Fine for Aboriginal relic sale on Gumtree

Some of the Aboriginal artefacts seized from a Hobart home.
Some of the Aboriginal artefacts seized from a Hobart home.

A Tasmanian man who illegally put Aboriginal relics up for sale on Gumtree acted "recklessly", a judge has said, noting the state's disgraceful past attitude towards indigenous people.

Jake Raymond Cleaver, 37, was on Thursday slapped with an $850 fine for trying to sell more than 30 stone artefacts online in July last year.

Cleaver pleaded guilty to three charges over the sale of the relics, obtained from his now-deceased grandfather some years ago.

The ad was seen by a member of the state's Aboriginal community, who tipped off authorities.

A Department of Primary Industries, Parks Water and Environment officer posed as a buyer and offered $300 to $400 for the stones over several online conversations.

Cleaver, who the court heard doesn't identify as Aboriginal, was told the sale was probably not "entirely legal" but proceeded anyway.

The officer found the relics laid out on a coffee table at Cleaver's house.

It is against the law in Tasmania to have indigenous relics and not inform proper authorities.

In delivering his sentence, Magistrate Reg Marron said the state historically had a "disgraceful" attitude toward Aboriginal people and every little bit of remaining indigenous history should be safeguarded.

Mr Marron said Cleaver acted recklessly, but acknowledged his remorse and the fact the stones had been recovered.

"(You were) aware of what you had and failed to follow up on information that there may be an issue in ... selling the items," Mr Marron said in Hobart Magistrates Court.

Cleaver had conceded he could have made further inquiries about whether the items could be sold, his lawyer said.

The majority of the stones have been confirmed as authentic relics.

Cleaver's lawyer said her client meant "no disrespect" to the Aboriginal community and was grateful the relics would now be returned to their rightful owners.

Australian Associated Press


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