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Aboriginal Mum Takes Fight To The UN To Get Justice For Her Son Who Died In Custody

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Aboriginal Mum Takes Fight To The UN To Get Justice For Her Son Who Died In Custody

Leetona Dungay is upping the ante as she continues to seek justice for her late son David Jr.

Warning: This story contains a photo of a deceased Indigenous person, published with permission from the family.

The 26-year-old Dunghutti man was convicted in 2008 of aggravated attempted sexual assault, and being party to robbery and was ordered to spend his sentence at Long Bay Jail.

He was just three weeks away from being released in 2015 when he had an encounter with officers at the correctional facility.


Authorities have said they went into David's cell to remove a packet of biscuits from him when the centre went into lockdown. Several officers stormed the room and put him in a position that caused David to scream out in pain.

Shocking bodycam footage has revealed the tactics that were used to remove David from his cell and place him in a separate one that had cameras inside.

David could be heard screaming 'I can't breathe' as officers told him to stop resisting. He pleaded 12 times for a chance to breathe. The 26-year-old eventually went into cardiac arrest and later died.


That was six years ago and Leetona is heartbroken nobody has been held accountable for David's death.

She's taking her advocacy work to the United Nations 'to hold the Australian Commonwealth and the NSW Government to account for their failure to protect the right to life' of her son. She is also advocating for all the First Nations deaths in custody that have happened over the years.

Leetona is asking the UN Human Rights Committee declare 'that a violation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) has occurred by virtue of David's death, which could have been prevented, and by the Australian state's failure to undertake investigations into anyone or any organisation responsible for David's death'.

Ms Dugay will also be hoping the UN direct state authorities to 'prosecute, try and, where appropriate, punish anyone or any organisation responsible for First Nations deaths in custody to put an end to the ongoing impunity for deaths in custody'.


In a statement, Leetona said: "My son had a right to live. He had the right to be safe from harm. And I have the right to demand accountability and justice for what happened to David.

"The government and the prison had a duty of care to keep David safe, with people who were trained properly to keep him alive. The system failed, and David lost his life because of that failure."

"The UN needs to know that there is a crisis in this country, and that Australia is breaching its commitments to the UN to protect the human rights of all of its citizens, regardless of their race.

"I want the UN to tell the Australian government to change its ways. I want the UN to say loud and clear to our racist governments that Black Lives Matter."


To support the fight against racial injustice visit ladbible.com/unheard

Featured Image Credit: ABC

Topics: Australia

Stewart Perrie
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