Debbie Guest; 19/6/09; (2 Items)
The two security guards responsible for transporting an Aboriginal elder who died of heatstroke while being driven across the West Australian outback have been sacked, almost 18 months after his death. Nina Stokoe and Graham Powell, of security company G4S, were sacked this week after Western Australia’s Department of Corrective Services revoked their work permits. In damning findings handed down by State Coroner Alastair Hope last Friday, the guards were found to have failed in their duty of care and to have possibly colluded before giving “untruthful” evidence at the inquest earlier this year. Mr Hope said there was a potentially sinister aspect in their evidence relating to whether or not Ward – whose family does not want his first name used for cultural reasons – removed his shirt before collapsing and dying of heatstroke in the back of the van. The pair refused to comment.
An island death
Cosima Marriner; 19/6/09
Mulrunji Doomadgee bled to death in the Palm Island police watchhouse in 2004. This week the Queensland Court of Appeals ordered yet another coronial inquiry. reports. When Senior Sergeant Chris Hurley drove up alongside Mulrunji Doomadgee one November morning in 2004, the local Palm Island man was already drunk. Ambling barefoot towards the dilapidated post office, Doomadgee had been boozing for hours on goom (methylated spirits mixed with water), cask wine and beer. It’s not clear what prompted Hurley to bundle the 36-year-old into the cage of the police van. But he probably wasn’t impressed with Doomadgee’s cheeky rendition of Who Let The Dogs Out. Arrested for nothing more than being a smart-arse drunk, Doomadgee was angry. Driven a few hundred metres down the road, he was swearing and abusing police when Hurley got him out of the van at the watchhouse.