NT Government fiddles while territory burns
[supplied by Lydia Harnett]
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The Northern Territory Attorney-General’s department has responded to an AHRC complaint made by Levitt Robinson Solicitors on behalf of the “Wilson Clan”, the extended family of the Indigenous founders of the Peppimenarti community located about one hour’s drive from Wadeye in the Northern Territory.
In a letter dated 20 March 2023 from the Northern Territory Attorney-General’s Principal Lawyer, Ben Wild wrote, “I am awaiting information from NT Police in response to the matters alleged in the complaint. While it may be that the Territory will agree to participate in an independent conciliation process, it is unlikely a decision on how best to proceed will be made by the Territory for some time.”
The complaint was lodged on 17 February 2023 with the President of the Australian Human Rights Commission, who formally accepted it, though with the rider that AHRC has so many complaints pending, that it could take six (6) months to process. The representative complainant, Regina Pilawuk Wilson is an Aboriginal elder and a worldrenowned artist and weaver whose work appears in the Phillips Collection in Washington DC According to Ray Whear, the CEO of the Aboriginal Corporation which manages the Peppimenarti community, since the AHRC complaint was made, at least four (4) cars have been stolen, the school principal and the clinic nurse have each been attacked and a woman in distress has been dragged back to her home by abusive male relatives because the Women’s Refuge was closed.
The CEO claims he has made no fewer than fifteen (15) emergency calls to the police which have not been answered on either “131 444” or “000” and the community continues to live in fear. Ray Whear claims that the culprit in the assaults on the school principal and the clinic nurse was a close associate of the notorious Jovi Boys. Following one of the Jovi Boys’ suffering a minor gunshot injury on 26 January 2023, the attached photograph was posted on Facebook “Bon Jovi Boys we will get revenge for our hitman. I think I’ll bring this old bar to Pepe.”
The “old bar” appears to be a semi-automatic rifle, pictured is image of Dean Wilson who was shot right through his torso with a crossbow on 7 April 2020, allegedly during an attack by the Jovi Boys on the Peppimenarti community. His cousin, Trevor Jones, was fatally shot with a crossbow on 14 September 2022. While those crimes were being committed, there were attempted rapes, multiple incidents of vandalism, looting and terror directed towards the community by Jovi Boy gang members, which the NT Police have, over the past three (3) years, made little effort to halt according to Whear. 2 p150291_081.docx In defiance of police, the Jovi Boys have posted online, pictures of themselves brandishing crossbows and a sheaf-full of arrows. According to Whear, over three (3) years, the police have not made a serious attempt to disrupt the criminal activities of the Jovi Boys or to protect the Peppimenarti community.
The community’s Sydney lawyer, Stewart Levitt, commented: “If the Northern Territory Police are unable to intervene, intercept or prevent violent criminal behaviour, even when the perpetrators taunt their intended victims on social media, barely, if at all, disguising themselves, what can the communities in Alice Springs and Darwin expect?” In expressing his sadness over the death of twenty-year-old Declan Laverty, stabbed in a Darwin bottle shop on 20 March 2023, Whear lamented, “We not only need more police on the beat but police who act intelligently and perform an investigative as well as a reactive function. So little preventable crime is actually intercepted or prevented in Peppimenarti by the Northern Territory Police.”