Asylum seekers guilty over detention riot

Three Sri Lankan asylum seekers have been found guilty of taking part in a riot on Christmas Island last year.

Two other men on trial were cleared of the charges.

The five Sri Lankans were charged with weapons and rioting offences after a brawl at the island’s detention centre in November 2009.

Broom handles, pool cues and tree branches were used in the riot which involved up to 200 detainees and left dozens injured.

Magistrate Stephen Malley found two men guilty of both riot and weapons offences and convicted a third man of possessing a weapon.

But Magistrate Malley criticised the Immigration Department, accusing it of sabotaging the police investigation.

He said the department’s decision to ship 40 detainees off the island 48 hours after the riot was bizarre and assisted some of the major players to escape prosecution.

Two of the convicted men were placed on good behaviour bonds, fined five hundred dollars each and handed six month suspended jail terms.

The third man was convicted of possessing a weapon and was also placed on a good behaviour bond.

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