Roy 'Dootch' Kennedy puts fate in vote

Activist and founder of the Sandon Point Aboriginal Tent Embassy, Roy ‘‘Dootch’’ Kennedy.
Activist and founder of the Sandon Point Aboriginal Tent Embassy, Roy ‘‘Dootch’’ Kennedy.

Activist Roy "Dootch" Kennedy has responded to calls for him to stand down as chairman of the Illawarra Local Aboriginal Land Council after child sex charges were brought against him.

Kennedy, a founder of the Sandon Point Aboriginal Tent Embassy, is accused of having sexual intercourse with a child aged between 10 and 16 on six separate occasions between 1992 and 1996. Police allege he also sexually assaulted a child at different times between 1997 and 1999.

Land council members and NSW Aboriginal Affairs Minister Victor Dominello have since called on Kennedy to relinquish his chairmanship.

In a text message, Kennedy told the Mercury his future with the council would be decided at an upcoming meeting.

"There is an extraordinary meeting of this land council next week," he said.

"That will deal with current affairs. A press release will be made available to the media by the full board of ILALC [Illawarra Local Aboriginal Land Council] outlining the local land council's position and resolutions."

Kennedy went on to add: "Trial by media, Facebook, nameless and faceless people always creates opinions.

"Politics, law, the legal arena, the community in general believe in a trial in one of your courtrooms with a judge, a jury, a prosecutor putting forward their client's case and a defence lawyer putting forward my case," he said.

"What more can I say at this stage? Patience is a virtue. Time is of the essence. What is due process? What is a fair trial when it is obvious I am dark? A koori."

In a statement issued on Wednesday, NSW Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Victor Dominello said it was "entirely inappropriate" for Kennedy to continue serving as chairman of the land council.

The NSW Aboriginal Land Rights Act registrar, Stephen Wright, has advised the land council that Kennedy could remain as a board member but should step down as chairman while the matter was before the courts.

A small group of community and land council members has also called on Kennedy to step down "from any position that he might hold, in particular his role as the [land council] chairman".