Man Who Ran Over 14-Year-Old Indigenous Boy Cleared Of Manslaughter

Elijah Doughty

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The man who ran over and killed Indigenous teenager Elijah Doughty in Kalgoorlie, Western Australia, last year has been found not guilty of manslaughter, in a verdict that was met with shock, anger and cries of “murderer” from the public gallery.

The jury, which had no Indigenous members, found the unnamed defendant guilty of the lesser charge of dangerous driving occasioning death. He will serve three years in jail.

The man stated during the trial that he “chased” Doughty in his 4WD because he thought the motorcycle Doughty was riding had been stolen from him. In the course of this chase, the man ran Doughty over with his two-tonne vehicle, killing the 14 year old. The man maintains that he did not intend to do so.

The Kalgoorlie Indigenous community has responded to the decision with sadness and outrage, and a group of around 100 people have marched down the main street to gather outside the court house and call for justice.

Last August there were similar protests in Kalgoorlie over news that the driver would be charged with manslaughter rather than murder.

In a piece for Junkee following Elijah’s death last year, Gunai/Kurnai, Gunditjmara, Wiradjuri and Yorta Yorta writer and activist Nayuka Gorrie outlined the exhausting and relentless nature of violence against Indigenous people in this country. “People tell us to wait quietly for justice to take its course,” she wrote. “But then we remember the murders of three Indigenous children in Bowraville and the decades that community has waited for justice. Then we remember Lynette Daley, whose killers are on bail. We get angry and are told not to fight fire with fire… We grieve, and then we grieve again.”

Many are expressing this kind of anger and sadness about today’s verdict online. It comes a few days after protests over Indigenous deaths in custody, two weeks after Kamilaroi man Eric Whittaker died after sustaining unexplained head injuries at Parklea prison, and one year after the death of Rebecca Maher in a Maitland police holding cell.