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Palm Island community loses faith in legal system

Extract from Australian Broadcasting Corporation - ABC Online, on 4 December 2004

There have been angry outbursts at a community meeting of about 200 people in Townsville, organised to discuss a national day of action over the Aboriginal death in custody on Palm Island, off the north Queensland coast.

Members of the Townsville and Palm Island Aboriginal communities packed out a church hall to discuss a plan of action in response to the death in custody of Cameron Doomadgee two weeks ago.

The meeting was opened with prayers and poems for Mr Doomadgee and shortly afterwards members of the media who had been invited to the meeting were asked to leave.

People inside the meeting have expressed anger at the way governments have handled the Aboriginal deaths in police custody, and at the way the media has covered the events on Palm Island following Mr Doomadgee's death.

Townsville resident Carl Wyles says people have lost faith in the legal system and do not believe Mr Doomadgee's death will be properly investigated.

"All Aboriginal people know the court process is a sham," he said.

"When you go in there you have to say 'yes your honour' and bow to the judge, who sits many metres above you looking down on you.

"So when you go into the courts, Aboriginals think, you know, when you go into the courts that you're in an area where you're not going to win."

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