MEDIA RELEASE: SUPREME COURT OF NSW DECISION REGARDING DEATHS IN CUSTODY PROTEST

MEDIA RELEASE

Supreme Court of NSW decision regarding deaths in custody protest

A peaceful rally and vigil for George Floyd, David Dungay and for all black deaths in custody around the world was scheduled to proceed tomorrow, on Saturday 6 June 2020 at Town Hall Square, Sydney.

This afternoon the Supreme Court has ruled that the public assembly would not be authorised by the Supreme Court after the NSW Police Commissioner opposed it being held.

Peter O’Brien of O’Brien Criminal & Civil Solicitors represented the organisers of the protest and said,

“Obviously for the organisers it is a disappointing decision. The right to protest is a fundamental in our society. The judge had a difficult decision to decide between fundamental liberties and the risks associated with the pandemic. I hope the police respect protestors’ civil rights and liberties, especially given the nature of the topic people are protesting about.”

The protest and vigil had been organised to focus on police brutality against Indigenous Australians, and to remember all those who have died in custody around the world. Protestors are focused on the brutal death of 26 year old David Dungay in 2015 killed in custody as a number of prison officers restrained and sedated him. His last words were ‘I can’t breathe.’

Mr Dungay’s death is one of 432 Indigenous Australian deaths in custody, since the 1991 Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in custody.

Both NSW Police and the Premier for NSW, Ms Berejiklian, initially took a ‘common sense’ approach in permitting the protest, provided that certain regulations were followed.

They appeared to later reverse their position, leading to NSW Police taking the event organisers to the Supreme Court of New South Wales.

Event organisers have encouraged all people who plan to attend to wear masks and take precautions for their health and safety.

For more information, please contact Peter O’Brien on 0406 155 358 or O’Brien Criminal & Civil Solicitors on (02) 9261 4281.

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