday November 1
Cnr Bourke and Elizabeth Streets

Lex Wotton is a Palm Island man currently on trial in Brisbane. He is a plumber and the father of four children. Lex has been charged with riot (“with destruction”), and faces up to ten (or thirteen) years in jail if found guilty. The charge of riot stems from events on November 26, 2004, after the death in custody a week earlier of Mulrunji Doomadgee. Senior Sergeant Chris Hurley, believed to be the first Australian policeman to go on trial for an Aboriginal death in custody, was cleared in a Townsville court of the manslaughter of Doomadgee in the island’s watchhouse in 2004. In addition:

After the death of Mulrunji, Hurley voluntarily offered himself up for suspension from the police service with full pay. It lasted several years. That’s quite a taxpayer-funded holiday.

In May this year, The Australian newspaper revealed that Hurley had received a $100,000 payout from the Queensland government for losses he says he incurred from the fire which destroyed the police barracks. That’s quite a payout – the average household contents for an Australian home is worth $70,000.

Hurley has since received a promotion, and he’s had his legal bills largely covered by the Queensland Police Union. In addition to that, he is yet to face any disciplinary action over the death of Mulrunji, nor the many breaches of police regulations prior to and after the death. Lex Wotton, by contrast, has already served three months in jail and is facing a further 13 years.

On the one hand:

Palm riot accused Lex Wotton told cops ‘leave or die’, court told
The Courier-Mail
Tristan Swanwick
October 7, 2008

AN alleged Palm Island rioter ordered police to leave the north Queensland island in one hour or they would die, a District Court jury heard today. The jury in Brisbane heard allegations that Lex Patrick Wotton incited and encouraged himself [?!?] and others to attack the Palm Island police station and court house…

On the other hand:

Wotton tried to protect police: court
AP / Sydney Morning Herald
October 9, 2008

Alleged Palm Island rioter Lex Wotton tried to protect police officers from an angry mob that burned down the island’s police station, a court has heard. Witness Hal Walsh told the Brisbane District Court on Thursday that Wotton twice told youths to stop throwing rocks during the November 2004 riot and even tried to organise transport to safely take police to the island’s airport…

The National Indigenous Times is providing news coverage.

About @ndy

I live in Melbourne, Australia. I like anarchy. I don't like nazis. I enjoy eating pizza and drinking beer. I barrack for the greatest football team on Earth: Collingwood Magpies. The 2024 premiership's a cakewalk for the good old Collingwood.
This entry was posted in Anti-fascism, State / Politics. Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to Lex Wotton on Trial

  1. liz says:

    Hey @ndy.

    Nice photo of Lex! On the first day of court he was wearing a black suit, yellow shirt and red tie – deadly!

    I’ve been going along listening to court stuff since Monday, and have written bits about it here.

    Adds a little to the NIT coverage, tho’ not heaps.

    Also – if you want to hear the whole story from the horse’s mouth, see here.

  2. Lumpen says:

    The NIT coverage has been uniformly excellent. It’s well worth the read. I’ll be getting a subscription, I reckon.

  3. liz says:

    There is an awesome article they did which takes you through the case from start to finish that I can’t for the life of me find the link to. I spoke to the editor and he also couldn’t find it, but I’m not sure if I should just post it in full.

    NIT are going to be there every day of the trial (which doesn’t sit today, but starts again on Monday), so check in every day!

  4. @ndy says:

    Accused Palm Island rioter wielded wrenches at police
    Tristan Swanwick
    The Courier-Mail
    October 9, 2008

    Recounts testimony from Detective Sergeant Darren Robinson and student Hal Austin Walsh. Robinson states Lex was very angry and carrying plumbers’ tools when he appeared in the Palm Island police station garage on the day of the riot. Also that he “saw Lex hitting a courthouse window with a Stillson”.

    But student Hal Austin Walsh, who worked on the island at the time, told the court Wotton repeatedly attempted to restrain the angry crowd.

    “Lex was the only one trying to calm the tension,” Mr Walsh said.

    “(At one stage), Lex turned around to the crowd and said: ‘Come on, people, let’s leave these guys (police) alone’.”

    Mr Walsh testified that Wotton again attempted to restrain the crowd after police were confronted at the Palm Island hospital.

    “I remember Lex saying: ‘You can’t throw rocks here, there are sick people in here’.

    “He asked me: ‘Could you arrange for transport so these guys (police) can get to the airport safely?'”

  5. liz says:

    Lex is a plumber by trade.

    On the morning of the incidents in question, he was fixing the mains near the town square. Even the cop acknowledged that he saw him doing plumbing work. Hence the plumber’s tools. Even the cop acknowledged seeing him working on the water mains.

  6. Paul Maleski says:

    Lex Wotton has every right to tell the white cops to leave or die. It is his country! This mockery of justice could have been avoided, if Lex’s ancestors had said the same words to Captain Cook.

  7. Blake says:

    Why was this recording of Lex addressing people in Melbourne for the Indigenous Social Justice Association not shown to the people in court during his trial. It is disturbing and frustrating that this very significant extensive piece of information was not presented to the people in court. It would have been a totally different story if it surfaced days or months before the trial to the people of Queensland either via email or some other means of ‘getting the information out’ using whatever means necessary.

    The ABC is a very good start as they focus on a lot of sensitive Indigenous issues. Even the producer and director of the movie Rabbit Proof Fence would be highly recommended, informing him of the events and the results of Lex’s trial. To show him Lex’s address to the people of Melbourne for the ISJA would be a great idea. Something needs to be done and it needs to be done yesterday!!! There has to be someone affiliated with the ABC, someone who has the balls to jeopardise their career and career prospects to get this information out to the whole population of Australia and more importantly the Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and or the Environmental Minister Peter Garrett and or even the Opposition leader Turnball.

