UPDATE: Gympie activist serves two hours for contempt
GYMPIE Aboriginal land rights activist Wit-booka walked from Gympie Magistrates Court yesterday, after serving about two hours in the courtroom dock for contempt.
Magistrate Chris Callaghan called the activist from the dock, where Mr Callaghan had ordered him confined for contempt at about 10.45am.
The magistrate told Wit-booka he did not intend to take any further action and ordered him to appear in the court again in March.
Wit-boooka is charged under his officially registered name, Gary Tomlinson, with public nuisance and trespass offences relating to an incident at Gympie Regional Council offices 18 months ago.
He and fellow-accused are remanded on bail to appear in the court again on March 19, allowing time for a further pre-trial hearing in the District Court in February 22.
The three have sought District Court orders giving them access to evidence they say has been withheld by the prosecution.
Outside the court yesterday, group spokeswoman Diane Redden-King said the District Court proceedings had resulted in further evidence becoming available.
ABORIGINAL land rights activist Wit-boooka has just become one of the first people to be incarcerated by new Gympie magistrate Chris Callaghan, after the activist insisted on his right to laugh at the court.
Wit-booka is charged under his registered name, Gary Tomlinson, with public nuisance and trespass at Gympie Regional Council's Mary Street office on May 31 last year.
He told the court the council office was on tribal land and so was the court.
"You're subject to our jurisdiction,” he told Mr Callaghan.
His co-accused, Diane Redden-King, told the court her name was Djaki Widjung and Mervyn Tomlinson, who appeared by telephone from Bundaberg, where he lives, was Djaa 'mee Gular Djan du Kabi.
The three have repeatedly challenged the jurisdiction of the courts to hear their case, but acting "under duress” have sought a District Court order that police provide more information on the charges than has been supplied already.
They have also questioned what they claim is the disappearance of phone video of the council office incident.
Those matters are still to be finalised at District Court level and will be relevant to the Magistrates Court matters before the Gympie court this morning.
This morning, Wit-boooka responded to an instruction to remain silent by telling Mr Callaghan: "You have a moral choice in this matter.”
"I do,” Mr Callaghan replied, "and I'm telling you to be quiet while I make my order. "I would suggest you do that sir,” the magistrate added.
"What happens if you don't have jurisdiction?” Wit-boooka asked.
"You don't get to ask me questions,”
When Tomlinson reacted with laughter, Mr Callaghan said: "Don't laugh at me.”
It's a free world sir,” the activist replied, folding his arms.
"You can get over there,” Mr Callaghan said, gesturing towards the dock. "It's not that free,” he said.
"This is genocide,” Wit-booka said.
He was sentenced to the rising of the court.
The other two accused were remanded to appear in the court again on March 19, timing which will allow a final determination by the District Court on a possible requiremnet for police to provide information which the three accused claim is needed for their defence.