Back­lash fear on Dhu video

Pilbara News - - News - Tim Clarke

Lawyers rep­re­sent­ing po­lice of­fi­cers who came into con­tact with Ms Dhu in the days be­fore she died in cus­tody have ar­gued that CCTV vi­sion show­ing her treat­ment should not be re­leased be­cause it might lead to vig­i­lante ac­tion.

Dur­ing a spe­cially con­vened hear­ing be­fore Coro­ner Ros Fogliani last week, Ms Dhu’s fam­ily and me­dia or­gan­i­sa­tions ar­gued the vi­sion shown re­peat­edly in open court should be avail­able for pub­lic broad­cast.

But it was also re­vealed that sub­mis­sions from lawyers rep­re­sent­ing some po­lice who gave ev­i­dence dur­ing the in­quest this year in­cluded an ar­gu­ment that to re­lease some por­tions of the vi­sion could prompt a com­mu­nity back­lash.

Ms Dhu’s fam­ily ini­tially op­posed me­dia re­quests to ob­tain the vi­sion, which played a key role in the in­quest hear­ings, but later re­quested that it be re­leased in the pub­lic in­ter­est.

Ms Fogliani, who has twice de­clined to re­lease the vi­sion af­ter the fam­ily’s orig­i­nal ob­jec­tions, asked lawyers why and how she should re­lease it.

Kevin Banks-Smith, rep­re­sent­ing Ms Dhu’s fa­ther Robert, said he now be­lieved re­leas­ing the vi­sion would be the most pow­er­ful way of hon­our­ing her mem­ory. But he still ob­jected to the re­lease of the fi­nal part of vi­sion near Hed­land Health Cam­pus, which shows Ms Dhu slumped in a wheel­chair mo­ments be­fore med­i­cal staff re­alised she was close to death.

Coun­sel as­sist­ing, Philip Urquhart, said the court must con­sider if the re­lease of the vi­sion was nec­es­sary to ex­plain how Ms Dhu died and con­sider how the re­lease might af­fect the de­ceased wo­man’s dig­nity.

Ms Dhu’s grand­mother, Carol Roe, was an­gered by the Coro­ner’s move to re­serve her de­ci­sion.

Ms Dhu, who died at Hed­land Health Cam­pus.

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