What they have done to Rex Bellotti Junior

People need to know the truth: that the reality of Western Australia is very different from what community organisations, legal organisations and government bodies wish members of the community to believe. Rex Bellotti Jr., a 15-year-old child, an Aboriginal boy, was run over by a Western Australian Police 4WD, and all that has followed has been lying, manipulation, intimidation and no truth.

What is so abhorrent is the conduct of the officers of the Western Australian Police, the legal community of Western Australia and certain organisations and the fact that the Bellotti family has had no support. All of the evidence, within the Corruption and Crime Commission report (2009) and the Western Australian Police report (2009), is like the scribbles of a moronic compulsive liar. These documents contain so many contradictions, they simply do not make sense. The only thing that does make sense is that the WA police officers involved are so arrogant that they believe they can commit criminal acts and then lie in legally binding documents without being held accountable.

In this case, we have a 15-year-old boy who was attending a wake, Rex Bellotti Junior. A boy who is reflecting on a life gone and experiencing extreme loss. As Darryl Kickett, his great-uncle, said, “Imagine if you were at a wake, saying goodbye to someone you love, and minutes later, you are fighting for your life, and people are grieving for you”.

Swerved to hit him

What happened on that night is unacceptable. It is unacceptable that two police officers swerved onto the wrong side of the road to hit Rex Junior (witness accounts). The key witness, who was a metre and a half away from Rex Junior when he was hit by the 4WD, states she was just off the driveway, virtually not on the road, and the car came so close it brushed against her face.

It is beyond a miracle that Rex Junior did not lose his life that night, in March 2009. His injuries were so horrific that he had to be resuscitated 12 times during 13 hours of life-saving surgery. This “incident” (as the Western Australian Police call it) left Rex Junior crippled for life. As stated by Rex Senior, during an interview on Sovereign Voice with Robbie Thorpe (August 19, 2011), “The only thing holding his leg together is his kneecap”. He needs knee reconstruction surgery, and if the doctors make one small mistake, he will wake up without a leg.

This is a boy who was being watched very closely by AFL scouts, who had a promising future ahead of him, but now all hopes of him even being able to walk properly again are gone. This calls into question the issue of compensation, of which there has been none. Lawyer John Hammond, commenting on compensation, stated that Rex Junior was to receive compensation based on 70% liability. However, there has been no compensation awarded,  despite the fact that Rex Junior is now permanently disabled. This young man has never had a chance to have a professional career or any kind of job.

The Western Australian Police report (2009) supports the investigating officer’s claims that he was not aware of the extent of Rex Junior’s injuries, not aware that they were life threatening. This is a lie. One of the officers who attended the scene noted that he could see tissue ripped from Rex Junior’s leg. Rex Junior was bleeding from his ears and his nose, he also had a severed femoral artery (main artery), and there was blood all over the road. Rex Junior’s medical report also states that his injuries were life threatening and is supported by witness accounts, and this legally constitutes grievous bodily harm.

Delays in witness accounts

Despite the fact that there were at least 20 people who either saw Rex Junior being hit by the police 4WD or saw the events following the “incident”, witness statements were not taken until early April, over a month after the fact. The majority of those taken are unsigned, which means they are legally invalid and cannot be used in criminal proceedings.

The following questions demand answers. Why cannot one police officer, despite the interesting fact that four police officers (four patrol cars) were at the scene within 90 seconds of Rex Junior being run down, accurately say what direction they came from? Why is it that, supposedly, not one of those police vehicles was fitted with GPS or a CCTV camera, when that has been part of standard police issue for many years? Why is it that the police produced two maps of the scene, with Rex Junior’s body being placed on one side of the road in one map and the other side of the road in the other?

Recently someone asked why more witnesses have not come forward. The reality is that, if you are an Aboriginal Australian, such injustice can happen and nothing is done about it. It happens all the time. What happened in Palm Island, to the police officer, Senior Sergeant Hurley, who “lost his temper” and murdered Mulrunji Doomadgee?

We all need to understand that, unless we all know about what happened to Rex Bellotti Junior and so many others like him and make a stand against it, it will keep on happening. It is not good enough to detach yourself from the reality, because even if you want to be selfish, it could be you, and this is unacceptable. Who wants to live in a community, where a young child, an old man, anyone, can be run down, can be killed, can be beaten to death in a jail cell, simply because there are racist criminals within the police force and vile individuals who protect them?

There must be a public inquiry into what happened to Rex Bellotti Junior, compensation, criminal charges against those responsible and accountability from the WA Police, which is what the Bellotti Support Group is demanding — what we should all demand, now. The Bellotti family, a family of eight, has been fighting since March 2009, with no support whatsoever in their rightful struggle. Rex Senior and Liza Bellotti have five children, children who know what was done to their big brother, and know that those responsible remain unaffected and free to commit such an injustice again.

There is no way that justice can continue to be denied to Rex Bellotti Junior or the Bellotti family, because they are going to keep on fighting, and now they have people fighting with them. This is thanks to an incredibly brave new witness who has come forward, to those involved with the Bellotti Support Group, some members of the Socialist Alliance and the invaluable information provided by John McManus of MOJO (Miscarriages of Justice Organisation) Scotland. This is something that will never go away, and until social justice is more than a concept, it should not. Every single person living in Western Australia, Australia or the whole planet has a responsibility to understand that this has happened and that if we do not raise our voices about it, it will never end.

For further information, including copies of the damning WA Police documents and the Corruption and Crime Commission report as well as other documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, contact the Bellotti Support Group. Please lend your support however you can, as the fight for justice for Rex Bellotti Junior is a fight for justice for all.

Contact the group at justiceforrex@rocketmail.com

[Shilo Harrison is the coordinator of the Bellotti Support Group.]


“Justice for Bellotti” rally at WA Parliament House, August 26. Photo by Zebedee Parkes.