A MAN has been committed to stand trial for murder, while his alleged teen co-offender is disputing his involvement over the death of a man in Aurukun that sparked a major riot.

Multiple homes were burned to the ground and more than 100 residents became refugees from their own community in the aftermath of the death of the 37-year-old on January 1.

The Cairns Post was granted access to attend the committal hearing in the Cairns Magistrates Court for the two males accused of his murder, including one who was just 17 at the time.

An Aurukun house destroyed during the New Year’s Day riot. Picture: Queensland Police Service
An Aurukun house destroyed during the New Year’s Day riot. Picture: Queensland Police Service

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The court heard the trio were all part of a large street disturbance between fighting families which turned to tragedy with the alleged stabbing of the man.

Six witnesses gave evidence on Tuesday, including two siblings who were standing at their home nearby and said they watched the older of the pair, who is now 19, walk from a house armed with a knife and thrust it into the victim's back.

"I can still remember it," the female sibling, who is related to the victim, said.

"He stabbed him from behind on the right side.

CCTV footage of the Aurukun riot. Picture: Queensland Police Service
CCTV footage of the Aurukun riot. Picture: Queensland Police Service

"I seen the knife go straight in and straight back out really fast."

Her brother said they were yelling at the families to stop fighting prior to the alleged stabbing and only realised the older man was carrying a knife when the sun parted through drizzling rain and reflected off the knife.

"When I seen it, it was a bit too late. We couldn't do anything," he said.

"It was a really long knife.

"I knew something bad was going to happen.

"I'm used to my families being angry and shouting in Aurukun … but none of my family had ever witnessed that."

One of the houses in Aurukun which was destroyed by a rioting mob. Picture: Supplied
One of the houses in Aurukun which was destroyed by a rioting mob. Picture: Supplied

The younger man's barrister, Michael Dalton, said CCTV of the incident allegedly showed his client initially armed himself with a garden tool - possibly a pick - and brandished it over the victim before dropping it and engaging in a fist fight.

The court heard the argument broke out when the victim's brother threw a brick at another man, which hit him in the head.

The siblings also spoke of empty spirit bottles being hurled between the groups.

One witness described the victim allegedly drunkenly challenging people to a fight prior to the stabbing.

Another witness also described the younger man shouting "let's kill him" while armed with what appeared to be a drill bit.

His lawyer argued there was no evidence his client was complicit in a "preconceived plan" to hurt or kill the victim.

The younger man's case has been adjourned until next week.

Originally published as 'Let's kill him': New details in alleged riot murder