Backlash fear on Dhu video
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.