published: 16 August 2016
The death in custody of a 36-year-old Indigenous woman occurred after police failed to contact the Custody Notification Service hotline, the Aboriginal Legal Service (ALS) has claimed.
The service provides legal and health advice to Indigenous people taken into police custody.
Ms Maher of Raymond Terrace, NSW, was arrested on July 19 and taken to a holding cell at Maitland police station, where she died early the next morning. Police announced an investigation following the death, but it was not revealed the woman was Indigenous until Tuesday.
The Custody Notification Service, which was set up as a result of the 1991 Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody, was not contacted after the arrest.
Ms Maher’s death is the first in NSW in the 16 years that it has been running.