• Julieka Dhu died in a WA watch house after twice being told she was medically fit to be in jail. (Julieka Dhu)
Protests have been held around the country demanding an investigation into the death of Julieka Dhu and an end to Indigenous deaths in custody.
By
Robert Burton-Bradley

Source:
NITV News
4 Aug 2015 - 5:15 PM  UPDATED 8 Oct 2016 - 3:23 PM

It has been one year since Juliekha Dhu died in a South Hedland lock up after being arrested and detained over outstanding fines of around $1,200. 

Since her death, demonstrations across the country have continued to put pressure on the Western Australian government to provide answers.

At a demonstration in Geraldton on Tuesday, Ms Dhu's family marked the first anniversary of her death.

"I know people in the Kimberley in Sydney and they got answers, why we gotta wait - we gotta go on the back burner as a blackfulla?” said Carol Roe, Ms Dhu’s grandmother.

“It’s been going too long, all the family have got to step up to the plate."

Ms Dhu’s grandmother and mother Della have both been pushing for answers since the tragedy occurred and hope a coronial inquest that has been announced for late November will answer their questions about her death.

"Everyone gotta march, it might be your kids, or your kids, I'm standing for my grandchild, everybody else have gotta come for their family and support"

"Everyone gotta march, it might be your kids, or your kids, I'm standing for my grandchild, everybody else have gotta come for their family and support," said Ms Roe.

Ms Dhu's Uncle Shaun Harris has been rallying support across the country, and said while news of the coronial inquest was welcomed by the family, they would not be satisfied until it was clear who was responsible.

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“[There's] still [a] feeling of deep sadness and shock and disbelief that it’s been one year since we have lost Julieka and still no answers or closure of any sort at all," he said.

Usually investigations of this nature can take up to two years before they commence. The nationwide protests have seen the family's case dramatically brought forward with a date rumoured for November.

"It’s exactly right what Aunty Carol said, we should not even be here because the judicial system and health system failed spectacularly with my niece in this case,” said Mr Harris

“We'll be heading up there for the inquest in November and we want to thank everyone out there for their help and support for the last year, both WA and Australia wide, thank you for all your support as well."

Protest spread

There were protests in the inner Sydney suburb of Redfern today a year after Ms Dhu died in custody in a WA watch house.

Anger and grief were palpable at the protest at the The Block where protest organiser Jenny Munro told the gathered crowd of around 40 people that a full investigation into what happened to Ms Dhu was needed.

"Corrective services need to look long and hard at themselves, the treatment of these people is inhumane," she said.

"These are really criminal the offences that are being committed against our people by the justice system in this country. The fact this girl had to suffer so much over an extended period of time - the police the medical institutions did nothing to alleviate this girl's suffering."

"Corrective services need to look long and hard at themselves, the treatment of these people is inhumane"

There was disbelief among many gathered at the protest that the 22-year-old died in custody after being jailed for unpaid fines.

Taressa Mongta who joined the protest said deaths in custody were an issue for all Australians and not just those directly affected.

“Ms Dhu was such a beautiful young woman, I can't believe that that happened," she said. "I feel for her family and all our people because we all struggle with untimely deaths and that kind of violence on every different level.”