The frontman of Aboriginal rock band Desert Stars, who was jailed for breaching a violence restraining order earlier this week, has been nominated for a West Australian Music (WAM) Award.
Aboriginal elder James Ronald Minning was jailed for six months on Monday, as the ABC reports, after breaching a restraining order (imposed by his former partner) five times in the past two years.
On Wednesday, Minning and his band were announced as finalists in the Indigenous category of the WAM Song Of The Year Awards, for their track ‘Ngurra Nyangatja (Our Home)’.
A court has heard that Minning allegedly “banged” on the door of his former partner’s home at 2am in the morning, in his latest breach.
While the restraining order against Minning means he isn’t allowed within 100 metres of his former partner, his lawyer has claimed that he wasn’t violent on the latest occasion, and simply wanted to tell his former partner that his band had been nominated for an award.
WAM has confirmed to Music Feeds that Desert Stars’ nomination will stand. In a statement, WAM CEO Mike Harris says:
“The Desert Star’s nomination for a WAM Song Of The Year Award in the Indigenous category will remain in place.
“Firstly, James Minning is not the sole songwriter of the song in question, and his fellow band members should not be punished for this.
“Secondly, and probably more pertinent, is that music is an important social contributor to mental health and social cohesion and well being, and should only be encouraged in indigenous communities. Encouraging participation in music is important; using music as an extension of the judicial system is the worst thing we can do.”
Minning’s lawyer has claimed that his jail term could negatively affect his music career, adding that “Midnight Oil has shown some interest” in Desert Stars.
Meanwhile, the band’s management have told the ABC that they’re unsure if the group’s upcoming tour of the east coast supporting The Re-Mains will still go ahead in June. They’ve described Minning’s jail sentence as “very disappointing”.