Findings by the WA Coroner that Ms Dhu’s death could have been prevented as early as the day before she died should jolt the Government into acting on Aboriginal deaths in custody, particularly the practice of jail time for non-payment of fines.
“The coroner’s findings are no doubt incredibly distressing for the family and friends of Ms Dhu, but the coroner’s decision to release the CCTV footage is testament to immense determination from Ms Dhu’s family who wanted it released”, Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said today.
“My thoughts are with the family who still feel there is no accountability, they have campaigned for over two years for this footage to be made public. I hope this helps with understanding what happened in the lead up to Ms Dhu's death.
“I absolutely agree with the coroner that parliament must look at alternatives to incarceration for non-payment of fines. Ms Dhu should never have been imprisoned in the first place.
“The WA Government must also consider the coroners recommendations that a Custody Notification Service be introduced in WA.
“I reaffirm my support for Ms Dhu’s family and friends”.
Greens MLC Robin Chapple said, “the coroner’s decision not to release the footage in the first place was very disappointing because her excuse that it would distress the family was in direct contradiction with the family’s wishes for it to be released.
“What has instead been distressing is over two years of hard campaigning to have the footage released, this was no doubt immensely stressful for the family who wanted their wishes respected.
“I have no doubts that the footage will most likely be harrowing and confronting, I hope if anything this jolts the WA Government into addressing the awful act of locking people up for unpaid fines.”
Senator Siewert and Mr Chapple both call on State and Federal Governments to implement the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal deaths in custody which are now 25 years old.