In Legal Affairs

Queensland Shadow Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie

Death In Custody Families Deserve Answers Not Delays

Victor P Taffa

Attorney-General Cameron Dick needs to answer allegations of delays in the handing down of findings into an Aboriginal death in custody, the State Opposition said today.

Shadow Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie said this latest delay of answers to the death of Sheldon Currie, 18, who died in Brisbane’s Princess Alexandra hospital in February last year, four days after Prison Officers found him unconscious in a cell, raised serious questions about the ability of the Coroner’s office to handle in a timely manner, the large volume of matters referred to it.

“It is totally irresponsible and immoral of this Government to continue to allow any death to remain unresolved and worse still, deny the provision of information to their loved ones for in many cases more than two years after the deaths occurred.”  Mr. Bleijie said.

 

“The Attorney-General Cameron Dick needs to explain to victims’ families, including those of Mr. Currie, why the Office of the Coroner is running so far behind.”

The latest productivity Commission report released in January 2011 found that in 2009/10, the Coroner’s Court had 23.2% of all matters pending in excess of 12 months.

“A further 189 matters had been waiting more than 24 months for finalisation. The backlog of matters in the Coroner’s office will only contribute to the heartache being suffered by families of the deceased.” Mr. Bleijie said.

“I intend to write to the Attorney-General seeking an explanation as to why an investigation into a death in custody has taken 12 months and still not been finalised.”

“A Liberal National Party Government is committed to delivering a workable and responsive justice system which includes a Coroner’s office that is dedicated to responding to Queenslanders in a timely manner.” Mr. Bleijie said.

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