Parents of Indigenous man Bailey Mackander say ‘contemptuous’ actions by correctional officers contributed to death – ABC News

Posted: November 14, 2021 at 1:47 am


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An inquest into the death of aFirst Nations manwho died after falling eightmetres while trying to escape custodyhas heard that a "real lack of humanity" by correctional staff contributed to the man's avoidable death.

NSW deputy state coroner Elaine Truscott heard that Wiradjuri man Bailey Mackander was taken to hospital in November 2019 after he reported swallowing batteries and razor blades.

Mr Mackander, 20, had been isolated in an assessment or 'safe' cell at Kariong Correctional Centre, where he was reportedly heard screamingin distress for two days.

A decision was made to take him to Gosford Hospital.

ThePort Stephens mandied after escaping custody, climbingover a concrete barrier and falling 8metres.

The inquest heard the cell Mr Mackander was placed in was deemed unsafe for him as he suffered from anxiety.

Lawyer Georgia Lewer, who represented Mr Mackander's father and stepmother, was scathing in her closing submission.

"On numerous occasions, Bailey was dealt with in a contemptuous manner," she said.

"There was gross disregard for his deteriorating mental state;guards stepped over him and entirely ignored him in the cell.

"His request for dinneris ignored, a request to turn off the TV so he can sleep is ignored.

"This conduct by a number of corrective services staff shows a real lack of humanity in dealing with Bailey and reflects a culture where inmates are seen as less than human and disentitled to dignity."

Paperwork given to treating doctors atGosford Hospital byguards stated that Mr Mackander had a habit of "crying wolf".

The inquest heard the language was inappropriate and had the capacity to undermine [hospital]treatment Mr Mackander might have received.

In his closing submission, Bill de Mars, the lawyer for Mr Mackander's mother Tracey,said that following Mr Mackander'streatment, panic set in which resulted in the deceased scaling the ambulance bay wall and falling to his death.

"We find a key motivating factor in the action Bailey took was the fear and anxiety of returning to the observation cell based on his previous distress," Mr de Mars said.

"But for Baileys placement in the cell and the manner in which he was treated, he would not have taken the action that he did."

The lawyer for Bailey's father,David, and step-mother,Melissa, reached the same conclusion.

"With the horror of the conditions he thought confronted him in the assessment cell, he may have felt so distressed at the thought of returning," Ms Lewer said.

The inquest heard Mr Mackander had anxiety and mental health issues for at least nine weeks prior to his death.

The inquest heard he was meant to have weekly appointments with a psychologist, but that had notoccurred.

The lawyer for a treating nurse said in her submission that "there was tremendous pressure placed on her client and she didn't have specific mental health training".

The inquest heard Mr Mackanderhad not had a medication assessment or a comprehensive mental health assessment in the lead-up to his death.

Mr Mackander's family spoke of a kind, loving boy, who sought rehabilitation, despite notreatment places being available.

"The family wish me to emphasisethat Bailey was gentle and he was kind. He was still very young, with limited life or jail experience, struggling to find his place in the world," Ms Lewer said.

"[The family]want to acknowledge the loss of a unique individual in a prison system that has failed many, particularly Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men.

"It is a problem that requires wholesalepolitical and community support, and fundamental change."

Coroner Truscott previously described Mr Mackander as "abeautiful boy in a not-so-beautiful system".

On Tuesday, she reached out to the family again, noting that three days had past since the second anniversary of Mr Mackander's death.

Coroner Truscott will hand down herfindings on December 15.

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Parents of Indigenous man Bailey Mackander say 'contemptuous' actions by correctional officers contributed to death - ABC News

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November 14th, 2021 at 1:47 am

Posted in Mental Attitude