Call to protest at refusal to prosecute killers of Mr Ward

"The decision not to charge two security guards over the heat stroke death of West Australian Aboriginal elder, Mr Ward, in a prison van is as outrageous as the cowardly decision taken by the Queensland DPP in the Mulrunji Doomadgee death on Palm island in 2004. To protect then Senior Sergeant Chris Hurley from facing charges the Qld. DPP overturned the recommendations of acting state coroner, Christine Clements, bravely found (some would say foolishly found) that Hurley definitely had a legal case to answer." said Ray Jackson, President of the Indigenous social justice association.

Background: Deaths in Custody Watch Committee WA - Ward Campaign for Justice | Coroner finds Aboriginal elder 'cooked to death' in a police van.

The outrage of the family, the Palm island community, other aboriginal and Torres Strait islander communities and all right-thinking peoples forced the DPP attempt to save Hurley from prosecution to be overturned and Hurley faced trial.

As we all know an all-white Townsville jury exonerated him of any blame in the death of Doomadgee.

Our esteemed elder, Mr Ward, was the victim of ignorance and racism by the white custodial system. upon his arrest he came before a new justice of the peace who should have bailed to appear in court, instead he accepted the police recommendation that he be transported 600 kilometres from Laverton to Kalgoorlie to face court there.

In 42 degree celsius summer heat this was done. The transport van had no workable air-conditioning for the back of the van and it is stated that the temperature in the van exceeded 50 degrees celsius. Mr Ward was literally 'cooked' to death!

To be forced to wait some 2 1/2 years and then to be 'kicked in the guts' by the system that is supposed to seek justice for all is in itself a travesty of justice for Mr Ward's family.

The G4S personnel who escorted Mr Ward on that day acted with absolute callous indifference as to whether he lived or died on that trip. Their duty of care to Mr Ward was non-existent.

Nina Stockoe and Graham Powell are as responsible for the death of Mr Ward as then s/s Hurley is responsible for the death of Mulrunji Doomadgee.

Our collective voices, raised in righteous anger, must overturn the decision of the WA DPP, Joe Mcgrath, to ignore the recommendations of the WA state coroner, Alistair Hope, who rightly found that Slockoe and Powell did have a case to answer. Both must face some level of manslaughter charges, at least.

Also G4S and the WA Department of Corrective Services must also face intensive questioning on their role and responsibilities for the death of Mr Ward.

It is very telling that the coroner, whilst recommending legal action be taken in his scathing report, also advised the family not to get their hopes up that justice would indeed prevail. Merely another sickening example of the racist (non) justice system in action.

Black deaths count for nothing!

Blood money, conscience money, wash-your-hands money is not enough. they have the money, we have the sorry-business.

We want justice! nothing more, nothing less. Deaths in custody will not stop until someone is found to be fully responsible for that death. Hurley snaked out with the great assistance of his corrupt legal system. Slockoe and Powell must have their day in court facing the family of Mr Ward and explain their criminal actions.

WA contacts are given below to put your protests to the DPP decision. It must be over-turned.

Home → Blogs → Deaths in Custody Watch Committee's blog
Outrage over no charges being laid! "This is institutionalised racism at its worse!!" - DICWC
Dear Friends & Supporters;

The Western Australian Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) flew to Warburton over the weekend and advised the family that no criminal charges will be laid in relation to the death in custody of Mr Ward due to a so-called 'lack of evidence'.

The Deaths In Custody Watch Committee (WA) Inc calls on people across the country to express their outrage to the WA Premier, Hon Colin Barnett MLA, the WA Attorney General and Minister for Corrective Services Hon Christian Porter MLA and the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions as a matter of urgency.

It is outrageous that a significant Aboriginal Elder and Leader can be killed at the hands of the State and its contractor G4S under the most horrendous circumstances and yet no one is held criminally culpable.

This is institutionalised racism at its worst!

There will be widespread community outrage across the nation if those responsible are not held to account. The Deaths In Custody Watch Committee (WA) Inc will be calling an urgent demonstration of community outrage at the decision.

Express your;


Honourable Colin Barnett MEc MLA

Premier; Minister for State Development

Address: 24th Floor, Governor Stirling Tower, 197 St Georges Terrace PERTH WA 6000

Telephone: 9222 9888

Fax: 9322 1213




Honourable Christian Porter MLA

Attorney General & Minister for Corrective Services

Telephone: (08) 9316 0666

Fax (08) 9316 0300



Postal: Locked Bag 2000, BOORAGOON WA 6954

Office: Suite 12 Riseley Corporate Centre (above the ANZ bank), 135 Riseley Street, BOORAGOON WA 6154.


Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions

Level 1, "International House"
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Telephone: (08) 9425 3999
Freecall for country callers: 1800 264 144
Facsimile: (08) 9425 3600





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Deaths in Custody Watch Committee's blog
Ray Jackson
indigenous social justice association



They should both be punished for what the did and so should Hurley.

As a widow, Mother of five, Grandmother of eight, I STRONGLY OPPOSE the decission not to prosecute the people responsible for the cruel death of Mr Ward. When my children were young, my husband and I would take them every year from Perth to Shark Bay at holiday time. It was approximately an eight hour drive and the number one responsibility was ALWAYS HAVE ENOUGH WATER FOR THE JOURNEY. The prison van drivers acted in an EXTREMELY IRRESPONSIBLE MANNER and should be charged AT LEAST with manslaughter. They were supposedly, responsible for the life of a human being from the time he entered the van till their destination was reached. They carried out their job with TOTAL DISREGARD for the safety and the LIFE of Mr Ward. The transport company should also be held responsible, as the people they employed did not carry out their job with safety and regard. Choosing NOT to prosecute is a TOTAL DISREGARD for the law against taking the life of another.