Saturday, March 28, 2009

Stop black deaths in custody - Justice for Mr Ward: protest 3 Apr 09

Stop Black deaths in custody
Justice for Mr Ward

Public protest: Fri 3 April
12noon Stirling Gardens

Join with family members of the late Mr Ward and the Deaths in Custody Watch Committee (WA) in a public protest and call for justice for Mr Ward. A list of demands will be presented to the Attorney General & Minister for Corrective Services.

Contact: Marc Newhouse 0415 074 602 or Craig Collinson 0428 810 445 or 9444 1930

Join the call for:
* An end to deaths in custody.
* The GSL security guards to be stood down, and for those responsible to be charged.
* Compensation for the family of Mr Ward.
* The use of air transport or video conferencing instead of long road journeys.
* Health checks for detainees by medical practitioners prior to transportation.
* Immediate upgrades to and regular checks of detainee transport vehicles.
* A review of bail terms to avoid unnecessary detention.
* Accountability (who takes responsibility for a death in custody when it happens in a private contractor’s care?)
* An end to privatization of custodial services.

On January 27, Mr. Ward, a respected Aboriginal elder from Warburton, was being transported 470km in the back of a van in 42 degree heat with no working air"conditioning.

Mr Ward was only given a 600ml bottle of water and a pie for the journey – a journey in which the Global Solutions Ltd (GSL) officers responsible for transporting Mr Ward from Laverton to Kalgoorlie did not pause for a rest stop… until they heard a ‘thump’.

This ‘thump’ was Mr Ward collapsing in the back of the van as it neared Kalgoorlie. He died soon afterwards at the Kalgoorlie Regional Hospital.

Why was Mr Ward in custody at all? As a drink driver? Has a white drink driver ever been sent 4 hours in the back of a van in 42 degree heat to be held in custody?