Sentencing Indigenous Resisters as if the Death in Custody Never Occured

School of Politcial and Social Inquiry, Monash University
Publication Type:
Conference Proceeding
Australia and New Zealand Critical Criminology Conference, 2009, pp. 6 - 18
Issue Date:
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This paper addresses the trends in sentencing by higher courts of Indigenous protesters against `white racist violence. It contrasts earlier sentencing decisions affecting resisters on the Yarrabah Reserve in 1981 and towards the 1987 death in custody of Lloyd Boney at Brewarrina (NSW), with later sentencing of protesters after Mulrunjis death in custody on Palm Island in 2004. It argues that Indigenous resisters are increasingly characterised by sentencing judges as out-of-control rather than capable of legitimate political engagement. This dovetails a denunciation of the Indigenous community in media moral panics that demands more punitive restraint.
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