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Coroner due to report on Hickey's death

Extract from Australian Broadcasting Corporation - ABC Online, on 17 August 2004


The New South Wales coroner is due to hand down his findings today from the inquest for Aboriginal teenager Thomas 'TJ' Hickey, whose death sparked the Redfern riot earlier this year.

Mr Hickey, 17, died after crashing his bike and becoming impaled on a fence in February.

Claims that police were chasing the teenager at the time helped fuel the nine-hour Redfern riot on the same weekend.

In a two-week inquest last month, coroner John Abernethy heard evidence from some of the police officers who had seen Mr Hickey shortly before he died.

Counsel for the Hickey family recommended the coroner find police were following the teenager and had deliberately lied about their actions.

On the other hand, counsel for the police said the officers involved should be praised for their efforts to save Mr Hickey's life.

The counsel assisting the coroner recommended he find that while the evidence of two police officers lacked candour, police were not directly or indirectly responsible for the teenager's death.

New South Wales police say they will release an internal report into the riot once the coroner delivers his findings on Mr Hickey's death.

Part of the report was leaked to the media last week.

The review found that police had faulty riot gear, equipment was not ready when needed, the police helicopter was not available and the command structure did not work.

Last week, senior police said they had identified problems with the response and were working to fix them.

The report also recommended that police consider the use of "more forceful" tactics, such as the use of long-range capsicum spray, to tackle riots.


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