Successful Claim for Family of Aboriginal Man Who Was Treated Negligently in Prison

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Our client, Amy* had a brother called Paul.* He was 20 years of age when he was sentenced to life in prison. During his life, he moved around 50 times to different institutions. Furthermore, Paul was a part of the stolen generation in Australia, and he had an extremely hard life. 

Throughout his imprisonment, he made countless application to transfer to NSW to be closer to his family. They moved him to NSW, but was still moved around the state a lot. As a result, his family could not visit him in prison as much as they would have liked. He didn’t meet his sister, Amy* our client, until their 60s.* 

Dying in Prison in Australia 

In 2020*, Paul sadly became one of the individuals dying in prison. Unfortunately, he was up for parole the next year. The coroner found that Paul died of a heart condition. Furthermore, the care he received whilst in prison was grossly inadequate. They said that his medical tests would have indicated he had a serious heart problem. However, they did not follow up on this. They sent him to hospital on multiple occasions. He also spent time in the intensive care unit. 

Solvent Abuse

In addition, Paul also had a solvent abuse issue. At times, institutions put him in work placements where noxious substances were readily available. Moreover, they did not update his medical report correctly. It should have alerted them to keep substances out of his reach. 

Sadly, he did not receive help for this problem either. As a result of the abuse issue, his heart condition only worsened. 

Aboriginal People Dying In Prison

His family were ready to help him with all of his problems. However, the authorities did not grant him parole in time.

Paul’s family want this to stop happening in institutions throughout Australia. They say too many Aboriginal people are dying in the care of the state. They want better treatment for people and access to getting parole on time. 

Negligence in Prison

The agents of the state owed Paul a duty of care. However, that care was grossly inadequate. Those in charge should have known about his abuse issue and kept him away from them. For example, they should have provided more medical treatment, and mental health support. In addition, the staff should have checked his medical records more carefully. The institutions should have ensured Paul regularly saw an Aboriginal Health Worker. Also, Paul should have never been able to work in industries that had noxious substances. 

Therefore, we found that the institutional care was negligent on multiple occasions. This negligence was a leading cause of his death. 

As a result, Paul’s sister Amy sought compensation for her brother’s death. The court found in favour of our client.

Suing the State for Negligent Care in Prison

O’Brien Solicitors successfully obtained compensation for Amy for her brother’s treatment in prison.

If you believe you have a civil claim against the state, you may be able to sue. Contact O’Brien Criminal and Civil Solicitors on (02) 9261 4281. We can set up a free appointment with the civil lawyers in our Sydney office. 

Related Posts: 

Indigenous men over 23 times more likely to die in police custody.

Demanding an independent inquiry into deaths in custody. 

*We changed the names and some details to protect our client and their family’s privacy. 


O’Brien Criminal & Civil Solicitors
p: 02 9261 4281
a: Level 4, 219-223 Castlereagh St,
Sydney NSW 2000

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