• WA Attorney-General John Quigley will introduce changes to the state fine default laws. (AAP)Source: AAP
The Attorney General says there were alternative options to arresting a pregnant Aboriginal woman on a 'witness' warrant, encourages her to pursue compensation.
Rangi Hirini

4 Jun 2019 - 3:50 PM  UPDATED 4 Jun 2019 - 4:03 PM

The West Australian Attorney-General John Quigley has apologised to a young Aboriginal mother who was arrested and locked-up for "failing to obey a witness summons".

John Quigley said he was "appalled" and "deeply upset" about the case involving Kearah Ronan and has encouraged her to file for compensation.

“I called her in straight away and offered my profuse apology and invited her to go the Commissioner for Victims of Crime and work up an application for some modest compensation,” he told media in Perth today.

“We’ve had this too many times of women going to the police for assistance and themselves being victimised,” Mr Quigley said.

Yesterday, NITV revealed Ms Ronan’s lawyer, George Newhouse, called on the Attorney-General to issue a public apology.

"Arresting the alleged victim of a violent crime and holding them in a police lock-up is something that should not be permitted. You only have to look at the case of Ms Dhu to see the disastrous impacts of locking up victims of domestic violence," Mr Newhouse said.

“In situations where the victims of an alleged crime are going to be arrested and locked up there need to be substantial checks on the prosecutors who ask for these kinds of warrants and there should be strict protocols that Magistrates must consider before they issue them.

Mr Quigley has asked the Commissioner for Victims of Crimes to work up a series of guidelines for the Police Commissioner to stop a repeat of this situation happening in the future. 

“They (victims) come to the justice system for support and help, they should never be imprisoned… There were ways around it for heaven's sake, I’m gonna make sure those guidelines are brought to bed,” he said.

Lawyers call on Attorney General for public apology
Lawyers for the young Aboriginal mother arrested and imprisoned for failing to appear in court as a witness say no victim or alleged victim of gender-based violence should have to experience a night in a police lock up again.
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Western Australia's criminal justice system fails a family violence survivor after police arrest, strip search and lock-up a pregnant Aboriginal mother for failing to attend court as a witness.