Ms Dhu’s family calls for end to jail for fines as death in custody inquest begins


Julieka Dhu
Julieka Dhu

source: The Guardian
published: 23 November 2015

The family of Aboriginal woman Ms Dhu, who died while paying off a fine by serving time in police cells, has called for an end to the practice of jailing people for unpaid fines.

Ms Dhu, a 22-year-old Yamatji woman whose full name is not used for cultural reasons, was found unresponsive in a cell at the South Hedland police station on 4 August, 2014. An inquest into her death began in Perth on Monday.

She had been taken into custody four days earlier because she had about $1,000 in unpaid fines, and had twice been taken to hospital and returned to her cell after complaining of severe stomach pains.

Her grandmother, Carol Roe, and mother, Della Roe, travelled 418km from Geraldton to Perth for the inquest and held an Indigenous smoking ceremony outside the court before the hearings began.

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