Over the last 30 years, an Aboriginal Australian dies in custody every month on average. In December 2015, my worst nightmare came true when I received the call telling me that my youngest son David had become one of them.
My name is Leetona Dungay, I am from Kempsey NSW, and I am determined to see justice for my son.
David was being held at Long Bay Gaol in Sydney. By December, he had almost finished his sentence and was looking forward to coming home. From what I’ve learned through the Coronial Inquest, I know that he died surrounded by six guards, gasping for air as he screamed for help. Parts of the episode were caught on video, so I had to watch my child’s last moments as he screamed “I can’t breathe!” as the guards continued to press on his neck. I cannot describe how hard that was to watch.
Over the last three years, we have been to two sessions of the Coronial Inquest, dozens of marches, and countless legal consultations. Since David died in Sydney, a long way from his home in Kempsey, most of these events have been in Sydney. Constantly travelling has made finding work difficult, and the legal and travel costs have been piling up. I have a big family here in Kempsey, and it is important that as many of us as possible come to the Inquest sessions to spread our message, but it does get very expensive when 30 people are involved.
In September 2019, the NSW Coroner presented his findings on the Inquest. He decided that the Corrective Services officers were not responsible for my son’s death, despite the video evidence.
I cannot accept this ruling, and I have made an appeal to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), and will not stop until the NSW government accepts responsibility for the murder of my son.
I need help to continue my fight for David’s justice. Please donate to help us show the government that David is not just a statistic; that he was loved, and that he did not deserve to die in prison and to help our family recover from the shock of David’s death.
This fight is obviously personal for me, but it also represents a key case in the broader Aboriginal Deaths in Custody movement. Never before have Corrective Services officers been caught in the act like this, with video evidence. I want the DPP to consider charging the officers for my son’s death, if that happens, it will be a win for all deaths in custody, setting the precedent that prison guards cannot get away with murder.
Funds received from this page will cover the ongoing expenses of our campaign. Expenses include travel costs to attend rallies and campaign events around our country. It will also cover legal expenses, accommodation and food for my family while we are campaigning. Additional funds will also be used to cover the cost of David’s headstone, and to assist me and my family with the necessities of our lives such as health care and accomodation: to help us to get back on our feet after this painful and traumatic experience.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has given to this campaign so far, and anyone reading this now.
Justice for David Dungay!
- Grace Coppola
- Miss Cairo