On Wednesday I attended a rally outside the Brisbane District Court, held to show support for Palm Island man, Lex Wotton, whose trial had been going for two weeks. The jury started deliberating on the Thursday. When I saw news that they were still going on the Friday afternoon, I decided to go to the court to bear witness with Lex and his family and supporters as they faced the drawn out wait for the verdict.
The jury’s verdict was a long time coming, but it was unanimous when it was finally delivered at around 9.45 pm – guilty on the single count of rioting with destruction. I have written more on this over at Crikey, including links to many reports on the evidence presented at the trial.
I have met Lex Wotton many times over the last few years, on Palm Island and elsewhere. I have mentioned a few times in some of the pieces about Palm Island I have written on this blog. I believe Lex is a good man with leadership ability and its hard to see what good will come from his being sent to jail.
It was a total coincidence, but an apt one none the less, that on the same night as this version of Queensland justice was being played out, a book was being launched at the Avid Reader bookshop in Brisbane’s West End about the use of Aboriginal child workers through the 19th and 20th centuries and the role it played in the economic development of Queensland. That version of Queensland justice was written by Dr Shirleene Robinson and is called “Something like slavery?”