• Ms Dhu died in police custody in August 2014, two days after being locked up at South Hedland Police Station for unpaid fines totalling $3622. (SBS)Source: SBS
Fine defaulters face jail despite Dhu case and coronial inquest.
6 Aug 2017 - 10:14 AM  UPDATED 6 Aug 2017 - 10:17 AM

Law reform advocates are calling for an end to detention for fine defaulters, three years after the death of a 22-year-old Aboriginal woman in custody in WA.

Ms Dhu, whose first name is not used for cultural reasons, died in August 2014 after being locked up at South Hedland Police Station for failing to pay fines totalling $3622 stemming from charges including assaulting police.

The Human Rights Law Centre said on Friday Ms Dhu should never have been taken into custody and urged the state government to stop locking up people who cannot pay fines.

It is nearly nine months since Coroner Ros Fogliani made a raft of recommendations after an inquest into the case, including keeping fine defaulters out of jail.

A spokeswoman for WA Attorney General John Quigley said he intended introducing a package of amendments to the Fines, Penalties and Infringement Notices Enforcement Act to reduce the number of people imprisoned for fine default alone.

She said the state government would also continue to implement reforms resulting from a review of the Sentencing Act, including alternative options for people convicted of lower level offences.

They could instead be subject to enhanced conditional release orders, allowing them to complete community work in lieu of paying a fine, she said.


Ms Dhu's family in legal bid against WA Government
The family of Aboriginal woman Ms Dhu, who died in police custody, is launching legal action against the state government.