Rally condemns decision over Mr Ward’s death

Rally for Mr Ward 11 July 2010. Photo: Alex Bainbridge

Five hundred people rallied outside the Perth Supreme Court Gardens on July 11 to demand that the coronial investigation into Mr Ward's tragic death be reopened.

Mr Ward, a respected Aboriginal elder, was literally cooked to death in the back of a prisoner van while being driven from Laverton to Kalgoorlie to face court for a traffic offence in January 2008.

The coroner found that temperatures inside the van reached 47° Celsius and that metal surfaces in the van would have reached 56°C.

On June 28, the department of public prosecutions said it would not to lay charge against the two private security guards who were responsible for transporting Mr Ward under these conditions.

The rally also called for the evidence used to be tabled in parliament, for an independent review of the decision, for the contract with private prison company G4S to be terminated and responsibility for prison transportation to be returned to corrective services personnel.

The rally held a minute's silence to mark the passing of Mr Ward before the speakers addressed the crowd.

Daisy Ward, Mr Ward’s cousin, said: “We are just human beings like anybody else.” She demanded justice for her family.

Western Australian Greens MP, Alison Xamon, quoted the coroner's report stating that the death of Mr Ward was “wholly unnecessary and avoidable”.

Glenn Moore from the First Nations Political Party also spoke.

Prominent Aboriginal rights activist Marianne McKay said the movement “would never stop until justice was achieved!”

The rally then marched through Perth city.


Photo slideshow from the rally