A Queensland police commissioner has told an inquest that the actions of three officers “could be considered corrupt” after failing to perform proper checks on First Nations woman Shiralee Tilberoo before her death in a watch house.
The 49-year-old Birri Gubba woman – also known as Aunty Sherry – died of a brain aneurysm in a Brisbane watch house on the 10th of September 2020.
The inquest examined Tilberoo’s death as well as Vlasta Wylucki who died in a Southport watch house in 2018.
In a report detailing her investigation Queensland police’s ethical investigator Det Sgt Christy Schimdt said that there was a lack of care in regard to cell inspections saying there was “definitely room for improvement.”
Schmidt also recommended disciplinary action be taken against assistant watch house officers Debra Haigh and Michael Ecimovic and officer Sr Sgt Damian Hayden.
The recommendations come as it was revealed that Haigh and Ecimovic conducted “inadequate cell checks” while Hayden failed to do any checks altogether.
For seven of the 12 shifts during Tilberoo’s time in detention no inspection was undertaken by Hayden who was classified as the independent officer at the time.
Scmidt argued that the inadequacies had amounted to “human rights breaches” and “could be considered corrupt conduct.”
Scmidt also called for more extensive training for watch house officers.
“If that’s what is going to be your specialised day-to-day workplace, you need to have more than five minutes in terms of training and there needs to be auditing done,” she told the inquest.
The inquest’s findings are set to handed down in June.