The grandmother of an Aboriginal woman who died in WA Police custody says she wants CCTV footage of her grandaughter's final hours released to the media in its entirety.
Laura Morelli

16 Sep 2016 - 2:17 PM  UPDATED 28 Sep 2016 - 11:24 AM

An Aboriginal 22-year-old, whose first name is not used for cultural reasons, died in August 2014, just two days after being locked up at South Hedland Police Station for unpaid fines totalling $3622.

Ms Dhu's grandmother, Carol Roe, wrote to Coroner Ros Fogliani on Thursday to say she has "no objection" to the entirety of the CCTV footage of Ms Dhu's final moments released "in a non-exclusive manner".

Ms Dhu's death was subject to a coronial inquiry, where Ms Fogliani dismissed applications to release the footage, saying it was distressing and Ms Dhu's privacy outweighed the public interest.

Renewed calls for the footage to be released has seen the matter listed for hearing on September 28.

Marc Newhouse, Chair of Death in Custody Watch Committee, (DICWC) says it is of critical importance that this vision is released. 

“It’s in the public’s interest to know exactly what happened behind those closed doors," he said.

“Sitting through the inquest it became apparent to members of the public that not only the police’s version but the hospitals too, were inconsistent. This footage will provide evidence of what actually happened to counter any inconsistencies and that’s why it needs to be seen.” 

Mr Newhouse says at a time like this, we need to support the family.

"The family want it released and they want the world to know the truth... It's of critical importance that people are aware of the events that occurred,” he said.

"It has caused the family a lot of trauma … Their view is that she disregarded their wishes but now, they welcome the opportunity for that to be turned around."

Ms Dhu was taken to hospital three times in the space of 48 hours after she was taken into custody for non-payment of fines.

The 22-year-old died after being taken to hospital the third time.

A post-mortem examination found the cause of death to be septicaemia and pneumonia resulting from an infection from a broken rib.

Security cameras at the police station and at the hospital recorded Ms Dhu's final days, and the footage was played at the inquest.

Ms Roe told NITV News she wants justice. 

“They let her die like a dog. We want to see the police, the medical people and the mongrel who hurt her in the first place brought to justice.”

Paying with her life: Justice for Julieka Dhu
A young Aboriginal woman lies dying in agony on the floor of a police lock-up while officers laugh, mock her as a “junkie” and accuse her of “faking” her fatal illness. How can this still be happening in Australia, 25 years after the report of the Royal Commission into Black Deaths in Custody was supposed to put an end to it?