Gympie Magistrates Court House, Channon Street, Gympie.
Gympie Magistrates Court House, Channon Street, Gympie. Patrick Woods

BREAKING NEWS: Indigenous rights activist faces jail

A SOUTHSIDE man claiming Aboriginal sovereignty faces a week in jail after refusing to fulfil bail conditions ordered during a dramatic and potentially significant Gympie Magistrates Court session today.

Wit Booker, previously reported in The Gympie Times under his non-indigenous name, Gary Tomlinson, appeared in custody on charges of trespass and obstructing police

Mr Tomlinson has claimed Aboriginal Sovereignty over areas of land important to his Kabi Kabi tribal group.

Magistrate M Baldwin told Booker yesterday she was happy to grant him bail under his Aboriginal name but said he was obliged to provide identification details, including fingerprints and DNA.

"I haven't seen a warrant. I haven't done anything wrong," Booker told the Court.

The Magistrate said this could not affect her ruling.

"There are many people who come within the system who may not be found guilty.

"You can protest all you like, but nobody else will be kept in custody except you," she told him.

 Mrs Baldwin was forced to ask repeatedly for silence from Kabi Kabi Sovereign rights supporter Diane King, who attempted to approach the bar table and to address the Court, carrying documents supporting Mr Booker's stance.

"Please sit down," Mrs Baldwin said, several times, also asking for silence.

"Having people waving things around doesn't help."

Booker told the Court he would be claiming compensation of $100,000 a day while incarcerated.

"Good luck with that," Mrs Baldwin said.

She noted Booker had been arrested on Friday for trespass and had been granted bail on Saturday at a special court sitting.

"I don't want you to be in jail for seven days," she told him.

"I don't make the law, I just have to process it."

She announced to the court room that she had "enlarged his bail, but he has to sign it.

"I'm happy to have him sign under the name Booker if that's an issue."

"This is my country," Booker said.

"I've done nothing wrong."

"See you next week," Mrs Baldwin said.

"I hope I can be helpful (before then)," she said.

Gympie Times


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