The officer responsible for the quality of Ambulance Victoria's emergency operations around the state today apologised to the family of Tanya Day for the disrespectful treatment she received after falling in a police cell.
On day 11 of the inquest into the death in police custody of the 55-year-old Yorta Yorta woman, senior Ambulance Victoria officer Michael Stephenson told the court that he had "never seen another patient handled so disrespectfully".
Giving evidence on Tuesday, Mr Stephenson described the quality of care and treatment provided to Ms Day by Ambulance Victoria as "disrespectful".
"I am deeply sorry for your loss ... It was a dark moment for our organisation," he said.
The 55-year-old Yorta Yorta woman was placed in a Castlemaine cell after being arrested on December 5, 2017 for being drunk on a train. Ms Day died in hospital 17 days later.
Outside the court, Mr Stephenson again personally apologised to each of Ms Day's children.
Speaking to NITV News, Mr Stephenson said he felt it was important to acknowledge that Ms Day "wasn't cared for as well as we would have liked for her to have been".
"It was important in many ways to say to Tanya's family that we are sorry for the disrespect that we showed," he said.
"There was no excuses for our conduct so we offer that apology without excuses, without caveats, because it was inexcusable."
Following a rally of support outside the court on Tuesday morning, Mr Stephenson also recognised the impact the inquest was having on the community.
"Tanya's death isn't a death in isolation. There's an entire Aboriginal community grieving, there's an entire Aboriginal community that are marginalised, and they want Tanya's death to mean something," he said.
"I do hope it means something, and I do hope it creates a greater sense of equity for the Aboriginal community."
The inquest will next hear evidence from the Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service.