By ERWIN CHLANDA
Has Gary Hall, who says he is the spokesman for a paramilitary group in Alice Springs ready to commit violent acts, broken the law with statements he made yesterday?
“That depends on how he said it and what steps he has taken to go down that path,” says Attorney-General and Minister for Justice John Elferink (pictured).
“There is an offence to counsel and procure the commissioning of a crime. However, having made that observation, it is possibly more than a mere nebulous assertion.
“What I can say is that the police are fully aware of Mr Hall’s public statements and, I imagine, are keeping a very close eye on him, as I would expect they do.
“If any person suffers any form of harm as a result of the conduct of persons associated with Mr Hall, or relying on his public commentary, then he may well find himself in position where he has to answer some very awkward questions to the authorities,” says Mr Elferink.
In the absence of any violent actions having taken place in the past, can what Mr Hall has said be regarded as an incitement to criminal behaviour?
Says Mr Elferink: “Once again, it’s a question of degree. As I said, I imagine the police are keeping a very close eye on him and at the moment he oversteps the boundary then they will act, and act promptly and decisively.”
Do you think that with what he has said already he has overstepped the boundaries?
Mr Elferink: “It’s not up to me to pronounce innocence or guilt. That remains a matter for a court. Whether or not a prima facie case exists is a matter for investigating police and I am not going to preempt or second-guess the police in their work.”
Mr Elferink says he reminds Mr Hall of his “legal responsibilities and duties to the community in which he lives” and he urged him “to stop behaving like a prat”.
Meanwhile Assistant Commissioner of Police in Alice Springs, Jamie Chalker, this morning declined to answer questions about the issues. He referred to a brief comment on the police Facebook site (pictured above), posted on Wednesday, two days after Mr Hall posted two reader’s comments in the Alice Springs News Online.
By ERWIN CHLANDA