Angry crowd outside court as Liam Jurrah hearing gets under way

By KIERAN FINNANE

Report # 2. Posted 2:10pm, July 23.

 

An angry crowd gathered outside the Alice Springs Courthouse as the committal hearing of charges against Liam Jurrah, Christopher Walker and Josiah Fry got underway.
Feuding Warlpiri families were shouting and raising their fists to one another.

But prominent Yuendumu elder Harry Nelson (at right) was in the crowd, appealing for calm, saying they were not there for payback but to support their family member, Liam.
In the lobby of the courthouse, Mr Jurrah was happy to see family members, men and women, exchanging hugs and smiles. Outside the phalanx of media were waiting for him to come out.
A large detail of police moved in to calm the crowd.
In the courtroom, the less exciting matter of establishing the facts had begun.
Prosecutor Steve Robson outlined the Crown case against the three men. It concerns events on the night of March 7 this year at Little Sisters Town Camp but is related to the death of a young Indigenous male at Warlpiri Town Camp in Alice Springs in September 2010. This death has caused ongoing unrest at Yuendumu and among family groups “of the Warlpiri nation”, said Mr Robson.
He described a scene where family members from one group were socialising around a camp fire outside House One, the home of Murray Woods, at Little Sisters Camp.
It is alleged that Christopher Walker approached the group, saying words to the effect, “I’m here now, anybody want to fight? Come and get me, I’m one of the murderers. I’m going to get family and come back.”
When he came back he allegedly had Liam Jurrah and Josiah Fry with him as well as others.
The prosecution alleges that they were carrying weapons and that they arrived with the intention of assaulting and causing harm to the people around the fire.
It is alleged that Liam Jurrah struck Mr Woods on the head, as well as Ingrid White, causing her to bleed from a laceration.
Families on both sides called for reinforcements. Basil Jurrah arrived with others from Hidden Valley Town Camp, and more people came from the visitors centre on Len Kittle Drive. They were angry towards “the enemy family”.
There was a “second incursion” by the group led by Mr Walker and Liam Jurrah, alleges the prosecution.
Another women, Daphne White, was attacked.
The prosecution alleges Basil Jurrah was struck with a machete by Liam Jurrah, while Mr Walker hit him with an axe. He fell and they continued to strike him while he was on the ground.  He suffered multiple head and facial lacerations, as well as depressed skull fractures and facial fractures. It is Basil Jurrah who is the victim of the ’cause serious harm’ charge.

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