• Wayne poses with his sibling LaToya Rule, who is calling for answers into her brothers death. (Supplied)Source: Supplied
The family of Wayne Fella Morrison are calling for transparency and accountability ahead of an inquest into his 2016 death in custody.
By
Sarah Collard

Source:
NITV News
26 Apr 2021 - 2:57 PM  UPDATED 27 Apr 2021 - 11:18 AM

The coronial inquest into the death of Wayne Fella Morrison resumes this week, and is expected to continue until next month.

Mr Morrison died in September 2016 at the Royal Adelaide Hospital, three days after he was pulled unresponsive from a prison van at Yatala Labour prison.

The Wiradjuri, Kookatha and Wirangu man was handcuffed, restrained by ankle flexi-cuffs and bore a spit mask.

The 29-year-old was then placed face down in the back of the van, with eight prison officers accompanying him from the prison's holding cells.

Family demands answers

Morrison's sibling LaToya Rule told NITV News their family is desperate for answers, as there is no CCTV footage from inside the van. 

“I want to know what his final words were. We may never know - unless they tell us,” Rule told NITV News. 

"It's been such a long and drawn out process... I want to know the details of how they witnessed him become allegedly unresponsive."

The inquest is expected to hear from South Australian corrections officers on Tuesday to probe the circumstances leading up to Mr Morrison’s death. 

SA ombudsman called for apology to family 

A report by the South Australian ombudsman found there were serious failures in the events prior to Mr Morrison's death.

The authority urged the Department of Correctional Services to apologise to the family over how authorities treated the family.

LaToya Rule is calling for a systemic change to the corrections system, and continues to advocate for other families who have lost loved ones in custody.

“I think we've surprised ourselves with how much we've been able to achieve in terms of advocacy and awareness globally around Wayne's death and other deaths in custody."

More than a dozen families, including the Morrisons, are calling for the Prime Minister to meet with them and others who have experienced a death in custody. 

“We’re calling for the Prime Minister to meet with us. There's been so much support from so many diverse groups and communities.”

Second inquiry this week

The coronial inquest into the death of Mr Morrison will commence ahead of a second inquiry into the death in custody of a young Aboriginal man in New South Wales.

The death of 20-year-old Bailey Mackander in November 2019 will be heard in the NSW State Coroner's Court in Lidcombe on Wednesday.

Mr Mackander died from injuries sustained while being transported from Gosford Hospital after attempting to run from two prison guards and falling 10 meters.

Over 470 Indigenous people have died in custody since the final report of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody was tabled 30 years ago.