Jurrah gets nine months suspended after four


p2272-Liam-Jurrah-file2013XBy KIERAN FINNANE
For two separate drunken assaults on two women and breaches of the domestic violence orders that were supposed to protect them, Liam Jurrah was today sentenced to nine months in gaol, to be suspended after four with conditions.
Right: Liam Jurrah leaving court during his 2013 trial, which ended with not guilty verdict. PHOTO from our archive.
Magistrate Sarah McNamara said that while the offending was serious, 26-year-old Mr Jurrah was young for sentencing purposes and should be given the opportunity to rehabilitate.
The assaults put him in breach of the conditions of a suspended sentence for similar offending against one of the victims. The balance of two months was restored, to be served concurrently.
Any conviction in the next 12 months of an offence punishable by imprisonment or any breach of conditions of today’s sentence, on conviction, will lead to the balance of the full nine months being restored.
The conditions include a 12 month ban on drinking; entering residential rehab upon release; while in rehab wearing an electronic monitoring device; undertaking a family violence program or similar; remaining within the NT for the 12 months but staying out of Alice Springs unless with specific permission from his probation or parole officer.
The sentence is backdated to July 10, so he will leave gaol in the second week of November.
The first assault, on June 16 this year, was against his former partner. He was intoxicated at the time and got a lift to her home in Hermannsburg. He went there at her invitation, according to the instructions he gave to his lawyer, despite being aware of the full no contact order against him.
He asked her to go with him to the basketball court, where they ended up having an angry verbal argument and he punched her, with a clenched right fist to the face.
Her face was partly protected by the hood of the jacket she was wearing, said police prosecutor Sergeant Haig.
Mr Jurrah also kicked her in the back, causing pain in the rib cage area. He was shouting at her in Warlpiri but stopped and left the scene when a witness told him to. The victim later complained to police.
According to his lawyer, Shawanah Tasneem, Mr Jurrah handed himself into police, after making contact with her office for advice on what he should do. However, he declined to answer police questions, or take part in a record of interview, said Sgt Haig.
Less than one month later on July 11, Mr Jurrah, again drunk, went to the home of his then partner, mother of his infant son. Both of them were named as protected persons in a DVO, specifying no contact if he was intoxicated.
The prosecutor said that he yelled at the victim to come home with him, then jumped the fence and punched her to the face. When she tried to run away, he grabbed her by the hair and dragged her towards the gate. The victim struck out at him. He smashed a beer bottle to create a jagged edge and tried to strike her with it. Other people stepped in. He then took a steel-framed chair and succeeded in striking her, causing an eight centimetre laceration to the back of her head.
The end might have been a lot worse if police hadn’t arrived and arrested Mr Jurrah, said Sgt Haig.
Ms Tasneem said Mr Jurrah had been told by the victim the day before that she wanted no further contact with him, and this would include no contact with his son. According to her instructions, Ms Tasneem said the victim had also struck him in the face. He was greatly upset, particularly by the possibility of losing contact with his son.
This was the context of the offending; it was not put by way of excuse. Ms Tasneem said there can be “no excuse to resort to violence.”
She said Mr Jurrah, in pleading guilty today, was accepting his responsibility for the offending.
She accepted that the June offence would incur a mandatory minimum three month sentence as a subsequent domestic violence offence.
Because the July offence was more serious, involving a weapon, it would be up to the court to determine whether it would be treated as a Level 5 offence, incurring a mandatory minimum 12 month sentence.
In a case heard earlier today of subsequent domestic violence offending where the injuries were serious, Magistrate McNamara had accepted that it was Level 5 and sentenced a man to 12 months
In Mr Jurrah’s case, in relation to the July victim, Ms McNamara found, on the basis of brief medical evidence provided by the prosecution, that the injuries did not interfere with the integrity of the victim’s body or her bodily functions.
Ms Tasneem had pointed out that the victim, while sad and upset, had said, “I don’t think my life will change.”
Sgt Haig had told the court the victim wanted Mr Jurrah to go to gaol and to receive treatment.
Members of Mr Jurrah’s family were in court to support him. Ms Tasneem also provided the court with a letter of support from the CEO of Warlpiri Youth Development Aboriginal Corporation, a past employer of Mr Jurrah (prior to his AFL drafting in 2008). When he has served his time and other orders, WYDAC is willing to have him back and work with him on his alcohol and anger management issues.


  1. Liam Jurrah is a women basher.
    No wonder he couldn’t last in the AFL when competing against men.
    There is no excuse for his actions and he is a liability to society.

  2. Liam’s trouble started when he came back a long, long time ago from Melbourne, as the Walpiris say “to sort out business”.
    Such a fall and a hard fall.
    Now he just bulls to do-gooders who will save him and uses his Aboriginality to cry “I have been hard done by”, keep him there or the AFLNT will fall for his crap and let him play in their comp.

  3. No wonder we have continuing issues with domestic violence. Our judges are still in the dark ages where men have the right to beat their wives.

  4. Geez, that’s not good. Janet, that’s a little beyond beating, jagged bottle and steel framed chair. Bloody hell, sounds like he and the victim were lucky there were people there to intervene. Sup Scotty.

  5. How much more do we have to put up with this out of control egotistic “has been”? Liam, you’ve done the crime, now do the time!
    Maybe a longer spell in jail might wake him up to what low depths he’s sunk to.
    Maybe a life time ban from playing league football wouldn’t go astray.

  6. What happened to the supposed “Warlpiri Business” that Liam was supposedly fulfilling while playing AFL for Melbourne?
    Nowhere in our culture does it say domestic and alcohol abuse is acceptable.
    What we have here is a man with no accountability! Liam’s road to the AFL was assisted and helped by many many people on the fringe who would now be more likely to distance themselves from their involvement as opposed to celebrating what a remarkable story it was (at the time).
    Non-Indigenous players would only dream of the assistance Liam was given by those who advocated his cause and provided him with opportunities and places to live whilst chasing his dream.
    Following his brief career at the top, he was encouraged back to Alice and was tempted back into CAFL football with his “brothers” at South Alice Springs, who, rather than caring for his future and welfare, likely did so because they wanted a star player to boost their lineup and win a local flag. Big deal.
    If Liam’s family and friends really cared for his welfare they would have directed him away from Alice and instead he could have gone and played semi professional football anywhere in the country (county footballers are earning up to $1K per game!), while returning to the Tanami to fulfil his obligations during the off-season.
    Instead, he is back here with nothing to show from his football talents, incarcerated and now the story seems likely to only get worse.
    The same leaders that insisted he was fulfilling his cultural obligations by playing AFL football need to step up now and give Liam some serious direction. Liam also needs to be accountable for his poor decisions.

  7. I am sick of seeing “news” about this woman basher!
    He is a has been! He blew his chance to be a positive role model. I don’t know why the media keep acting like he is some kind of success story! HE ISN’T!


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