• Gail Hickey stands outside court in Sydney on Friday. (NITV News)Source: NITV News
It's the little things that Gail Hickey remembers about her only son, whose death 12 years ago today prompted riots in Redfern.
Andrea Booth

12 Feb 2016 - 5:17 PM  UPDATED 15 Feb 2016 - 8:23 AM

"He didn't like icing on the cake," Gail Hickey recalls of her son TJ Hickey as a little boy.

"Any party we had, and had a cake, he didn't want icing on it." Although, she adds, he was partial to turtle-themed cakes.

Gail's reflection comes on the day of the 'Justice for TJ Hickey Rally' from Redfern to Town Hall. This year the organisers, the Indigenous Social Justice Association (ISJA), were taken to the NSW Supreme Court on Friday by the NSW police over the route.

The police wanted to contain it to the Redfern-Waterloo area, but the court ruled the route proposed by the ISJA.

Mr Hickey died in 2004 after he came off his bike and was impaled on a steel fence, with two police vehicles close by. He was 17.

A nine-hour riot between the community and police followed near Redfern train station.

After an inquest, Coroner John Abernethy found his death was a "freak accident" in August, 2004.

The inquiry did not find evidence that the police were pursuing him at the time, which the family and others dispute.

They say his death resulted from being impaled on a steel fence after a police car chased and rammed him while he was riding his bike. 

Ms Hickey says she felt "very upset" as the anniversary of her son's death approached.

"I've lost my son, my eldest child, my only son."

She says one of Mr Hickey's nephews has been named after him.

"TJ's nephew was sick in hospital with a heart operation when he was five months, he is doing well now," she says.

"If my son was alive, he would have loved his nephew and nieces."

But she says her family still feel his presence. "We know when he is around, my grandson sometimes says, 'nana, I can see him'."

Ms Hickey says she plans to take flowers, perhaps white roses, down to the site in Redfern where he sustained his injuries.

"I'll make sure it looks beautiful down there, down at the fence."

Ms Hickey adds she wants justice for her son.

"Cause I know for a fact it wasn't accidental, I know for a fact the police were a cause of his death."