The failure of a magistrate to order restitution following a burglary at the Road Transport Hall of Fame will spark a protest by her and supporters outside the Alice Springs courthouse, says the hall's CEO, Liz Martin.
She is also a town councillor.
The heist netted three burglars more than $23,000 in cash. Of that $8500 was given to a man who later spent it on a car.
The man, Michael Foster, appeared before Magistrate David Bamber on April 15 charged with receiving the amount and with several other offences. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.Photo: Damage caused by the alleged burglars.
It was apparently a normal day after the weekend before at the Alice Springs Magistrates Court, perhaps a little busier given that this was a long weekend. The word was also that there had been a recent royalty payment that had brought people into town.
The police prosecutor arrived in Courtroom Two with a trolley as big as a baby buggy, full of files. These were the fresh matters. The files in the stands on bar table were the matters already scheduled (13 domestic violence, two Smart Court, 59 criminal, and 11 Youth Court).
Half of the defendants were in the watchhouse, Magistrate John Birch was told. Only one lawyer is allowed in at a time, so there was a bottleneck with the paperwork. That was hardly surprising, said Magistrate Birch, given that there were 150 people on the list!
Defence lawyers, from Legal Aid and Aboriginal Legal Aid, milled around, attempting to bring matters on.
There was confusion over files. The court orderly was sent in search of other defence lawyers, returning to report that she couldn't find them. She also had to announce numerous non-appearances. Some of these matters were dealt with anyway ("ex parte"), the offenders convicted and fined, their files put away. Many matters were adjourned to allow time for defence lawyers to make representations to police prosecutions; others because the facts of the matter were to be contested.
In the midst of all this, some parties appeared and matters were heard – sorry tales that flesh out some of the offending behind the 'law and order' debate, tales of people, young and not so young, male and female, and their failings. On this day and for as much of the list as I observed all of the defendants were Aboriginal. This is not always the case. KIERAN FINNANE reports.
The Desert Knowledge Q&A-style forum yesterday unearthed some gems.
One was the profoundly convincing and moving support for alcohol restrictions by Brad Bellette, whose father was a "very violent alcoholic".
For someone who owns an advertising agency in a town dominated by the alcohol industry and culture, this was a brave statement.
And the other was Year 10 student Kemy Ogendi who with astonishing clarity and precision defined the problems between young and old in Alice Springs. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.