UPDATE: Wit-boooka sentence ends Gympie council fracas case
UPDATE, Thursday June 6, 2.15pm
A DISTRICT Court judge sitting in Brisbane has sentenced two of three people charged over an invasion of Gympie Regional Council's Mary St offices on May 31, 2016.
Wit-boooka (charged as Gary Tomlinson, of Southside) was sentenced to two months jail, suspended for 12 months, after Judge Bernard Porter heard submissions from prosecution and defence, before presenting his own comments in a 25-minute sentence for a case he has described as "more complex than most”.
Wit-boooka had been found guilty by a Gympie jury of forcible entry to the council offices, three counts of common assault on council staff and one of serious assault on a police officer, during a 15-minute fracas, which including five minutes of serious disorder and violence.
But Judge Porter noted that, although Wit-boooka had committed assaults, at no time had he thrown a punch or caused anyone serious injury, even though he had been struck by Mayor Mick Curran, causing a broken and bleeding nose..
Mervyn Tomlinson, of Bundaberg, was found guilty of one charge only of assaulting police, after the jury found he had assisted Wit-boooka to struggle with the arresting police officer.
Judge Porter did accept that this assistance was very minor.
The third person charged over the melee, Diane Redden-King, of Curra, was acquitted of all charges against her.
Judge Porter noted the jury had acquitted all three of charges involving assaults allegedly committed on Cr Curran.
The judge said he understood there had been frustration associated with a belief that there was a legal basis for claiming Aboriginal ownership rights over land, including that on which the council office building had been built, but said a lack of an available legal forum to raise this issue did not excuse the protest having turned violent.
He noted the generally law abiding and community minded lives led by both men who appeared before him for sentence yesterday.
THE FINAL CHAPTER: Sentencing today after Gympie council 'fracas'.
THE sentencing of two out of three Gympie land rights activists over a fracas at Gympie Regional council chambers in 2016 will take place in Brisbane today.
The sentencing process is expected to be video-linked live to Gympie Courthouse, after an undertaking by District Court judge Bernard Porter that he would arrange for members of the public to be able to view the proceedings live.
Before the court will be Wit-boooka (charged as Gary Tomlinson, of Southside) and Mervyn Tomlinson, of Bundaberg.
Their co-accused during the trial, which ended in Gympie District Court last Saturday, is Diane Redden-King of Curra, who was acquitted of all charges agaisnt her.