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Cop Who Laughed While Stoning Wombat To Death Will Not Be Charged

by : Emma Rosemurgey on : 06 Dec 2019 11:11
Cop Who Laughed While Stoning Wombat To Death Will Not Be ChargedCop Who Laughed While Stoning Wombat To Death Will Not Be ChargedWaylon Johncock/Facebook/Wombat Awareness Organisation

A South Australian police officer who laughed while stoning a wombat to death on camera will not be charged, after an inquiry found his actions were ‘not inconsistent with traditional Indigenous practices’.

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The disturbing footage, which emerged in October, shows Senior Community Constable Waylon Johncock throwing huge rocks at the defenceless animal, sparking anger among animal lovers on social media around the world.

While thousands of people called for Johncock to be charged with animal abuse over the incident, which took place in Gawler Ranges, east of Ceduna, the off-duty officer was defended by an Indigenous leader who claimed he did ‘nothing wrong’.

Australia Wombat Off Duty Police OfficerAustralia Wombat Off Duty Police OfficerWombat Awareness Organisation/Facebook

Wirangu-Kokatha Aboriginal elder Jack Johncock, based in Port Lincoln, told ABC throwing rocks at wombats was ‘one of many methods’ local Aboriginal people used to kill wombats for food.

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He said:

It’s easy for people to sit back and judge people. This has been part of our culture and the way we’ve gone about it for thousands of years.

For the people of the west coast of South Australia, the wombat is a big part of their diet and they’ll get wombat any way they can.

At the time, Australian Police Commissioner Grant Stevens confirmed the man was an off-duty officer and condemned Johncock’s actions, calling them ‘totally abhorrent and unacceptable’.

But, following an internal investigation and advice from the Department of Public Prosecutions, Stevens revealed today (December 6) that Johncock will not be charged.

Australia Wombat Off Duty Police OfficerAustralia Wombat Off Duty Police OfficerWombat Awareness Organisation/Facebook

As per 7News, Stevens said:

The investigators have ascertained that as a traditional Aboriginal man, the Senior Community Constable has an appropriate permit to hunt wombats for food.

Whilst distressing to many who viewed the video, it has been established the Senior Community Constable’s actions were not inconsistent with traditional hunting practices.

Stevens went on to say that a huge number of people had seen the video in a short period of time, prompting the force to receive an unprecedented number of calls, emails and social media comments from people demanding to see some action.

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Cop Who Laughed While Stoning Wombat To Death Will Not Be ChargedCop Who Laughed While Stoning Wombat To Death Will Not Be ChargedWaylon Johncock/Facebook

He said:

The video is confronting for many people, I found it confronting. I stand by my reaction to the treatment of the wombat.

I still find some of the content of the video disturbing – I take personal displeasure in seeing any animal distressed, or being killed as the wombat was killed.

I know many shared in my shock and dismay. I gave a public undertaking there would be a robust and thorough investigation, and that I would provide advice regarding the outcome of that investigation.

As a result, a criminal investigation ran in parallel to an internal disciplinary investigation into the actions of the Senior Community Constable as portrayed in the video.

I asked investigators to bring together all available information to assess if criminal charges should be laid.

Investigators deemed that Johncock, as a traditional Aboriginal man, was not behaving inconsistently with traditional practices. Therefore, he will remain on duty.

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Emma Rosemurgey

Emma Rosemurgey is an NCTJ trained Journalist who started her career by producing The Royal Rosemurgey newspaper in 2004, which kept her family up to date with the goings on of her sleepy north east village. She graduated from the University of Central Lancashire in Preston and started her career in regional newspapers before joining Tyla (formerly Pretty 52) in 2017, and progressing onto UNILAD in 2019.

Topics: Animals, Aboriginal, Gawler Ranges, Jack Johncock, Port Lincoln, South Australia Police, Stoning, Waylon Johncock, Wombat

Credits

7News and 1 other
  1. 7News

    Wombat-Stoning South Australian Police Officer Avoids Charge

  2. ABC

    Video of SA Police officer hitting wombat with rocks is 'abhorrent' and 'detestable', Commissioner says