Palm Island is a tropical island off the coast of Townsville, North Queensland. On 19 November 2004, a 36-year-old Aboriginal man, known as Cameron Doomadgee, died there in police custody.1 A week later, the results of his autopsy were read to a large public gathering, indicating the possibility that Mr Doomadgee had been punched and killed by police officers.2
A riot ensued. The police station, police barracks and housing, and the courthouse were burned and damaged.
Mr David Bulsey had addressed the crowd prior to the riot. Along with a number of other residents of Palm Island, Mr Bulsey was arrested the following morning. Mr Bulsey was charged with unlawful assembly. The charge was later withdrawn and replaced with riotous assembly and destruction of a building. He was discharged after it was accepted, during the lengthy committal hearing in July 2005, that he had no case to answer in respect of the charges.