A smartly dressed but worried looking Liam Jurrah (right) arrived out the front of the Alice Springs Courthouse this morning, to a waiting crowd of cameramen, photographers and reporters.
The star footballer, from Yuendumu and now playing for the Melbourne Football Club, stands accused (together with two others) of unlawfully causing serious harm, going armed with an offensive weapon at night and four counts of aggravated assault.
It was something of an anti-climax when the prosecution told Magistrate David Bamber that they were not ready to proceed immediately. A number of witnesses are coming in from remote communities, chiefly Nyirrpi, and have not yet arrived, Mr Bamber was told.
A couple live in town and the case may be able to start with their evidence shortly. KIERAN FINNANE reports.Photo at top: Jurrah defence team Jon Tippett QC (with sunglasses) and John McBride confronted by media outside the court.
UPDATE Saturday, May 5, 3.05pm: Detectives in Alice Springs have this morning laid charges against two 17 year-old youths who Police believe were involved in the alleged sexual assault of two tourists in the early hours of Wednesday morning.
Detective Acting Superintendent Travis Wurst said one of the youths has been charged with Sexual Intercourse Without Consent, Acts of Gross Indecency, Deprivation of Liberty, Assault and Threaten with a Firearm along with numerous other offences: “The other youth has at this stage only been charged with the Unlawful Use of a Motor Vehicle (similar to the one pictured) in relation to the alleged sexual assault but we hope to lay further charges as the investigation continues.”
A/Supt Wurst said the firearm allegedly used in the incident has not yet been found.
UPDATE Friday, May 4, 6.50pm: Alice Springs Police have located a green Toyota Ascent (similar to pictured) allegedly stolen and used during a sexual assault in Alice Springs on Wednesday.
Detective Acting Superintendent Travis Wurst said the vehicle was found in Ntaria [Hermannsburg], about 130 kilometres south west of Alice Springs.
Police believe the weapon used during the alleged sexual assault was also used in an attempted armed robbery of a taxi early on the same morning.
“The three 17 year olds arrested for the sexual assault are also believed to be involved in this crime.
“A firearm was used to threaten the driver and occupants of the taxi before the offenders fled. Nothing was stolen from the taxi.
“There were three passengers in the taxi who Police would now like to come forward."
ABOVE: Google Earth image of Laramba, a bush settlement north-west of Alice Springs. The killings happened in the vicinity. BELOW: One of the convicted, Travis Gibson. Having had his jaw broken was one of the triggers of the drunken payback raid.
Five out of six were drunk on the night.
One out of six is a reformed heavy drinker, sober on the night.
Two out of six are alcoholics.
Four out of six had parents who were alcoholics or heavy drinkers.
Two out of six are married to alcoholics and these couples have had children.
The two victims of the six were drunk at the time of their deaths.
In the evening of December 22, 2009 six men left Alice Springs in a red Ford Falcon, bound for Laramba, a small settlement of some 300 people, around 200 kilometres to the north-west. Four of the men were armed: one had a large military-style knife, another a tyre iron, and two had nulla nullas (clubs). They were also travelling with grog: on a trip that takes around two and a half hours, they drank one and a half cartons of VB beer and a cask of Moselle between them, all but the driver. This was on top of grog that at least some of them had consumed during the day.
There was a purpose to the trip: the six intended to confront men at Laramba over a long-running dispute between their family, the Gibsons, and the Dixon-Stafford family. In particular, they were going to look for brothers Adrian and Watson Dixon and another person, who were seen as responsible for the assault on one of the Gibsons some months before, breaking his jaw.
By midnight two men in Laramba, not the Dixon brothers, were dead, as a result of stabbings to the thigh. KIERAN FINNANE reports.