Wotton family launches class action over 2004 Palm Island death in custody

Agnes Wotton

Lex Wotton

Cecily Wotton

Allyson Horn 24 June 2014

Three First Nations residents on Palm Island off Townsville, North Queensland, have launched a class action against the State of Queensland and the Police Commissioner.

Palm Island resident Cameron Doomadgee died in a cell while in police custody in 2004.

His death sparked riots on the island, where the police station and courthouse were burnt down.

Three residents, Lex, Agnes and Cecilia Wotton, have now launched a class action in the Federal Court alleging the police response and investigation into the death were deficient.

The Wottons claim police discriminated against them on the basis of their race, including allowing officers with a conflict of interest to take part in the investigation into the death.

They also allege the police failed to provide services to Palm Island residents in the same way that would be provided to other residents of Queensland.

The Wottons allege police held unarmed residents at gunpoint and arrested residents without cause during the riots.

Senior Sergeant Chris Hurley
Through the past trials, Queensland Police, and in particular the Queensland Police Union repeated claims that Snr Sgt Hurley is an innocent man caught out doing a difficult job in trying circumstances. That's an interesting way of wording a murder in the police cells where the victim was beaten and kicked to death.