Independent Inquiry into Death in Custody


Released 02/06/2016

Following the death of Mr Steven Freeman at the Alexander Maconochie Centre (AMC) on 27 May 2016, I announced my intention to hold an independent inquiry into his treatment while in custody.

This inquiry will examine Mr Freeman’s care and supervision during his period of incarceration, including whether ACT Corrective Services’ systems operated effectively and in compliance with human rights obligations.

This inquiry cannot examine the manner and cause of death of the detainee as that will be addressed by the police investigation and the Coroner.

The Terms of Reference have now been finalised and are publicly available on the Justice and Community Safety Directorate website – www.justice.act.gov.au.

I am pleased to announce that Mr Philip Moss AM has been engaged to undertake this inquiry. 

Until his retirement in July 2014, Mr Moss was employed as the Integrity Commissioner within the Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity and has a wealth of experience in law enforcement and Government investigations and reviews. 

Mr Moss most recently completed an independent review into allegations of abuse of immigration detainees in Nauru.

I anticipate Mr Moss will complete his review by 31 August 2016. 

I would like to take this opportunity to reiterate my deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Steven Freeman and again ask that their privacy be respected. 

I am mindful of the effect this death in custody may have on other detainees in the AMC, particularly those that identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander.  ACT Corrective Services has put in place a number of measures to assist detainees in this difficult time, including:

  • Support from Corrections Psychological Support Services Unit;
  • Engagement with Relationships Australia to provide counselling services;
  • Support from the Indigenous Chaplaincy Service;
  • Visits by members of the Elders and Community Leaders Visitation Program and the Indigenous Official Visitor;
  • Ongoing support by the AMC’s Indigenous Case Managers and Indigenous Liaison Officer; and
  • Ongoing support for all detainees through their interaction with corrections officers.

ACT Corrective Services will continue to work proactively over the next few weeks to ensure detainees are culturally and sensitively supported in the wake of this death. 

ACT Corrective Services is also working with the Indigenous Chaplaincy Service to arrange a culturally appropriate service within the AMC to commemorate Mr Freeman’s life.

- Statement ends -

Section: Shane Rattenbury, MLA | Media Releases

Media Contacts

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Lisa Wills

(02) 6205 3897

0481 035 764

lisa.wills@act.gov.au

Jarrah Aguera

(02) 6205 4115

0481 035 764

jarrah.aguera@act.gov.au


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