By KIERAN FINNANE
Report # 3. Posted 4:40pm, July 23.
Inside the court where he, with two others, is facing serious charges, Liam Jurrah sat mostly with his head in his left hand and his left leg jiggling nervously. Outside, in the lobby, it was obviously a pleasure for the star footballer to see his family members. After court had adjourned for the day about a dozen of them, including prominent figures Harry Nelson and Valerie Martin, gathered around him, proud and affectionate. His lawyers exchanged greetings and pleasantries with them and as they parted Jon Tippet QC told them all to “take care tonight!”.
Mr Jurrah was led away through a side door, to the frustration of his relatives who clamoured for him to come with them, out through the front door to the waiting cameras and remaining crowd.
When he didn’t emerge the crowd quickly dispersed.
The court heard today from two witnesses, Allan Collins and Esau Marshall. Their evidence in chief had been tendered in writing.
Cross-examination by Mr Tippett went to two matters in particular: one, that they had been drinking – “half shot” as opposed to “full drunk”, they both said; two, that it was dark at Little Sisters Town Camp where the critical events unfolded.
They had gone there from Hidden Valley Town Camp, after hearing that there was trouble afoot, to seek out their “enemy”, Mr Tippett suggested, to “fight” and to “hurt” the enemy.
“Fight to defend ourself,” said Mr Marshall. He had the assistance of a Warlpiri interpreter but seemed to understand quite well almost everything that was put to him.
To the suggestion that he couldn’t see what went on because it was very dark, Mr Marshall answered clearly: “I seen what happened.”
Questioned by Ted Sinoch, representing the co-accused Josiah Fry, Mr Marshall told the court that he didn’t see Mr Fry at Little Sisters. He knows Mr Fry well as they play on the same team for the Yuendumu Magpies.
Mr Collins’ evidence was less clear about whether Mr Fry was present at Little Sisters. In his statement to police he did not mention Mr Fry being part of the group that attacked Basil Jurrah. Why not, Mr Sinoch wanted to know. Mr Collins looked at the ceiling for a long moment. Did he forget? Yes, he said.
Both witnesses put Liam Jurrah and Christopher Walker, whose nickname is “Mini Me”, on the scene as perpetrators in the attack on Basil Jurrah, together with a third person.
Mr Sinoch read from Mr Collins’ statement a paragraph to this effect.
Mr Marshall, questioned by prosecutor Steve Robson in order to “rehabilitate” his evidence after cross-examination, said he had seen Basil Jurrah lying on the ground; Liam Jurrah was “hitting him” with a machete, and Christopher Walker had an axe and “was pounding it on Basil”, on his legs and his head.
A further witness was called but did not appear and the Crown withdrew the evidence of two more witnesses after Mr Robson had formed the view that it was “not truthful”.
The hearing continues tomorrow.
Photos, at top: An angry crowd opposite the courthouse kept in check by a large contingent of police. At left: One of the accused, Josiah Fry.