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Cleveland Dodd's funeral set to proceed after last-minute backflip

Rhiannon Clarke -

Following a morning filled with chaos and distress, the funeral of Cleveland Dodd will proceed as planned.

In a surprising turn of events, authorities have reversed their last-minute decision to prevent the father of the teenager from attending.

The funeral, which was planned to take place on Friday morning in the remote town of Meekatharra, approximately 750km north-east of Perth, was called off by Cleveland's family because the Department of Justice withdrew their consent for his incarcerated father to attend.

It had previously been reported that Wayne, Cleveland's father, was moved from Geraldton prison to Meekatharra on Thursday night to help with the arrangements for his son's body.

Scheduled to attend the funeral on Friday under police supervision, Wayne, along with several of Cleveland's incarcerated relatives, were abruptly transported back to Greenough Regional Prison.

The Department of Justice cited "security and safety concerns" as the reason behind this last-minute decision.

Police spoke with members of Cleveland's family inside the town hall. (Image: Jake Sturmer/ABC News )

However the Corrective Services Commissioner has since reversed the decision, assuring Cleveland's father will be returned to Meekatharra to participate in the service, which is now scheduled to commence at 4pm.

In response to the crisis, the family held a meeting with the local police on Friday morning.

A Department of Justice spokesperson told the ABC It was always the Commissioner for Corrective Services' desire to facilitate the father's attendance at the funeral if it could be done safely.

"Today the family, WA Police and Corrective Services have come to a new agreement in relation to security and we can now support the family's request," the spokesperson said.

Cleveland's grandmother, Glenda Mippy, told the ABC she received word of the decision to prevent Cleveland's father from attending the funeral only a few hours prior to its scheduled commencement.

"They took his child from him, have the decency to send him to bury his child and put his son to rest," Ms Mippy said.

Ms Mippy (centre) hugs two other women before the planned funeral for her grandson. (Image: Jake Sturmer/ABC News)

"It is not right. It hurts a lot.

"When that phone call came through, all of us here, we all started crying.

"We're all here for one reason — to put Cleveland to rest. And we're not putting him to rest until his father is here beside him.

"Apparently they're saying it's safety for the guards and there are too many people in town. But I've got a large family, Nadine's side has a big family."

A large crowd assembled at a park located in the heart of the town upon learning about the unexpected delay in the funeral proceedings.

Numerous individuals expressed their confusion and bewilderment to the ABC regarding the department's untimely decision.

Hundreds had gathered in a Meekatharra park upon hearing of the funeral's postponement. (Image: Jake Sturmer/ABC News)

Within the town hall where the service was originally scheduled to take place, police officers were present and engaged in conversations with members of Cleveland's family.

"We were all together last night in the shire all having a vigil ... telling stories about Cleveland. There were no disagreements and there (aren't going) to be any," Ms Mippy said.

Cleveland passed away in the hospital on October 19, a week after he attempted suicide whilst detained in Unit 18 youth wing in Perth's maximum-security adult Casuarina Prison.

Following his death, Western Australian Premier, Roger Cook, and Corrective Services Minister, Paul Papalia, admitted Cleveland was "let down" by authorities.

A coronial inquest and Corruption and Crime Commission investigation is examining circumstances surrounding Cleveland's death.


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