Aborigine dying to be punished

Click to follow
Steven Barnes, a 28-year-old Aborigine, is pleading with a court to be allowed to suffer traditional punishment of being speared in the legs and having a boomerang thrown at him after pleading guilty to killing his nephew in a fight.

But Justice Steven Bailey in the Northern Territory Supreme Court denied bail so that he could receive the punishment. In many areas of outback Australia judges often give suspended sentences to Aboriginal defendants, knowing their real punishment will come from their own tribe in the form of "payback."

Asked by prosecutor Michael Carey if he still wanted to go through the punishment even though it might kill him, Barnes replied, "Yes" in a barely audible voice. An elder in Barnes' Lajamanu people told the court they had been preparing for the punishment.