• Carol Roe, Ms Dhu's grandmother, has been advocating for justice for her granddaughter since 2014. (FILE: NITV)
The family of Yamatji woman, Ms Dhu has filed a formal complaint about the circumstances of her death in custody.
By
NITV Staff Writer

14 Jun 2018 - 4:20 PM  UPDATED 14 Jun 2018 - 4:21 PM

A complaint has been lodged with the Australian Human Rights Commissioner about the case of a 22-year-old Aboriginal woman who was treated inhumanely in the lead-up to her death in West Australian custody.

Ms Dhu, whose first name is not used for cultural reasons, died in South Hedland, in the Pilbara in 2014, two days after being locked up at the local police station for unpaid fines.

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Coroner: Ms Dhu's death preventable, police 'unprofessional and inhumane'
The West Australian coroner has handed down her findings into the causes of Ms Dhu's death.

She succumbed to staphylococcal septicemia and pneumonia after an infection in her fractured ribs, caused by domestic violence, spread to her lungs.

But some officers thought she was faking illness and coming down from drugs, and some medical staff also thought she was exaggerating.

Coroner Ros Fogliani said in her 2016 inquest findings that Ms Dhu was treated in an unprofessional and inhumane manner, and that her death could have been prevented if her illness had been diagnosed days earlier.

On Tuesday, Sydney-based solicitors Levitt Robinson lodged a submission with the Australian Human Rights Commissioner on behalf of Ms Dhu's family.

The lawyers argue that based on the coroner's findings, actions for malpractice should have been brought against medical staff and police should have been investigated for possible criminal charges.

With AAP

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The principle of ‘open justice’ must override concerns about privacy and dignity. Should the coroner refuse to grant the family’s application to release the footage of Ms Dhu's final hours, this refusal would be an extension of the wall of silence and invisibility around Ms Dhu's death in custody.
CCTV of Ms Dhu's final days released by the WA coroner
GRAPHIC CONTENT WARNING: The WA coroner has decided to release footage of an Aboriginal woman who died in police custody, granting her grieving family their wishes. Some people may find this video distressing