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Inquest into death in custody of Josh Kerr begins

Giovanni Torre -

Warning: this story contains the name and image of a person who has died.

The coronial inquest into the death of Josh Kerr began in Victoria's Coroners Court on Monday morning.

Mr Kerr, 32, was a proud Yorta Yorta and Gunnai-Kurnai man, described by his family as a talented artist, a loved father, brother, son and cousin to many.

Mr Kerr's family held a smoking ceremony in front of the Coroner's Court prior to the inquest beginning.

Indigenous advocacy group Dhadjowa Foundation said before the inquest that Mr Kerr's family had encouraged supporters to attend the proceedings.

On 10 August 2022, Mr Kerr died in custody while on remand awaiting trial. Dhadjowa Foundation noted on Monday that in his last moments, he was locked in a medical unit cell at Port Phillip Prison, which "was supposed to be monitored by prison guards and health staff".

The Foundation said it took prison staff 18 minutes to get to Josh after his body became motionless and he could not be revived.

Earlier that day, he had been removed from St Vincent's hospital.

On Monday Coroner David Ryan acknowledged the presence of Mr Kerr's family, and the distressing nature of both the "circumstances of his passing" and the coronial inquest process.

More to come.

The late Mr Josh Kerr. Image: Dhadjowa Foundation.

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