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Goondiwindi community divided after 'noose' attack

Extract from Australian Broadcasting Corporation - ABC Online, on 19 January 2005

An Aboriginal elder says an attack on an Indigenous teenager has divided the Goondiwindi community in Queensland's southern border region.

Tensions have flared in Goondiwindi at the court appearance of two men accused of assaulting a 16-year-old.

Local Aboriginal leader Lyall Munro says it has been years since there has been any trouble in the community.

"It's divided the community to a hell of an extent," she said.

"The black and white relationship prior to this incident was very strong."

Goondiwindi Mayor Tom Sullivan is not as pessimistic.

"I'm very hopeful and very confident that it won't," he said.

Local Indigenous elders, police and the mayor are working hard to keep the situation calm.

David Tomkins, 44, and his son Clint Tomkins, 23, faced the Goondiwindi Magistrates Court on charges of assault occasioning bodily harm.

They are accused of tying a noose around the neck of the youth and dragging him along a riverbank at a rural property outside the south Queensland town last November.

The victim suffered rope burns, head injuries and bruising to his body in the incident, and required hospital treatment.

It is alleged his friend was tied to a tree and forced to watch the incident.

Both have been bailed and will face a committal hearing in May.

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