Ward 7a - No Accountability


No Accountability: An Institutional Abrogation of Responsibility

Evidence from GSL officers implied that, in their view Mr Ward bore the responsibility for informing them that he was dying.

The Inquest findings stated:

‘there was no effective system of communication available to him…The only form of a duress alarm was an unlabelled button in the pod…Even if the deceased had been able to locate the button and guessed its purpose…it is unlikely that the inadequate light on the dash was seen by the GSL officers’
Alastair Hope (State Coroner)


As a person in custody, Mr Ward was owed a ‘duty of care’, however he was quickly deemed unworthy of receiving it; in his death he was even blamed for not being able to compel his white ‘protectors’ to care for him.

‘Why did he not tell us? Why did he not bang on the side of the door and let us know there’s something wrong with him? We would’ve stopped if he had given any indication whatsoever that something was not right. I would’ve had Graham stop the vehicle instantly. As soon as he collapsed I had him stop the vehicle. If he had just let us know. I have had that with me since it happened.

‘He was just – my job for the day was to go and pick this gentleman up and take him to where he had to go, and that’s exactly what I did, except that I just wish the man had let me know that he wasn’t well so we would have stopped the vehicle.’
Nina Stokoe (GSL Escorting Officer), inquest transcript



Please Read

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are respectfully advised that this website contains images of and references to deceased persons.

All viewers are respectfully advised that the site contains images of and references to the deaths in custody of Indigenous peoples, Black people and refugees that may cause distress.