David Dungay

(David Dungay’s mother seen infront of the inquest: SBS)

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Family statement to media 8 March 2019
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Report on Inquest 6 March 2019
Report on Inquest 7 March 2019


David Dungay Jr, was a 26 year old Dungatti man, who died on December 29, 2015 in Sydney’s Long Bay Prison Hospital. In an attempted cell transfer, Dungay had refused to stop eating a packet of biscuits. As a result, six guards held him down in a prone position, administering a sedative while nursing staff and four other guards looked on. He called out twelve times that he couldn’t breathe before losing consiousness. By the time the guards realised the seriousness of the situation, several minutes had gone past before basic life saving support was attempted. Still, only two compressions were undertaken. Dungay had gone into asystole arrest, otherwise known as irreversible cardiac arrest. 

For the full story:The tragic death in custody of David Dungay

Justice Action’s David Dungay project seeks to explore whether the NSW Coroner’s recommendations from the inquest into David’s death have been received on a national level and whether reforms have been made to implement these recommendations. Justice Action is interested in this project as the demonstrated indifference to David’s death proves a failure of the authorities, and continued inaction would only lead to further preventable deaths. Following our research into the issue, and the subsequent communication with national coroners, NCIS, Governor of NSW, and AIC, it has become clear current structure is lacking, and major reforms into the reporting and dissemination of key information for the prevention of future deaths in custody.

The findings of the 2019 Inquest into David Dungay’s death includes numerous recommendations, provided under act 82 of the Coroners Act. Due to the lacking information infrastructure, we are finding that many states have had similar previous incidents without wide reporting, many of which could have been prevented, or could themselves have prevented David’s death. We are currently sending the recommendations to all coroners offices, in an attempt to put into practice the necessary precautionary measures.


Initiate and achieve the establishment of a national database through which coroners share their findings, and publish responses; minimising any chance for further deaths in custody. To achieve this Justice Action has been in contact with the offices of all state and territory coroners, the Australian Institute for Criminology, the National Coroners Information Services, State Governors, Coroner’s Courts and other responsible government departments. 

Media Links

Other Media Articles 

Death in custody : When a cell extraction turns fatal
Family of man who died in custody want ‘graphic’ CCTV to be released
Aboriginal death in custody : Inmate died in Sydney prison after being ‘restrained and sedated’
Aboriginal man David Dungay Hill’s death in custody ‘suspicious’ : family
David Dungay inquest: Prison guard defends response prior to death in custody
Aboriginal death in custody ‘swept under carpet’
Moving out of squalor to an uncertain future
Peaceful protest as family searches for answers
David Dungay’s family want ‘graphic’ footage released
‘Devastating’: David Dungay inquest adjourned for eight months




Duty of care for complex health needs, forced medication & use of dangerous restraint (page 7)

Coroners Court of New South Wales

Black Deaths in Custody in Australia

The 147 dead: terrible toll of Indigenous deaths in custody spurs call for reform
Short Film: No Way to Forget

Indigenous Incarceration is a national tragedy that demands action

‘National tragedy’: 35 groups demand action on Indigenous incarceration
NT going backwards on black deaths in custody
Masked racism : Reflections on the Prison Industrial Complex
ABC News : Indigenous news

Deathscapes – Mapping Racialised Violence in Settler States

Deathscapes (2016-2020) Home Page

Institutional Abuse & Discrimination, Coronial Inquiries

Aboriginal Incarceration and Deaths in Custody : Looking Back and Looking Forward : pdf
The Guardian : watch ‘James Baldwin debates the ‘American Dream’
The Guardian : The 147 dead: terrible toll of Indigenous deaths in custody spurs call for reform
Australian Human Rights Commission : Institutional racism
NITV : Institutional racism ‘evident’ in Australian justice system
NITV : Indigenous prisoners and those with disabilities at ‘serious risk’ of abuse says Human Rights Watch
The Australian : Closing the gap this coolamon carries a special baby
Australian Bureau of Statistics : Prisoners in Australia
The Guardian : The small town trying to shift spending from punishment to prevention
ABC News : One Plus One : Sharon Payne
Bill Shorten MP : Closing the Gap Report Statement
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Human Rights Commission : Anti racism handbook
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Need For Criminal/ Civil Liability

The Law Society of NSW : Indigenous incarceration rates and justice targets
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Australian Institute of Criminology : Aboriginal death in custody

Black Deaths in Custody – New York and Internationally

SBS News : Thousands protest NY police ‘chokehold’
The Conversation : One step toward making criminal justice less biased
The Sydney Morning Herald : ‘Systemic racism’ fueling skyrocking rates of Indigenous imprisonment. says peak law body

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