NOTE: THIS STORY CONTAINS AN IMAGE OF A PERSON WHO HAS DIED
No charges will be laid against Victorian police involved in the death in custody of Yorta Yorta woman Tanya Day.
A coronial investigation found the grandmother’s death was clearly preventable.
The 55-year-old died in hospital more than two weeks after she repeatedly fell and hit her head in a Castlemaine police station. She was arrested for being drunk on a train in December 2017.
In April, coroner Caitlin English referred Ms Day’s death to prosecutors, saying there was evidence to suggest it may have amounted to negligent manslaughter.
On Thursday, Victoria Police said charges would not be laid against the officers involved, following advice from the Office of Public Prosecutions.
Ms Day’s family are devastated and angry.
“The two police officers who failed to properly check on our mum and instead left her to die on the floor of a police cell have been let off,” the family said in a statement released through the Human Rights Law Centre late on Wednesday.
“Our mum’s case shows why it’s wrong for police to be investigating the actions of their own colleagues.
“When someone dies at the hands of the police, the law should require a transparent investigation, so that there can be truth and accountability.”
Victoria Police said it acknowledged the family’s loss and suffering and would continue reviewing the coroners findings and recommendations.
Chief Commissioner Shane Patton said police could have done better in monitoring Ms Day’s welfare in custody.
“That is an independent decision made by the director, that’s not to say this wasn’t an absolute tragedy and that we could have done better,” he told 3AW on Thursday.
“I believe the door wasn’t opened in the cell to conduct checks, which should have occurred.”
Ms Day’s death prompted the state government to abolish the offence of public drunkenness.