Manifestations of Moral Panics in the Sentencing of Palm Islander Lex Wotton

Hawkins Press
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Current Issues in Criminal Justice, 2009, 20 (3), pp. 466 - 475
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This Comment considers the sentencing of Palm Islander man, Lex Patrick Wotton, for his involvement in the protest following the death in custody of Mulrunji. It examines the protest as a response to the police role in the death and the police mishandling of the consequent investigation. The Comment critiques the media trial that paralleled Wotton's court trial. The mainstream media, along with the Queensland Government and police union, produced a moral panic over the Palm Island protest that overshadowed the death in custody. This Comment argues that the court that sentenced Wotton appropriated the moral panic over the offence to remove the death in custody as a sentencing factor.
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