Warning: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander readers are advised the following story contains the name of an Indigenous person who has passed away.
New South Wales – The state’s coroner has referred the death of Jai Wright to the Public Prosecutor.
The 16-year old Dunghutti teenager suffered critical injuries after being thrown off his bike by an unmarked police car in February 2022.
He died the following day.
NSW police say the bike Jai was riding had been stolen along with a Mercedes and BMW earlier that day.
On Monday, a coronial inquest into his death heard that police were ordered not to pursue the stolen vehicles.
But CCTV and in-car footage showed a police officer swinging his vehicle around before it collided with the bike.
The New South Wales Coroner Tessa O’Sullivan suspended the inquest to refer the matter to public prosecutions to determine if any criminal charges should be laid.
In a statement from the Aboriginal Legal Service New South Wales, Jai’s parents says the referral is an important step towards justice.
“Almost 2 years ago, we received a call, one of the calls that as a parent you never want to receive, about Jai having an accident.
We rushed straight to the hospital and we were by our son’s side as he passed away. Ever since then, we have been searching for the truth.
We need to know the truth so that we can live our lives and move forward.
“This referral has given us a lot of hope, we have faith that we will get justice for Jai.
“I would just ask all our family and friends to let this process play out because negative comments could hurt future legal proceedings, and believe that at the end we will get our truth and get our justice.”
Karly Warner, CEO of the Aboriginal Legal Service hopes the case will bring positive change.
“The Aboriginal Legal Service is proud to stand alongside Jai Wright’s family and community.
We share their immense grief and determination to ensure what happened to Jai never happens again.
“Jai is one of at least 558 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who have died in custody and police operations in a little over 30 years since the Royal Commission.
Scrutiny and accountability are essential in stopping this national shame.”
Image: Lachlan Wright (right), father Jai Wright, embraces supporters after the Inquest into Jai’s death was suspended and referred to The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) at the Lidcombe Coroners Court in Sydney, 30 January 2024. (AAP Image/Bianca De Marchi)
If this story has caused you distress it’s important to know support is available.
Call 13YARN (13 92 76) or the Aboriginal Counselling Services 0410 539 905