HOT on the heels of a class action against Macquarie Bank which earned one of the largest returns to investors in Australian legal history, leading class action and human rights law firm Levitt Robinson Solicitors has brought a racial discrimination claim against the State of Queensland.
With prominent Palm Islander Lex Wotton as lead plaintiff, the representative action in the Federal Court of Australia concerns allegations of institutionalised racial discrimination within the Queensland Police Service in relation to events surrounding the 2004 death of Palm Island’s Mulrinji (aka Cameron Doomadgee) in police custody.
An internal investigation into Mulrunji’s death cleared the police of all wrongdoing. In 2010, Queensland’s Crime and Misconduct Commission concluded that “the investigation into the death of Mulrunji was seriously flawed, its integrity gravely compromised in the eyes of the very community it was meant to serve.”
The death in custody and flawed police investigation sparked a protest in the local community – since dubbed the “Palm Island Riots” by the media. In response, the Queensland police declared a state of emergency on the Island and sent in a special unit of heavily armed police officers.
The crack police unit stormed the homes of dozens of Palm Island residents to arrest them in front of their families, tasering some and dragging others out of their homes naked.
On 2 July 2014 at 11am, Levitt Robinson, in conjunction with the Palm Island Aboriginal Shire Council and local Mayor Alf Lacey, will hold a town hall meeting on Palm Island to finally give its Aboriginal residents a chance to access justice.
Stewart Levitt, the Principal of Levitt Robinson, sees history being made.
“The meeting on 2 July 2014 may be the first time that the entire Palm Island community could come together to channel their sense of grievance through the legal system and enforce their rights as Australians” said Mr Levitt.
Mr Levitt called for support from all of Australian society, noting that Prime Minister Tony Abbott has made himself the Prime Minister responsible for Indigenous affairs.
“This case will give Mr Abbott a chance to finally show he really cares.”
“His office should intervene to resolve the matter”, said Mr Levitt.
Levitt Robinson previously represented Mr Wotton in a 2012 case in the High Court of Australia regarding his right to speak to the media whilst on parole.
For any queries regarding the class action, please contact Levitt Robinson’s Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz on 02 9286 3133 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.