Emotional opening of Murri Court on Sunshine Coast
A THIN 21-year-old man, arms marked by rough tattoos, wiped his eyes as two indigenous elders flanking a magistrate spoke softly but pointedly to him.
Mr Edwards, facing nine charges mainly related to fare evasion, was one of two defendants to appear before the Murri Court which has convened for the first time at Maroochydore.
Murri Courts were held across the state, including at Caloundra, until 2012, when they were axed by the Newman government.
The Palaszczuk government undertook to resurrect them and this time, there was strong interest among magistrates and elders to launch one at Maroochydore.
Mr Edwards told the court he was "over" his drug use and ready to get his life back on track.
Defendants eligible to appear before a Murri Court speak with elders and a community justice group representative about their situation and possible changes before being linked with support services.
The first defendant to appear before the Murri Court at Maroochydore was Warren John Jones, 53, of Bli Bli, who faces charges of driving under the influence and disqualified driving.
Magistrate Rod Madsen, with elders Uncle Don Fewquandie and Uncle Evan Blackman either side, sat across the bar table from Mr Jones and encouraged him to take the chance to change his life.
"It might get hard at times - you just have to remember that people here are really willing to talk about your problems," Mr Madsen said.
Uncle Don told Mr Jones to give up alcohol because he was "the key to turning your whole family around".
The court will reconvene on March 6, when Mr Jones and Mr Edwards will be asked to provide updates on their achievements, which will be taken into account when they are eventually sentenced.