12 June 2009


12 June 2009


As the Coroner prepares to hand down the findings in the Ward Inquest, the Aboriginal Legal Service of WA (ALSWA) urges the WA Premier to publicly commit to all recommendations made by the Coroner.

“I appeal to Mr. Barnett’s humanity to search for meaning in such a tragedy so that no person should ever have the indignity of dying in the back of a prisoner transport van ever again” said Mr. Eggington. “Failure to prioritise the recommendations from the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody (RCIADIC) has lead to the ongoing tragedy of people dying in custody and it has to end now” he said.

ALSWA has long held concerns about the practice of transporting prisoners and believes that this Inquest points to the need for an urgent review and dramatic changes in the way that prisoners are transported, policing practices with regard to the granting of bail and a review of the role of JP’s in Courts in WA.

He welcomes the Premier to join with ALSWA and the Aboriginal community in partnership to explore achievable goals and sustainable outcomes so that such a tragedy shall never again be repeated.

Mr. Eggington calls on Mr. Barnett to stamp some moral authority upon his premiership by demonstrating an ethical, compassionate and proper commitment to addressing these human rights abuses. “Would this have happened if Mr. Ward was not an Aboriginal man? This is a wake up call to Australia – the world has seen how you treat Aboriginal people”.

Dennis Eggington will be present at the reading of the Inquest findings this afternoon.