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We are writing to you, with a view to participate in the second inquest of Craig Behr, whose death occurred on the 27th March 2004, case number 538/04. The first inquest was terminated on 25th February 2005 under Section 19 of the Coroner’s Act 1980. However, a second inquest has been sought and is due to begin shortly.

Under Section 32 of the Coroners Act 1980, sub- section (1) “ Any person who, in the opinion of the coroner holding an inquest or inquiry, has a sufficient interest in the subject-matter of the inquest or inquiry may by leave of the coroner appear in person at the inquest or inquiry or be represented by an Australian legal practitioner, and may examine or cross-examine any witnesses on matters relevant to the inquest or inquiry”.

Our experience in current and previous cases would assist you with the second inquest, with our knowledge and expertise a major benefit.

We wish to give evidence at the next inquest, to prevent future deaths in custody occurring, as has been exposed with the Craig Behr situation.

Justice Action has worked with prisoners representing their interests over many decades and has a great amount of experience and knowledge in this area. Some of our previous work includes:

Successfully defended the prisoners’ right to vote nationally at the Senate Inquiry in 1997 and represented prisoners of Australia this year on the same issue.
• Supervision of people on community service orders since 1984

• Coordinated the Criminal Justice Coalition for two and a half years

• Facilitated the creation of the Australian Prisoners Union in 1999

Distributed the only questionnaire to prisoners during the Drug Summit and had six MP crossbenchers write “the participation of Justice Action is absolutely crucial to deliberations at the Summit”

• In conjunction with the Council for Civil Liberties, Justice Action succeeded in preventing some of the worst excesses to the Home Detention Bill by ensuring that amendments were made to the Act

• Are represented on the Justice Health Service Consumer Council

Correspond with prisoners through case workers

• Consistently pressured the government to establish active steps to control the spread of Blood Borne Communicable Diseases in prisons through the immediate availability of condoms, clean syringes and dental dams

• Lobbied the government to review the conditions and use of “safe cells”

• Supported an ex-prisoner’s case against the government for negligence for failure to supply clean needles and syringes in prisons

• HRMU— Campaigned for an independent inspection of the High Risk Management Unit at Goulburn.

 

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Justice Action
Suite 204, 4 Goulburn Street
Sydney NSW Australia
Telephone: 02 9283 0123
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