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Family and community grieves for hit and run victims by Stephen Hagan 17 October 2013

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ver 300 hundred Yamaji people rallied opposite the Geraldton Courthouse yesterday morning at the lack of action by local police over a fatal hit and run accident of two popular Aboriginal identities on October 5. Christine Ryan and Horace Bynder, both 40, were allegedly hit as they walked along the side of Chapman Valley Road, near Wahn Avenue at Waggrankine in Geraldton at 6.50 p.m. by a 27-year-old Waggrakine man whilst driving his Holden Rodeo. Speakers at the rally said they need to know that the offender will be charged and expressed great concern over versions of events: police saying there were brake marks to signify the driver tried to avoid the pedestrians and the family saying they attended the scene of the accidents and took photographs and there is definitely no brake marks to be seen. Acting Inspector Tony Longhorn, from Geraldton, told the rally the fatal accident is in the hands of the major crash investigators from Perth. He said the alleged driver would be charged by summons with failing to stop and render assistance. Betty Forsyth, 67, aunty of Ms Ryan told First Nations Telegraph she was appalled at the lack of feedback from the police to the families of the deceased leading up to the rally. “It’s disgraceful that there’s been no charges laid by the police to date when they know who ran over my niece and her friend as they walked on the road,” Ms Forsyth, sister of

Wayne Warner says his daughter and friend “were run over and killed like dogs”. Image supplied

the deceased father, Wayne Warner, said. “And then to make matters worse I was at my brother’s house when the major crash investigation detectives from Perth arrived and starting making comments about how much the driver was suffering after the accident. “They should’ve been taking down notes and listening to my brother, but all I heard them talking about, from where I was in the next room, was how much this driver who committed the crime was feeling the pain. “I had to go out to the lounge

room where they were doing the talking and tell the police that they need to look out the window and look at all the little kids sitting out there who are feeling the pain for the loss of their mother. My niece has got 7 children. Two of them aged 13 and 18 were running along to catch up with their mother on the day of the accident and although they didn’t see the accident … they certainly saw the result of that cowardly hit and run job.” Ms Forsyth said the way the fatalities have been handled by the police is unforgivable and has left the family is in a state of Page 1


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suspension. “We’re all suspended in time and can’t grieve until the police actually charge this driver.” Mr Wayne Warner said his family is gutted and the police and media have treated the accident no differently than if they were investigating dogs being run over. “The community feels that this tragic road accident is going unnoticed just like ‘two dogs have been run over’ and no one cares,” Mr Warner said. “We still don’t know who the driver is but we have been told he was convicted of drink driving just weeks ago.” Lee-Anne Taylor, another aunty of the deceased, Christine, said the local media was quick to report Aboriginal offenders when they commit crimes in the town but all of a sudden they have gone silent on this double fatality caused by a hit and run crime. “We are sick and tired of the way we are being treated and just want to be treated equally in the Geraldton community,” Ms Taylor said. “There have been other incidents in Geraldton where the local newspaper published the names of Aboriginal perpetrators but

Lee Anne Taylor, Aunty of Christine, said “we are sick and tired of the way we are being treated and just want to be treated equally in the Geraldton community.”. Image supplied

this same rule doesn’t seem to exist when it is non-Aboriginal perpetrators. Why is this?” Ms Forsyth said the fatal accident reminds her of the grief caused to her family three years ago when a woman rushing to a football game to pick up her husband hit and killed one of her people and the police didn’t do anything about it. “My cousin is still mourning her loss from that accident and extremely frustrated that nothing’s been done to charge the driver,” Ms Forsyth said. “Once again the police went

to her house – as they did at my brother’s house today - and told my cousin the driver had gone through enough pain of her own and there was no need to put her through more pain by taking further action. “Where is the justice for our mob? It’s just not right.” The funeral for Mr Bynder is planned for October 25 and for Ms Ryan on November 1, both in Geraldton. First Nations Telegraph will follow this case and have been informed another rally was being planned in Geraldton in two weeks.

Over 300 hundred Yamaji people rallied opposite the Geraldton Courthouse at the lack of action by local police over a fatal hit and run accidents of two popular Aboriginal identities on October 5. Image supplied

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Family and community grieves for hit and run victims