Aboriginal family gets $3.2m payment for prison van death
I suppose this is better than nothing but it is a disgrace that nobody has been held responsible for killing the guy. Surely a charge of negligence could be made to stick, if not manslaughter. It should have gone to a jury instead of being prejudged. Just more West Australian corruption
THE family of an Aboriginal elder who died of heat stroke in the back of a prison transfer van have been awarded a $3 million ex-gratia compensation. The ex-gratia payment comes on top of the $200,000 interim payment they received. The West Australian Attorney-General Christian Porter today revealed the details of the compensation payment, Perth Now reported.
Mr Ward, an elder whose full name cannot be used for cultural reasons, died of heat stroke in the back of the van on the way from Laverton to Kalgoorlie in WA's Goldfields region in January 2008.
Late in June WA's Director of Public Prosecutions Joe McGrath visited Mr Ward's widow Nancy at Warburton in the Central Desert and told her charges would not be laid over his death.
He told her there was no reasonable prospect of conviction if charges were laid against the two security guards employed by the security firm GSL, now known as G4S.
Mr Ward's family were said to be distraught over the decision, which sparked protests in the city.
A broken air conditioner in the back of the van forced Mr Ward to endure temperatures of more than 50C during the four-hour non-stop journey. He was being driven to Kalgoorlie to face a drink-driving charge in court.
Last year WA Coroner Alastair Hope found the Department of Corrective Services, security officers Graham Powell and Nina Stokoe transporting Mr Ward and their employer had all contributed to Mr Ward's death. Mr Hope referred the case to the DPP because he believed a criminal offence had been committed.
But Mr McGrath defended his decision not to prosecute, saying a thorough investigation found no one had been criminally negligent. "I'm acutely aware that the death was tragic, avoidable and rightly creates outrage in the wider Australian community," he said. But he said he had to dispassionately apply the law of WA in determining if there should be a criminal prosecution.