.............................................. ...............................................

Sam Watson: Lex Wotton jailing a 'total disgrace'

“Across the USA African-American people are celebrating the fulfillment of Martin Luther King’s dream, with the election of a black man as president. The dream of Aboriginal people across Australia will only be fulfilled when the white judicial system finally finds one white policeman guilty of a black death in custody...”

Sam Watson, the Socialist Alliance spokesperson on Indigenous Rights said today that the custodial sentence of six years that Lex Wotton received yesterday for “inciting a riot” on Palm Island in 2004 following the death in custody of Mulrunji Doomadgee was “still a total disgrace”.

Watson said: “People’s relief at Judge Shanahan’s decision in the Townsville District Court is understandable, because after Wotton’s shameful conviction they were expecting anything from 10 to 20 years—the sort of sentence the Attorney-General, the Director of Public Prosecutions and the Queensland Police Association were determined to fix on him.

“However, let’s just compare the treatment of black and white in the Palm Island events. White police officer Chris Hurley admitted he caused an Aboriginal man’s death and walked free. After several years of fully paid leave while awaiting trial on the manslaughter charges of which he was acquitted Hurley received a promotion: he is now a police inspector on the Gold Coast.

“Hurley also received a $100,000 compensation payout from the Queensland Government for property lost in the fire, and his legal bills were covered by the Queensland Police Union. The Palm Island police were officially honoured a week ago.

“However, a black man, who couldn't be connected to anything except that he was on Palm Island on the day, was fitted up for jail when not one white person was even injured. He was charged with the very worst charge that could have been brought against him, the vaguest in terms of the things that must be proven in order to establish guilt or innocence. He was treated as a sort of terrorism suspect.”

“Under the corrupt Queensland judicial system bricks and mortar were treated as of more value than human life.”

Watson remarked that as Wotton had been tried by an all-white jury, Hurley should have been tried by an all-black jury.

“Across the USA African-American people are celebrating the fulfillment of Martin Luther King’s dream, with the election of a black man as president. The dream of Aboriginal people across Australia will only be fulfilled when the white judicial system finally finds one white policeman guilty of a black death in custody.”

Watson concluded: “People who want to understand this case can only draw one conclusion. Institutional racism is alive and well within the Queensland establishment. Obama may win a landslide result even in the Deep South, but for our Deep North to change Aboriginal people will have to commit themselves to determined and relentless struggle against its entrenched racism.”

0 Com:

Post a Comment