Aborigine 'cooked' in prison van

2011-07-07 19:48

Sydney - An Australian prisons agency was fined $300 000 on Thursday over the death of an Aboriginal who activists say 'cooked' to death in the back of a prison van en route to court.

Known only as Mr Ward for Aboriginal cultural reasons, the elder, 46, died from heatstroke in the sweltering outback of Western Australia state during a four-hour journey in 2008 in a van with broken air-conditioning.

He suffered third-degree burns as temperatures in the vehicle's rear compartment soared to up to 50ºC  on the trip to a drink-driving hearing.

The state's corrective services department pleaded guilty to failing to ensure that Mr Ward was not exposed to what were ultimately fatal hazards, and it was  slapped with the fine on Thursday by the Kalgoorlie Magistrates Court.

"The department of corrections has been fined $305 000 over the death of Mr Ward," a spokesperson for the workplace safety regulator, which brought the charges, told AFP.

"That's the highest fine since we have had the maximum fine of $400 000. The next highest [case] was $100 000, so it's a really good result."

Magistrate Greg Benn said he could not impose the maximum penalty because the state agency had pleaded guilty early, expressed contrition and worked quickly to reform the system so such an event could never happen again.

The government had also made an ex-gratia payment of $3.4m to Mr Ward's widow and her four children last July.

Preventable

Benn told members of Mr Ward's family in court for the sentence that it was not aimed at putting a value on his life but punishing the grave failings that led to his death.

"This is a serious breach indeed," said Benn.

"The incident that occurred was foreseeable and preventable."

WorkSafe WA said the private security contractor operating the van, G4S, would face court next, having already pleaded guilty to failing to ensure that Mr Ward's safety and health was not adversely affected by their work.

They face a maximum fine of $400 000.

The van's drivers had both pleaded not guilty to failing to take reasonable care of Mr Ward's safety and health and would stand trial, the spokesperson added, for which they could each be fined $20 000.

Read more on:    australia  |  human rights
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
7 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
 

This is what South Africans Googled in 2014!

Find out who and what South Africans were most curious about in 2014!

 
 

I love summer.24

This hilarious song is your new holiday anthem
The world's least visited destination is breathtaking!
LOL treadmill fail!
Google’s top searches of 2014

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2DAYS ONLY – 30% off Appliances

Coffee makers, blenders, fans, juicers and more. T&Cs apply. Shop now!

2 DAYS ONLY – 40% off books

Get 40% off when you buy 2 books. For two days only! T&Cs apply. Buy now!

Up to 50% off on outdoor gear

Save on chairs, blankets, cooler bags, umbrellas and more. Shop now!

Save on Samsung

Cameras, mobile phones, TVs, Tablets and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Grand Theft Auto 5

Now available on PS4, Xbox One and PC from R649. Buy now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Any chance to explore the distant shores of things yet to be found will fascinate you. The challenge is dealing with the issues...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.