'INVASION' CASE: Bundaberg man Merv Tomlinson, with fellow accused Diane Redden-King, Wit-boooka (Gary Tomlinson) and supporter (right) at Gympie District Court this week.
'INVASION' CASE: Bundaberg man Merv Tomlinson, with fellow accused Diane Redden-King, Wit-boooka (Gary Tomlinson) and supporter (right) at Gympie District Court this week. Arthur Gorrie

Council fracas: Jury told of violence in 'five long minutes'

CHARGES against three Aboriginal land rights activists all arose from a crowded five minutes of uproar, according to submissions in Gympie District Court yesterday.

Barrister Andrew Preston, representing Bundaberg man Mervyn Tomlinson, told the court Mr Tomlinson did nothing to contribute to the violence which occurred at Gympie Regional Council's Mary St offices on May 31, 2016,

Mr Preston quoted popular physicist the late Stephen Hawking and his book A Brief History of Time to explain the difficulties the court faced in working out what happened.

"Time is what stops every thing from happening at once," Mr Hawking wrote.

Mr Preston said evidence of different witnesses varied because each witness was focused on particular events and because too much happened, almost all at once, in a period not much longer than five minutes.

"It was a blur," one witness said.

Some saw events which others had missed and everyone focused on different aspects of an intense and fast-moving situation.

But none of the evidence suggested Merv Tomlinson had done anything wrong, Mr Preston said.

He had adopted a peace-keeping role, similar to that of council CEO Bernard Smith, who had done all the same things as Mr Tomlinson, but who was not charged with any offence.

Mr Tomlinson also did not want to leave his second cousin, Wit-boooka (charged as Gary Tomlinson, of Southside).

Wit-boooka was distressed after a punch from Mayor Mick Curran broke his nose and Merv Tomlinson wanted to stop the violence and did not want to leave his cousin to be possibly punched again.

"No one was struck in the face, until the mayor got involved,'' Mr Preston said.

"No one was bleeding, no one had a broken nose,"

Mr Preston said video showed Mervyn Tomlinson standing between Cr Curran and Wit-boooka, with his hands at his sides and his head down.

Gympie Times


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