Last Friday an all white jury found Lex Wotton, an Aboriginal man from Palm Island, guilty of 'rioting with destruction' for his involvement in the 2004 Palm Island uprising. On November 26th 2004 the people of Palm Island set fire to the local police station, court house and police barracks after a pathologist's report claimed that the death of Mulrunji Doomadgee, a 36 year old local, in police custody a week earlier was an 'accident'. Mulrunji died in a police cell, one hour after he had been arrested for being drunk. He suffered massive internal injuries, including a ruptured spleen, four broken ribs and a 'liver that had been 'almost cleaved in two' from a huge compressive force.'
The officer who arrested him, Senior Sergeant Chris Hurley, claimed that Mulrunji had fallen on stairs. A coroner's inquest found that Senior Sergeant Chris Hurley was responsible for Mulrunji's death, as the injuries were consistent with a beating. However, a court found Hurley not guilty for manslaughter. He has since been promoted and is an Inspector on the Gold Coast.
In comparison Lex Wotton is now facing a life sentence in prison. He is being held in prison until his next court appearance in the Townsville District Court on November 7.