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
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.