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Future unclear: Geoff Clark guilty of obstructing police

Extract from Australian Broadcasting Corporation - ABC Online, on 3 December 2003


Clark's future in doubt after appeal ruling

A Victorian County Court judge has found suspended Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC) chairman Geoff Clark guilty of obstructing police.

Clark's career could hinge on the sentence to be imposed tomorrow morning in Warrnambool in south-west Victoria.

After eight days of evidence, Judge William White today cleared Clark of one charge, of riotous behaviour, but found him guilty of obstructing police at Warrnambool's Criterion Hotel in May last year.

He said Clark's evidence given today was sometimes evasive and inconsistent, and he rejected the defence claim that police actions at the hotel were motivated by racism.

The judge said Clark had acted with a misguided sense of responsibility to try to help another Koori, Jamie Chatfield.

Robert Richter QC, representing Clark, requested that given Clark's long service to the community, the judge should not record a conviction.

That would probably assist him in retaining his ATSIC leadership, which was suspended by the Federal Government pending this court appeal that quashed original convictions in the Magistrates Court.

Judge White will deliver the sentence tomorrow morning.


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