    I believe a report needs to be submitted and presented to these people of power within our government which should definitely include his address to the people of Melbourne when he attended the meeting for the ISJA where he tells his account of the events that preceded the 26th November 2004. It gives you a powerful account of what really happened that day, no one would know what transpired that day unless they were really there. No one could know the feelings of the people on Palm Island that day unless they were there immersed in it, a week before the 26th of November 2004, the day of the 26th and the days proceeding the 26th of November. Lex’s version of events, I feel, show the true account of events and show how powerful Local, State and Federal Government really is. To cover up, and prevent the positions of Police Inspectors, Policemen, the Qld Police Commissioner and Politicians that being John Howard, Costello, Nelson and all the rest of the Liberal leaders no longer in the spotlight at present.

    It seems they have saved their own asses from top to bottom. We have to keep in mind Howard was in charge of our country at the time of Dumudgee’s death and the time of the supposed riots. And around about the time these incidences occurred he was making small visits to our state, for what purposes or means I do wonder. Perhaps to aid the cover up, for that he himself didn’t have the balls to say sorry to the true owners of our land. He had the balls to suck ass and spoon Bush and that other English wank and send our people to war, and henceforth support the killing of innocent people, but he didn’t have the balls to say SORRY.

    Now that our current government has made the first step by addressing the Australian people by saying sorry, political leaders like Rudd and Garrett need to be informed that something isn’t quite right about this sentencing. They need to be aware and closely asses this situation deep to the roots. They should endeavour to seek the truth of the matter as it was the Government leaders of late that are somewhat responsible for the neglect that has evolved since the death of Dumudgee and to the present, the sentencing of Lex Patrick Wotton.

    I am afraid this is going to be an endless vicious cycle of neglect and it will probably never end until the day I die, which makes it very very depressing.

    Hopefully some day the truth will surface and may the people who support this ongoing neglect be damned.

  8. @ndy says:

    Free Lex Wotton rally
    12pm Saturday November 1
    Cnr Bourke and Elizabeth Streets

  9. We all need to rally right around Australia and beyond on November 7, the day Lex is due to be sentenced, to send as strong a message as possible to the powers-that-be that we will not allow this apartheid-style conviction of such a great and humble man as Lex Wotton to go unnoticed and to be swept under that dirty old proverbial carpet. This truly is a great historical moment and I feel that the future of the Australian Left hinges on how we respond to this most vile outrage.



    Outside the Sydney District Court

    Downing Centre, 143-147 Liverpool St (cnr Elizabeth St), City

    1pm, November 7*

    *note that this is part of an International Day of Action called by Lex’s family members and coincides with the day that Lex Wotton is scheduled to have a sentencing hearing in Townsville.

    For information call 0404 298 588 (Lyall and Jenny Munro, spokespeople for Lex Wotton)

    Yours in Hope & Solidarity,

    Sarah Fitzenmeyer

  10. James Ward says:

    The Palm Island situation has left both the white and the black communities on two horns of a dilemma. One, the “whiteys” feel they must maintain law and order and assert their authority over the Aboriginal population wherever and whenever, and two, the blackfellas have been reduced to depending on the whitefellas for their daily bread.

    In the inflamed atmosphere of another “death” in custody the Palm Island population were justifiably worked up, but if this “riot” goes unpunished the whitefellas fear more of the same…

    Where can compassion be manifest here.

    How about the community getting together to help rebuild both whitefella and blackfella damaged property in a series of working bees supported by professional tradesmen. Aboriginal men and women working alongside whitefella volunteers, mixing cement and sharing each other’s sweat and time and tucker may lead to some reconciliation. One would hope.

  11. Paul Maleski says:

    Blah blah blah…

  12. Paul Maleski says:

    Do you receive a subsidy from AIPAC, or any associated miscellaneous jewish lobby group-s sic? You do not have to tell me anything but what ever you tell me, has to be the absolute truth! AIPAC would advise you to say nothing!

  13. @ndy says:

    Between you me and the lamppost… all I’m prepared to say is this: every Sabbath I bump into a rabbi at the local bagelry. We exchange pleasantries and he hands me a briefcase. Inside the briefcase are gold bars. Hint: I live in a mansion with more rooms than I know what to do with. I have servants. Here is some video footage.

  14. Paul Maleski says:

    Daniel J. Boorstin–The Image. READ IT!
    Andy, I scrutinised the photograph, I cannot decipher a reality: Is she a racketeer? Was she beckoning American taxpayers financed, Israeli jets to land on the Palestinain beach? Andy, I ask but two questions, 1. ‘Would a jew free world be happier. 2. Do you receive a subsidy from the jew. ‘ You do not have to tell me anything but whatever you tell me has to be the absolute truth.

  15. @ndy says:

    Q. Would a jew free world be happier?


    Q. Do you receive a subsidy from the jew?


  16. paul maleski says:

    I was never born to be a wannabee!
    You have the pop music platform and you are still too terrified to use it! Who pays you? You do not have to tell me anything but whatever you do tell Paul Maleski must be the absolute truth.

  17. @ndy says:

    Bathtub full of power tools.

  18. paul maleski says:

    You have obviously been around a bit more than me. But please do tell me; in plain English what does, ‘Bathtub full of power tools’ mean. I was but a tender naive 15 year old, who attended the beatnik 1969 Isle of Wight Pop festival, and listened diligently to: ‘Strangely strange but oddly normal music’ but the truth is, that the word bathtub never came into the equation. Am I missing something? Please do tell me. I must know before I die!

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