Stephen J. Crothers

(Private Detective, retired)

~ To Home Page ~

The deaths of Julieka Dhu and Kevin Norris whilst in Police custody.

(1) Julieka Dhu

On the 4th of August 2014, Julikea Dhu, an Indigenous Australian woman, died at the age of 22, whilst in the custody of the Western Australia Police Force, being held in gaol because of outstanding fines in the sum of ~$1000.00, in accordance with the Policy of the Western Australia State Government, under the Premier Colin Barnett, to send people to debtors prison.

I prepared the following Précis of the case, which I sent to WorkSafe Western Australia:

The Death of Julieka Dhu in Police Custody

Shortly after receipt of my Précis, WorkSafe WA commenced an investigation into the death of this woman. If not for my intervention, nothing would have been done. Indeed, over the past 10 years ~329 people have died in Police custody in Australia. Not one of them, until now, has been investigated by any WorkCover Authority, despite the fact that all deaths at a workplace must by law be reported to the relevant WorkCover Authority and investigated by that Authority, independently of any concurrent Police investigation.

Of the ~329 deaths in Police custody, not a single police officer has even been held accountable let alone charged with or convicted of any offense. Related investigations, where they have been carried out, have only ever been conducted by the Police themselves. All Royal Commissions and Independent Commission Against Corruption investigations into the Police Services in Australia concluded that the Police Services are corrupt. Nonetheless, nothing has been done beyond the said Commissions' inquiries.

I sent my Précis of the Dhu case to all Federal Cabinet Ministers and Shadow Cabinet Ministers, and all Western Australia Shadow Cabinet Ministers, and to the Executive of other major political parties. None replied, except the Office of the Prime Minister, Tony Abbott. The letter from Abbott's Office was a short, evasive and propagandist letter in which I was more or less told how wonderful it is to live in the Australian democracy, and that the case would be referred to the Federal Minister for Justice, Michael Keenan. However, Keenan had already been sent a copy of my Précis (by me) and had not even acknowledged it. After the Prime Minister's advice, still nothing has been forthcoming from the Minister for Justice, Michael Keenan. Here is the letter I received from the Prime Minister's Office:

From the Office of the Prime Minister, Tony Abbott

I sent a copy of the Précis to all lawyers listed on Law School Faculty at all Australian Law Schools. That's a lot of lawyers. Only two acknowledged the case. The first was Clive Williams from the Australian National University, who sent me an email titled 'UNSUBCRIBE' and with no message content; the other was from a lawyer on Faculty at the Australian Catholic University. That lawyer merely commended me for taking action, but went no further. So much for the lawyers at Australian universities.

Michael Kirby is an outspoken former Justice of the High Court of Australia who has waxed lyrical about a 'Bill of Rights' for Australian citizens:

Kirby on the 'Bill of Rights'.

I emailed him a copy of my Précis and also posted to his office a hard copy of it. Here is a copy of my letter to Kirby:
Letter to Kirby.

Michael Kirby replied to me by email on 3rd February 2015. He excused himself from any involvment on account of his "past judicial office". The Bench of the High Court of Australia was also emailed a copy, as were the Benches of all Supreme Courts of the States and Territories of Australia, and so too the International Court of Justice at The Hague, the Australian Human Rights Commission, and the United Nations. Not one responded.

I also emailed a copy of my Précis to the Federal Attorney General, George Brandis. I received an evasive email response from his Office on the 17th of December 2014, fobbing the matter off to one of the culprits, Premier Colin Barnett, WA. Apparently Brandis condones the culpable gross negligence of Barnett et al. Here is a copy of our exchange:

Federal Attorney General, George Brandis.

All major Australian television, newspaper, and radio news outlets were emailed a copy of the Précis. None took any action to support it, and very few even acknowledged receipt of it. Numerous Indigenous Australian organisations were also copied the document, yet none supported it, and most did not even acknowledge receipt of it. Similarly, all other WorkCover Authorities in Australia were sent a copy of the Précis; none acknowledged its contents, bearing in mind that all such Authorities are required by law to execute Occupational Health and Safety laws and bound by those laws to investigate all deaths at a workplace, independently of any Police investigation, but have never done so in the cases of deaths in Police custody, thereby breaking the very laws they must enforce, and thereby committing numerous offences themselves, for which they are accountable before The Law. Here is a list of persons and organisations who received a copy of the Précis;

List of Recipients.

WorkSafe WA informed me that it is not obliged to provide a copy of its investigation report to anybody outside WorkSafe WA. Application can be made under the Freedom of Information Act for acquisition of their report. The people accountable for the death of Julieka Dhu are very powerful and therefore the WorkSafe WA investigation into her death is not safe from interference or obstruction. The Office of the Premier, Colin Barnett, is implicated, as are the Offices of the WA Minister for Police, the WA Attorney General, and the WA Commissioner of Police; all detailed in my Précis.

It remains to be seen as to whether or not the WorkSafe WA investigation is conducted properly, free from obstruction or interference.

(2) Kevin Norris

On the 11th of January 2015, Kevin Norris, a 38 year old who worked as a roof tiler, not previously known to Police, died whilst in the custody of the New South Wales Police Service, at its Bowral Police Station. He was arrested for alleged disorderly conduct at a MacDonald's take-away food outlet in the town of Mittagong. Norris was subjected to capsicum spray and numerous taser attacks by NSW Police Officers and then taken to Bowral Police Station, where he soon died.

The New South Wales Police Service, in breach of the Law, did not report his death to WorkCover NSW. I reported his death to WorkCover NSW on the 17th of January 2015, and requested an investigation by WorkCover NSW in accordance with Statute, reminding WorkCover NSW of the Dhu case, of which I had previously advised it. WorkCover NSW then issued me with an incident report reference number, 1-335907, and advised that it would send me a written response within 20 working days. Will WorkCover NSW prosecute the NSW Police Service for at the very least, failing to report a death at a workplace?

Page established: 27th January 2015

Home Page

[ top ]