Wednesday, March 18, 2009


Inquest told prison van airconditioning not checked

ABC - March 17, 2009, 8:04 pm

An inquest into the death in custody of an Aboriginal elder has heard the officers who drove him from Laverton to Kalgoorlie did not check whether the air conditioning in the prison van was faulty.

46-year old Warburton elder Mr Ward suffered fatal heatstroke on the four hour journey in January last year.

Today the inquest heard from one of the officers from the company which handles prisoner transport in Western Australia .

Nina Mary Stokoe told the court she knew the airconditioning in the van had been playing up but it was not company policy to check it.

She testified she always assumed the air conditioning was working unless prisoners banged on the walls and that Mr Ward gave no indication there was a problem.

Ms Stokoe broke down as she told the court she and her colleague rushed Mr Ward to Kalgoorlie hospital after the prisoner collapsed and stopped breathing.

Mr Ward died in hospital.

The inquest continues.

Aboriginal elder slumped like 'rag doll' in prison van

ABC - March 17, 2009, 2:22 pm

A woman has told a coronial inquest how she went into shock when a man she was transferring from one goldfields town to another was found slumped like a rag doll in the back of a prison van.
Warburton elder Mr Ward, 46, died of heat stroke in January last year after travelling in a prison van from Laverton to Kalgoorlie.

The inquest heard last week that the van's airconditioning was not working.

Today, Nina Mary Stokoe, from the transport and logistics company GSL, testified she knew the air conditioning had been "playing up" but it was not company policy to check it.

Ms Stokoe told the coroner Mr Ward did not show any signs of discomfort.

She testified Mr Ward was like a rag doll when pulled from the back of the van at the Kalgoorlie hospital and he was not breathing.

Efforts to revive Mr Ward were unsuccessful.

The inquest continues.