Deaths in Custody

All of the lawyers at Bhatt Murphy work with the families of those who have died in custody or in other controversial circumstances.

We have particular experience working on deaths in custody by reason of restraint, police shootings and those which occur through self-harm. We work closely with non-governmental organisations outside the court room to highlight patterns of preventable deaths and to contribute to public debate and to try and achieve progressive change.

It is our experience that the primary objective of any bereaved family is to find out as much information as possible about the circumstances of the death; to make sense out of their grief at the loss of their loved one; and to ensure that lessons are learnt from their own tragedy so that others may not have to suffer as they have done.

Our work with families is informed by their needs so that they are able to understand, participate in and contribute to the entire process where the circumstances of the death are to be investigated and ascertained.

We provide advice, assistance and representation in relation to the initial investigation into the death and any inquest that might have to take place before a Coroner's Court or a public inquiry. We try to encourage a process that is as open, transparent and accountable as possible.

From the outset, we will help the families to put their questions and requests for relevant documents to the state agencies involved. We work closely with independent pathologists and other relevant experts to ensure that all available forensic evidence has been captured and interpreted properly.

Where appropriate, we seek to ensure that any other independent evidence that might be available from witnesses is obtained and made available to the official investigation.

In the event that individuals are suspected of having caused or contributed to the death, actively or through a failure to take care, we seek to ensure that those people are brought to account for their conduct.

We provide advice, assistance and representation in relation to any formal complaint process that might have to be initiated or any challenge that may have to be brought against decisions made by the relevant authorities.

At an appropriate stage, we provide advice, assistance and representation in relation to other routes to achieve redress, including civil claims for compensation where necessary.

 
 
  • Deaths in Custody
Photo David Hoffman