TIME: 9:45AM (Perth time)
DATE: Wednesday 28 September
WHERE: Steps of the Perth Central Law Courts, 501 Hay St, Perth WA 6000
CORONER TO HEAR APPLICATION TO RELEASE FOOTAGE OF MS DHU'S DEATH
Today the Western Australian Coroner presiding over the inquest into Ms Dhu’s death in custody will consider whether to publicly release harrowing footage of Ms Dhu’s death.
Although the Coroner has previously refused media requests to release the footage, it is now Ms Dhu’s family who are requesting that the footage be made public.
Carol and Della Roe, grandmother and mother of Ms Dhu, who are represented by the Aboriginal Legal Service of Western Australia, said that they want the world to see the footage.
“Our child died a cruel and painful death. The world should see how she was treated. For the last two years, we have been suffering alone - everyone should understand our grief and make sure this never happens again,” said Ms Carol and Della Roe.
Ms Dhu, a 22 year old Yamatji Aboriginal woman, died in 2014 from septicaemia and pneumonia three days after she was locked up in a South Hedland police station for failing to pay her fines.
Western Australia has the highest Aboriginal imprisonment rate in the country and Aboriginal women in particular are locked up for fine default in alarmingly high numbers.
Ruth Barson, Director of Legal Advocacy at the Human Rights Law Centre, said that the release of the footage is profoundly important for the family’s sense of justice.
“Ms Dhu should never have been locked up. Transparency is central to accountability. It shouldn’t just be the family and the lawyers who see this footage. Australia should know how Ms Dhu was treated,” said Ms Barson.
Dennis Eggington, CEO of the Aboriginal Legal Service of Western Australia, said that the family has made it clear that their wish is to have the footage released.
“The Aboriginal Legal Service is here to support the family. I hope the Coroner gives the utmost consideration to the family’s wish, which is to have this footage released”, said Mr Eggington.
The family has requested that their privacy be respected. For all media inquiries:
Ruth Barson, Director of Legal Advocacy, Human Rights Law Centre, 0417 773 037
Michelle Bennett, Director of Communications, Human Rights Law Centre, 0419 100 519