NATSILS stands with Reynolds’ family’s call for justice and accountability

[supplied by NATSILS]

Makayla Reynolds (left) and Taleah Reynolds outside the inquest at Lidcombe coroners court into their brother Nathan Reynolds’ asthma-related death in custody in 2018. Image: AAP

The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Service (NATSILS) stands in solidarity with Nathan Reynolds’ family as the coronial inquest into his death in custody begins today at the Coroner’s Court in Lidcombe, NSW.

Nathan was a 36-year-old Dunghutti father, son and brother. Nathan died following an asthma attack in Corrective Services custody at the John Moroney Correctional Centre on the 1st September 2018 just after midnight. Corrective Services and Justice Health knew of Nathan’s chronic asthma condition. 

“Nathan was a week out from being released into his community. He should be with his family, in his  community today,” says NATSILS Co-Chair Nerita Waight.  

In the evening of 31 August 2018 Nathan had an asthma attack. He and his peers alerted Correctional Services Officers. After guards and an on-site nurse attempted to treat Nathan, an ambulance was called and were unable to revive him. The inquest has heard from a witness today that the on-site nurse treated Nathan for presumed drug overdose. 

According to the Aboriginal Legal Service NSW/ACT, who is representing the Reynolds’ family, some of the key questions for the coronial inquest are: 

·        Why wasn’t there an Asthma Management plan in place?

·       Why did it take so long for the medical help to arrive on the night Nathan died? 

·       Why wasn’t Nathan provided with basic medical care?

·       Why wasn’t the nurse equipped to save Nathan’s life?  

 

“Nathan is one of over 441 people that have died since the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody. His family are among the hundreds of our people grieving for their loved ones. He should still be here today. His family deserves justice and accountability,” said Cheryl Axleby, NATSILS co-chair.  

We know the toll coronial inquests have on the families of those that have passed. We stand in solidarity with Nathan’s family in their calls for justice, for answers and systemic change. 

We recognise that the coronial inquest is only the beginning of his family’s pursuit of justice and answers. In the words penned by his sister Taleah Reynolds: “I don’t need an inquest to tell me what I already know – Nathan died too soon. He should be alive today.”

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