An Aboriginal Australian police officer who stoned a wombat to death has still not been charged.
Officer Waylon Johncock was filmed chasing and stoning a wombat on a dirt road in South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula on October 3, with the footage sparking disgust amongst many Australians.
Now police are reportedly seeking independent legal advice on how to prosecute Johncock, on account of reported ‘complexity and issues involved in the case’.
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An inquiry was launched earlier this month to determine whether or not Johncock will face criminal charges in relation to animal cruelty, according to The Advertiser.
Johncock’s Aboriginal heritage has thrown up various issues in this case. According to the Native Title Act of 1993, Aboriginal people are permitted to maintain traditional hunting customs.
Indigenous people in South Australia have reportedly traditionally killed wombats using rocks, meaning this is far from a straightforward issue.
Wirangu-Kokatha elder Jack Johncock has defended Waylon, stating the officer had been acting within his rights when he killed the wombat, telling MailOnline:
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.
Footage of Johncock killing the wombat caused outrage among many animal rights activists. For example, a Change.org petition calling for stronger laws against the exploitation of traditional hunting practices has gained over 330,000 signatures, at the time of writing.
However, Jack Johncock has spoken out against such heated petitions, arguing they show a ‘lack of understanding of cultural practices’:
Don’t they think they’ve done enough changes in this country to take away all our rights and customs? I think enough is enough.
Johncock, who works as a South Australian police community liaison officer, is currently being investigated by the South Australian police, and is reportedly continuing to work as normal.
South Australia Police have so far declined to comment on the matter on account of the ongoing investigation.
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Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.