Kalgoorlie on edge after verdict for driver who killed Elijah Doughty revealed
Demonstrations are being held in Kalgoorlie after the verdict. Photo: ABC Goldfields-EsperanceThe people of Kalgoorlie are “gutted” and”quite raw” about the decision to find the man who hit and killed teenager Elijah Doughty guilty of dangerous driving causing death, rather than the more serious charge of manslaughter.
That’s according to Aboriginal elder Trevor Donaldson, who said the system had”failed us again”.
On Friday the Perth Supreme Courtsentenced the man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, to three years in prison. He will be eligible for parole in February.
Those waiting outside the Perth and Kalgoorlie courts to hear the verdict were angered and saddened by the news.
But Mr Donaldsoncalled for calm, saying Aboriginal Goldfields Landand Sea rangers wereamongthe crowd in Kalgoorlie tohelp keep the peace.
Elijah Doughty died after being hit by a ute. Photo: Facebook/@Elijah Doughty
“They’vegot a right to demonstrate, but we’re certainly not condoning any violence and people should keep their heads,” he said.
“Because we live here, we have to wear it, no matter what. And people are venting, they’re got that right, but we wore the wrath last time.
“And as a blackfella I’m going to be hit with it no matter what. Thesystem’s let us down – justice, education, health, you name it. We’re saddened and disappointed, the system’s failed us again. But we’re survivors.”
City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder Mayor John Bowler said justice must be allowed to take its course.
“There’s anger on bothsides, and that’s understandable, but we must respect justice and the process and find ways to move ahead as a community,” he said.
“There was a lot of harmony in Kalgoorlie before all of this, and we’re working to bring that back, and we’ll continue on that path. It’s clearly something as a city that we want to learn from and we will do that, engage with local youth, not just Aboriginal youth but all of them, and get back on track as a community.”
Residents in Kalgoorlie saidthe townwason edge on Friday.
WAtodaycontacted a number of people in Kalgoorlie, who said the city was eerily quiet, and had a larger than usual police presence.
“I got pulled over twice on my way to work, and I only live a few minutes away,” said one woman, who worksat a pub.
“I went up to the bank this morning to get change just in case there was any trouble and they had to close. There’s police everywhere, no trouble here so far but last time they were not prepared at all.”
WAtodaycontacted WA Police about any increase in officer numbers.
“WA Police does not discuss specific resources deployed in operational activity,” WA Policesaid.
“Resource deployment is frequently re-assessed to maintain law and order and community safety.”