Northern Territory

Mar 10, 2010

Holding their breath for Palm justice

This latest inquest into the death of Mulrunji Doomadgee is being watched by Indigenous people around the nation for one simple reason: it represents the best chance yet for justice over an Aboriginal death in custody.

Chris Graham

Tracker managing editor

Another day, another inquest into the death of Mulrunji Doomadgee — an Aboriginal man killed in the Palm Island Police Station in 2004, is under way.


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21 thoughts on “Holding their breath for Palm justice

  1. michael crook

    Sad indeed that a large part of the Queensland Police Service, still believes that it is there to “keep down the blacks”. They are encouraged in this by the endemic racism in Australia which is not only evidenced by black deaths in custody but also in our non response to the racism inflicted on refugees and other minorities. We must also feel sorry for Lex Wootten, jailed for the crime of being a freedom fighter for his people when the law failed them, as it always has. But I forget, in this country black people are not supposed to be angered by the many injustices forced upon them, they are supposed to be grateful for the racist crumbs we bestow on them as a gift. But, as always the two main parties play up to and participate in this racist ethos because it is popular with the shock jocks and the commercial media, these parties have no humanity and no empathy. Hopefully, if those voters disenchanted with the racism exhibited by the Rudds and Abbotts, were to change their vote to Greens or Socialist then perhaps a new balance of power could open a new debate, and the humanists could gain a voice.

  2. Ern Malleys cat

    Apart from the cause of the fatal injuries, and whether it constitutes manslaughter, there seems to be an irrefutable case for criminal negelect.
    No medical assistance was given to an obviously badly injured man. And to compound the callousness, when Mulrunji’s wife came to the station in the morning after he was already dead, she was sent away and only informed much later.
    I wish the inquests included not just the graver charges and maybe at least something might stick.

  3. 1934pc

    “she was sent away and only informed much later”. Was that so they could get their story straight?.
    So many injuries could not be accidential.

  4. Andrew Lewis

    This is just one of the saddest stories of our time. I can only hope that some justice eventuates. I have followed this terrible story from the start and my heart goes out to his relatives and to his people. You don’t need to be a member of the indigenous community to have been struck by the sheer tragedy of this story, and moved by the injustice of it all.

    And thanks Michael Crook for your inflammatory comments. “Endemic racism in Australia’ eh. Endemic – peculiar to a particular people or locality; native to a country. Apparently racism is peculiar to Australia. Never see it anywhere else on the planet.

    That’s the way to fight racism, with more racism! Well done.

    Spare me.

  5. shepherdmarilyn

    I have followed this since the beginning and read Chloe Hoopers depressing book “The Tall Man”. If it wasn’t for Hooper and Tony Koch, the family and a very small number of others who give a damn about justice this would be buried as surely as the tragedy of Mr Ward who was cooked by negligent staff in WA.

  6. Greg Angelo

    I can only hope that finally we will get to the truth this matter. It is painfully obvious that Queensland police look after their own, whether the victim is black or white. In this particular instance, notwithstanding any aspect of racism, there was a clear failure of due process in relation to the death of Mulrunji Doomadgee, and the obvious aspects of “mates” looking after “mates”.

    I suspect that if Mulrunji Doomadgee had been white, the same apparent cover-up would probably have occurred. Intimidation of witnesses is not always just undertaken by criminals under suspicion or threat of legal action.

    It is vitally important that justice be seen to be done, for a number of reasons, the least of which is the presumption that when there is a confrontation between a black man and a white man, that the white man is morally superior.

    All members of the Australian community must be able to assume that they will get equal access to justice, regardless of the colour of their skin, or their economic or social circumstances. This includes not being assaulted by police, or being denied appropriate medical treatment when injured either through indifference, neglect or sheer bloody mindedness.

  7. twobob

    This is a tragic story of police brutality and injustice, from the perpetrators through the inspectors to the superiors of the QLD police force.
    If someone should make a film of this disgraceful act it will both nationally and internationally be an example of the injustices suffered by Australian indigenous people.
    The story makes me angry and that it could happen here disgusts me.
    This leaves a stench upon all white Australians that can never be entirely removed. But an attempt would be appreciated.

  8. Hugh (Charlie) McColl

    Anyone who has read Chloe Hooper’s excellent, calm and sobering book and/or been present in the court to hear the evidence in the manslaughter trial will be well aware that there is unlikely to be any further ‘truth’ revealed that might undo the injustice that surrounds this case. Although, as Greg Angelo writes, it is vitally important that justice be seen to be done, what exactly do we think this “justice” might look like? The accused policeman has been acquitted by a jury after an ordinary and quite uncontroversial criminal trial so it’s hard to see any further justice available via that route. Palm Island has been shaken, stirred, ripped apart, patched up and repaired, not for the first time, so I can’t see any justice available via the community sector. Something similar could happen just about anywhere in Australia, including the metropolitan areas, tomorrow and we’d still be stunned by the shortcomings of our justice system.
    I know the Coronial enquiry is the last official hurrah so to speak but I think it is wishful thinking to hope for some sort of comprehensive ‘justice’, against all the odds, at the finishing post.

  9. nicolino

    As with the inquiries into police misconduct on the Gold Coast, what’s the betting that this will all be swept under the carpet. That’s the Australian way after all as the authorities time and again play the out of sight out of mind game. There are those of us out here who do remember however.

  10. Barb Oldfield

    This must result in the sacking of the Current Commissioner as the whole process reeks of cover up from the very top. A national disgrace.

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