source: ABC News (Australian)
published: 15 October 2014
The CEO of the WA Aboriginal Legal Service, Dennis Eggington, says round-the-clock access to lawyers could prevent further deaths in police custody.
The call came in the wake of the death of 22-year-old Julieka Dhu, who died on August 4 at the Hedland Health Campus.
She had been held in police custody in South Hedland for four days before her death, and was taken to hospital twice after complaining of feeling unwell, but both times discharged and returned to her cell.
It was understood Ms Dhu was in custody because she owed approximately $1,000 in unpaid fines. Ms Dhu’s family told the ABC they were never informed she was unwell, despite phoning the police station to check on her.
Dennis Eggington was urging the state government to implement a custody notification service, which would require police to notify the Aboriginal Legal Service whenever an Aboriginal person is taken into custody.