Aboriginal elder from Laverton, Mr. Ward, died in police custody in 2008. He was arrested on drink driving charges and thrown in the back of a police wagon. He remained locked in the wagon on a day of soaring temperatures while police drove an initial 570km to a court house and then an additional 352km to a prison. He was unconscious when they arrived and died shortly after – from the heat and dyhydration.
The West Australian Government has just officially responded to the coroner’s findings. The coroner said the Aboriginal elder’s death in searing desert heat was a disgrace, as the van was “not fit for humans”. But the Government has decided not terminate the contract of the private company which transported Mr Ward.
Mr Porter has suggested the company may have to pay a penalty.”The penalties that you’ve spoken of, for a death for instance, I understand are $100,000 which seems to me to be ridiculous in the scope of what occurred here,” he said.
Abc online – http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2009/09/30/2700168.htm?section=justin
Safecom online – http://www.safecom.org.au/gsl-custody-death.htm