Australian Cop Who Was Filmed Stoning Wombat To Death Will Not Face Any Charges
The Aussie police officer who was filmed stoning a wombat to death will not face any charges for the incident.
Waylon Johncock was off-duty from his job as a police community liaison officer in South Australia when he came across the wombat and started pelting it with stones.
In shocking footage, Johncock can be seen hopping out of a truck and chasing after the wombat before he starts to throw rocks at it. As the wombat tries to scurry off, he gives chase, eventually killing the animal.
In the background his friend can be heard saying: "Yeah! You did it! First man I've ever seen kill a wombat on foot, bro."
He can then be seen proudly posing with his arms in the air. His actions were condemned by many, with a petition to have Johncock fired picking up thousands of signatures, and his employers launched an investigation.
Now South Australia Police have announced that Johncock will not face any criminal charges or disciplinary action over the incident.
They added that he will be given 'managerial advice and counselling regarding the implications of social media'.
Commissioner Grant Stevens said: "As a traditional Aboriginal man, [Johncock] has an appropriate permit to hunt wombats for food.
"Whilst distressing to many who viewed the video, it has been established [his] actions were not inconsistent with traditional hunting practices.
"I have been advised that the wombat in the video was killed and eaten. The video shown on social media was part of a longer video that has not been released."
He went on to say that the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution had been handed all the evidence and had found that if charges were brought there would be 'no reasonable prospect of conviction'.
Stevens said he understood that some would question the outcome but urged them to 'respect' it.
He added: "I still find some of the content of the video disturbing - I take personal displeasure in seeing any animal distressed or being killed as the wombat was killed. I know many shared in my shock and dismay.
"I ask people to show respect for the process undertaken and accept my assurances it has been a robust investigation. I ask they show respect for those involved in the incident."
Speaking in October, when the investigation was launched, Johncock's uncle - who did not want to be named - told 10 New First: "It's a custom that Indigenous people on the west coast, especially the far west coast, have used for thousands of years, as part of our hunting and gathering.
"If they've got native title over their country, which we have on the west coast of South Australia, that gives us our right to go and hunt and gather on our natural, traditional land."
Under the Native Title Act, 1993, Aboriginal people are able to practice ancient customs, such as hunting and eating local wildlife.
Featured Image Credit: Wombat Awareness Organisation