Dwayne Johnstone, who was shot dead by prison officers at Lismore Base Hospital in 2019. Picture: Tim Hunter.
Dwayne Johnstone, who was shot dead by prison officers at Lismore Base Hospital in 2019. Picture: Tim Hunter.

Fatal shooting of inmate to be investigated

THE investigation into the death of an Aboriginal man in custody in Lismore will be handed over to the Director of Public Prosecutions after a coroner raised concerns over evidence heard.

Numulgi man Dwayne Johnstone, 43, was under Corrective Services custody on March 15 last year when he was transported to Lismore Base Hospital for treatment.

Mr Johnstone was being treated at the hospital after he'd what is believed to be an epileptic seizure while in the Lismore Courthouse cells.

He had been denied bail earlier that day.

 

Police are combing the area outside the Lismore Base Hospital for evidence following a fatal shooting in 2019.
Police are combing the area outside the Lismore Base Hospital for evidence following a fatal shooting in 2019.

 

After his treatment, Mr Johnstone, who was hand and ankle cuffs, was being escorted by two correctional service officers back to the transport van.

While approaching the van, he assaulted one the officers and attempted to run away.

Mr Johnstone managed to escape and run across Uralba St, Lismore as one officer followed in pursuit.

The second officer, who was the only officer armed, fired two warning shots before firing the third fatal shot at Mr Johnstone, hitting him in his back.

He was treated immediately by hospital staff but died two hours later.

The inquest heard on Thursday the coroner, Magistrate Therese O'Sullivan, had concluded evidence she had heard throughout the inquest had crossed the threshold of what could be deemed as an indictable offence.

"A five-volume brief of evidence was tendered on the first day of the inquest and I've reviewed that material," Magistrate O'Sullivan said.

"After having regard to all the evidence before me at this stage I have formed the opinion the threshold in the Coroner's Act in sec 78 has been reached.

"I am going to refer this matter the DPP."

Magistrate O'Sullivan made the decision to refer her findings over the DPP and suspend the inquest until the DPP's investigation is concluded or a verdict has been delivered by a jury.

"I will forward the DPP a signed statement of the name of the known person and the particulars of the indictable offence.

"It's a matter for the DPP to make a determination and I hope that happens as soon as possible.

"This inquest is now suspended."


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