The NT Magistrates Court rolled into Yuendumu for its bi-monthly visit late last week. Leading the four-wheel-driven caravan was Alice Springs based Stipendiary Magistrate John Birch, with an assortment of defence lawyers, police prosecutors and staff from the Central Australian Aboriginal Family Legal service in tow. Add the eight members of the Yuendumu Mediation and Justice Group, local and regional NT Police and their ACPO (Aboriginal Community Police Officers) offsiders, probation officers and Court staff, defendants, family members and curious rubber-neckers and it was the best and biggest show to hit town all month.
Magistrate Birch called us all to order just after 10am in the run-down chambers of the now defunct Yuendumu Community Government Council. Her Royal Highness Elizabeth II smiled wanly from the wall. A layer of red dust gathered on any undisturbed surface.