Justice not without issues
Justice is not without issues for Aboriginal people.
Many wonder what the outcome would have been had the plaintiff not been Aboriginal.
Justice? Compare these cases
So you thought you could trust Australia’s justice system to be just?
Compensation for an Aboriginal woman
After spending more than two years in prison Jeanie Angel, a 47-year-old Aboriginal woman was acquitted of murder .
An all-white jury found her guilty in 1989. She never received a formal apology or compensation.
- Compensation for two years in jail.
Compensation for a white man
A man was falsely arrested and detained in police custody over a minor traffic infringement in March 2004 .
A district court judge ordered NSW police to pay compensation to the man. His time in jail: three hours.
- Compensation for three hours in jail.
Promoted for what?
‘From little things big things grow’—such as promotions. Even if the little thing was causing death.
In 2004 Senior Sergeant Chris Hurley ‘fell’ onto an Aboriginal man he was to arrest for being drunk. The man died a short time after.
After three months on paid leave the sergeant resumed his duties on a different post, effectively having been promoted .
After posting photographs on his Facebook profile of drunk Aboriginal men in custody a Western Australian policeman was stood down from duty and investigated .
Intergenerational imprisonment is a term used to describe the fact that if an Aboriginal child has a parent in jail, there is a higher likelihood that they will also go to jail, creating a vicious cycle .
Lawyer Hannah McGlade speaks of “accumulated trauma” in Aboriginal communities which the Western non-Aboriginal courts are ill-equipped to address or resolve .
“It’s the level of accumulated trauma that results in family-dysfunction which is a significant cause for the over-contact with the court system.”
Police have to cover huge distances
In the Torres Strait police and Islanders are facing a unique challenge. It’s an area with more than 100 islands, 20 of which are inhabited.
There are only 30 police officers stationed on Thursday Island, in the southern part of the region. This means it can take police anywhere between 6 hours and 3 days to respond to an emergency call, depending on boat and aircraft resources .
For some islands the nearest police station is over 200 kilometres away.
On Western Australia’s Dampier Peninsula a multi-functional police station (which can also be used as a courtroom) has eased life in Aboriginal communities which was under-serviced by police. Prior to the station opening police response time was “never or it would take about 24 hours” . Police presence prevents a lot of incidents from happening.
Highly dysfunctional communities benefit from “dramatically” reduced family violence and less substance abuse.
It was the quietest Christmas we've had for a long time because of the general awareness that the police were just down the road.—Andrew Carter, chairman, One Arm Point Community 
Last updated: 7 November 2012 | Out of respect for Aboriginal culture I use Indigenous sources as much as possible.
 'Police ordered to pay $55,000 for wrongful arrest', Sun Herald, 3/5/2009
 '2004 Palm Island death in custody', http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2004_Palm_Island_death_in_custody visit,ed 14/3/2011
 'Cop stood down over Facebook', Koori Mail 495 p.34
 'Torres Strait police urged', Koori Mail 446 p.31
 'Working to break cycle', Koori Mail 435 p.73
 'WA 'Koori Court' call', Koori Mail 434 p.14
 'First permanent police for remote peninsula', Koori Mail 396 p.29