Rallies and vigils around the country are being held this week to call for justice for 14-year-old Elijah Doughty
24 Jul 2017 - 11:56 AM  UPDATED 25 Jul 2017 - 8:48 AM

The decision of finding a man not guilty of manslaughter over the death of Elijah Doughty in Western Australia last year has sparked outrage and anger across the country. 

On Friday, a jury verdict acquitted the 56-year-old of manslaughter in Elijah's death.

The Supreme Court jury deliberated for six hours before finding the man — whose identity is suppressed — guilty of the lesser charge of dangerous driving occasioning death. He was sentenced to three years imprisonment. 

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Driver not guilty of Indigenous teen Elijah Doughty's manslaughter
A man who chased Elijah Doughty in his ute in WA's Goldfields region and ran over the teen has been found not guilty of manslaughter.

This week, rallies and vigils are being held around the nation to call for justice, after the decision left many angry and disappointed. 

Today, Sydney, Canberra and Adelaide held separate gatherings calling for justice and to stand in solidarity with Elijah's family and the community of Kalgoorlie. 

In Sydney, it was solemn scenes where more than two hundred people gathered outside the Supreme Court of New South Wales. 

One supporter threw red ochre on the steps of the courthouse. 

"This is the blood of Aboriginal people, don't wait for this to be your children's," the woman screamed, as she listed the names of Aboriginal people who had died in custody.

"The blood is on the Commonwealth," she said.

Kalgoorlie resident and relative of Elijah, Meyne Wyatt, says there were inconsistencies in the justice system.

"Let's not get this twisted, it wasn't manslaughter it was murder," he told the crowd on Monday.

"Not manslaughter, not reckless driving. You're treating us like we're animals, we're not animals," he said, as he picked up the ochre and slapped it on his chest.

"We're people, you're killing us!"

At a Perth vigil yesterday, Bringing Them Home Foundation Executive Director, Jim Morrison, told NewsCorp the not-guilty man­slaughter verdict in Elijah’s case “gives a licence for rednecks to do what they want to do”.

Indigenous human rights lawyer Hannah McGlade told the crowd Saturday's incident is indicative of mounting vigilante behaviour against Aboriginal youth. 

"The verdict reduced (Elijah’s) death to an offence under the Road Traffic Act," she said.

“It seems to be open season for vigilantes in Western Australia.” She questioned why no Indigenous people had been on the jury.

Labor MP Linda Burney also spoke out about the verdict. She told Sky News she feels for Elijah's family and friends. 

"I can completely understand, particularly from the family and the community of Kalgoorlie, the distress and unhappiness about the sentence," she said. 

"I'm not going to try and second guess the judges' ruling, and I don't know enough about the issues to make an informed view on that but what I can say is that the way in which the community seeing this as a death of another young Aboriginal man and they believe it is not fair. It's not just what has happened. I think that's really important." 

Hip Hop duo, A.B Original, used their performance at music festival Splendour in the Grass over the weekend to protest the verdict. 

On Sunday, an image of Elijah's face was used as a backdrop during their set, leading the crowd to chant, "no justice, no peace."

Following their performance, rapper Briggs told HuffPost Australia the response and justification of the verdict are symptomatic of race relations in Australia. 

“When it comes to a situation like Elijah’s, and the response and the reaction, like people trying to justify what happened because he allegedly stole a motorbike, that is indicative of Australia’s relationship with Indigenous Australians," he said. 

"How do we unite when you keep killing our kids?”

Elijah was fatally run over by the 56-year-old in Kalgoorlie in August last year after he tried to escape on a dirt bike, allegedly stolen from the man the day before. 

His death caused racial tensions in the twin cities of Kalgoorlie and Boulder in WA's Goldfields to flare, turning into violent protests.

Brisbane and Melbourne will hold gatherings throughout the week. 

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