Two school principals from Indigenous Catholic Community Schools were killed in yesterday morning in a triple fatality on Tiger Brennan Drive in Darwin.
One was Greg Crowe, principal of the Ltyentye Apurte Catholic School in Santa Teresa in Central Australia. He was aged 72.
The other was the principal of Murrupurtiyanuwu Catholic Primary School in Wurrumiyanga on Bathurst Island, aged 50. She had been principal for nearly 23 years. He name was not released for cultural reason.
Bishop Eugene Hurley (pictured) said: “We are deeply saddened by this tragic accident where the lives of three people were taken. Two were principals who we knew and loved well and the third was a taxi driver whose family I don’t know.
"The community of Wurrumiyanga has lost a school principal and a leader in her own community.
"Santa Teresa has lost a principal and a much-loved member of the community. He has worked as principal for the past five years."
– Media Release from the Catholic Education Office.
UPDATE 1:30 May 28: Police have now disclosed that the taxi's passenger, described as a 34 year old female, was issued with a liquor infringement notice, an on-the-spot fine. That means the owner and purchaser of the liquor was fined $100 plus $20 victim levy under Section 75(1)(c) of the NT Liquor Act targeting anyone who "consumes, sells, supplies or otherwise disposes of liquor in a general restricted area."
Meanwhile, forfeiture of the car may be part of the penalty the driver is facing.
UPDATE 10:10 May 24: Police are now seeking legal advice about the responsibilities of taxi drivers carrying passengers who have alcohol in their possession.
The Alice Springs News Online this morning put the following question to Police Commissioner John McRoberts: "If – say – a German tourist and his wife took a taxi, bought a bottle of champagne in a bottle shop, and then went to Anzac Hill to watch the sunset over a glass of bubbly, would the taxi driver be obliged to stop them from doing so?
"What would he be required to do? What would the police do to him if he did not act as the police requires?
Bear in mind that Alice Springs is also a prescribed town [with large signs at the entrance] where drinking in public is prohibited."
A spokesperson for the Commissioner replied: "The Police are currently seeking legal advice. Once there is a clearer position, I can let all the enquiring media know."
Police will be seeking the forfeiture of a taxi whose driver is alleged to have taken alcohol to a "prescribed area" in Alice Springs.
They have seized the taxi under the Commonwealth Emergency Response Legislation and charged the cabbie.
"The 50 year-old man was followed by police after his taxi was observed at a drive through bottle shop just after 2pm yesterday," says Superintendent Catherine Bennett.
"The whole community must take responsibility for minimising harm done in the town.
“Police will allege the driver of the taxi was aware the town camp was a dry area and chose to ignore the large sign at the entrance. "
UPDATE: Samih Habib Bitar, director of Alice Springs Taxis and former alderman (pictured right), says all drivers know that it is illegal for grog to be taken into town camps. He says sometimes people try to hide grog amongst their groceries. "It's up to the driver to check," he says, "to make sure their boot is clean. The company tells everyone to check."
On the possible penalty for a breach, he says "we all must pay for our mistakes" and hopes everyone "learns a lesson" .