Outrage must follow Coroner’s report into another death in custody

The Western Australian Coroner, Alistair Hope, has handed down his findings into the death of an Aboriginal elder in January 2008. The man was being transported from Laverton to Kalgoorlie. As the ABC has reported, the man ‘was effectively cooked to death‘.

The Coroner has been damning, and the focus should now turn to the private company responsible for prisoner transport in this instance, GSL, and the Western Australian government. GSL is on the record, in evidence to the Coronial Inquiry, as saying that the officers involved – who were not reprimanded – didn’t break ‘any procedures of the procedures or rules’ (as reported in the same ABC article). This surely tells us volumes about the procedures and rules that the company upholds.

Unfortunately, the chances that the Liberal government of Colin Barnett will do anything substantive about this outrage must be considered remote, particularly as Mr Barnett was a Minister in the Court government which privatized prisoner transport in the first place and approved Western Australia’s first privately run prison.

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