Slain teen to be laid to rest as mum's court battle ends
A TIWI Islands mother's bid to bury her allegedly murdered teenage son on country has come to an end after the Territory's highest court effectively scotched a further appeal to the High Court of Australia.
Constance Puruntatameri, whose 15-year-old son cannot be named for cultural reasons, had appealed a decision to allow the woman who raised the boy in Darwin, Rosemary Baird, to bury him on the mainland.
But in affirming Justice Peter Barr's earlier ruling, the Court of Appeal also rejected an application for the boy's remains to continue to be held by the coroner pending a further appeal to the High Court in Canberra.
Ms Puruntatameri's lawyers had argued that according to traditional law, if her son was buried away from his homeland, his spirit would never be able to rest.
"He can't be buried here (in Darwin) because his spirit won't be settled here because it's not his country," she said.
"He's Munupi clan, that boy, and he's got country and that's where his spirit's got to go, that's why I want him back home with his grandparents.
"All I ask is to have a service here and take him home for rest."
But in his ruling handed down in October, Justice Barr ruled in Ms Baird's favour, saying the teenager had voluntarily returned to live with her in Darwin after visiting Ms Puruntatameri and her family on Melville Island shortly before his death.
"She was the person who supported him in significant times of his life, in good and bad times, even when he was in trouble with police," he said.
"She was the person he wanted to speak to when he found himself in trouble in the last hours of his life."
Originally published as Slain teen to be laid to rest in Darwin as appeal bid rejected