An inquest into the death of an Indigenous inmate who jumped a fence during a hospital transfer in NSW has been told the incident was “avoidable”.
WARNING: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander readers are advised that this article contains an image of a person who has died.
Bailey Mackander, 20, was on remand in the Central Coast’s Kariong Correctional Centre for drug and driving offences when he was taken to Gosford Hospital in November 2019.
NSW Deputy Coroner Elaine Truscott heard Mr Mackander had reported swallowing batteries and razor blades.
The court was shown CCTV of Mr Mackander arriving at the hospital’s ambulance bay on the evening of November 5.
When leaving about 20 minutes later, a barefoot and shackled Mr Mackander managed to jump over a concrete wall near the ambulance bay, despite being escorted by two prison officers.
Mr Mackander died the following day.
The court was also shown photographs of the ambulance bay taken after the incident, which included a large black grill erected on the cement wall that was not in place when Mr Mackander jumped.
During evidence from the officer in charge of the investigation, Senior Constable Jesse Mears, the court heard the incident was “avoidable” partly because of the absence of the grill.
But Senior Constable Mears said another factor was “the way he was escorted”.
“The gaps that Corrective Services officers left between Bailey and themselves was the one (thing), and the other was the treatment I guess he received at the hospital,” he said.
The court heard an autopsy revealed there were “objects” in his abdomen and the inquest will examine issues including Mr Mackander’s care on the day of the incident and the day prior.
The court was told that not long before his death, mother Tracey Mackander tried to speak with prison staff about her son’s condition and express concern, but Mr Mackander hadn’t completed the necessary forms to allow them to speak with her.
Mr Mackander struggled with drug use and first spent time in jail in 2015, before what his father described as a “never-ending cycle” of deterioration and improvement.
During his time on remand in September 2019, Mr Mackander was “desperate to be released” after being told his case would be adjourned until January 2020.
He had asked to be assessed as mentally unwell so as to avoid being held in prison.
Senior Constable Meares described “difficulties” liaising with Corrective Services for the investigation, mostly around securing copies of their standard operating procedures for inmate transfers and escapees.
Some documents were delayed and others weren’t provided at all, he said.
The inquest is expected to run for a full week before resuming in July.
Source: Thanks msn.com