Jobs Events Advertise

Directions hearing commences into death in custody of Noongar man

Dechlan Brennan -

The following article contains the name of a person who has died

A directions hearing into the death of a 28-year-old Noongar man who died in the aftermath of a police pursuit and arrest began in Melbourne on Tuesday.

Jeffrey Winmar was hospitalised after the pursuit on November 9 and never recovered, passing away on November 11 from a suspected cardiac arrest.

The Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service (VALS) said multiple police units, including the canine unit attended his house for a planned arrest.

Victorian Police said paramedics were called after Mr Winmar suffered a "suffered a medical episode," in the aftermath of the arrest and was taken to hospital.

In a statement, the Victorian Police said a man was wanted in relation to an ongoing investigation.

"As officers attempted to arrest the 28-year-old, he ran from the scene and was located a short time later in a backyard…" they said.

During the hearing, the Age reported Mr Winmar was handcuffed as he lost consciousness, came to and then collapsed again before a cancelled ambulance was called a second time.

VALS said Mr Winmar's family are "concerned about the conduct and accountability of police during the arrest and his pursuit".

"They have received inconsistent information from police and are seeking answers as to his treatment during his pursuit, apprehension and arrest," VALS said.

VALS CEO and Yorta Yorta and Narrandjeri woman, Nerita Waight, said VALS would support the family during the inquest into Mr Winmar's death.

"Jeffrey's family deserve answers and they deserve justice," Ms Waight said.

"Aboriginal people in Victoria are more likely to be arrested, incarcerated and to die in custody compared to non-Aboriginal people."

The Age reported counsel assisting the coroner, Lindsay Spence said body-worn camera footage from the dog handler showed Winmar saying "please don't let the dog bite me, please don't let him bite me" before kneeling on the ground, collapsing and losing consciousness.

Mr Winmar lost consciousness twice, the second time resulting in him being admitted to the intensive care unit at Box Hill hospital, where he passed away on November 11.

Mr Winmar's mother, Ursulla Winmar, said all her son wanted to do "was to come home and look after his son, to be a good father".

"Now the family chain is broken all of a sudden and I've been robbed of a son, he had so much left to give to us, and we still need him," she said.

"I want the police to account for what happened under their watch."

VALS said there has been at least 555 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Deaths in Custody since the 1991 Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody.

They stated 19 of those "unjust" deaths occurred in 2023, and Jeffrey "is one of the three Noongar people who have died in custody this past month".

Mr Winmar was remembered as a family man with an "infectious smile" who was the protector for his younger siblings.

His father, Jeffrey Anderson, described Mr Winmar as a "beacon of positivity" and someone who "carried his culture and his strong belief in Christianity with him everywhere he went".

He reiterated the view that the family had been left in the dark around the details of his son's death, receiving limited and at times, conflicting, information.

"There is a lot we don't know about the circumstances leading up to Jeffrey's passing," Mr Anderson said.

"We have been told conflicting information and we are waiting for answers about what happened.

"With the support of the Aboriginal community in Victoria, Western Australia and across the country, we will fight for justice for our Jeffrey."

The case will return to court in June for another directions hearing.

13YARN 13 92 76

Aboriginal Counselling Services 0410 539 905


Rolfe recorded 46 use-of-force incidents during stint
A Northern Territory police officer who shot dead an Indigenous teenager recorded 46 use-of-force incidents between 2016 and 201...
Neve Brissenden 23 Feb 2024
Man involved in Old Parliament House fire avoids prison
A man involved in a blaze at Old Parliament House that caused millions of dollars in damage has been sentenced to an 18-month su...
Ipswich State High rugby league girls excel in empowering event with Iron Traks
On Thursday, Year 11 and 12 Rugby League girls from Ipswich State High participated in a collaborative event by Iron Traks, Wome...
Joseph Guenzler 23 Feb 2024
Directions hearings continue ahead of inquest into 2021 death in custody of young mum
The latest directions hearings concerning a 30-year-old Yamatji, Noongar, Wongi and Pitjantjatjara woman who died in custody at...
Jarred Cross 23 Feb 2024

   Dechlan Brennan   

Experts say MP's approach to NT youth crime is not evidence-based
Experts have criticised calls from Labor MP Marion Scrymgour for the NT to show “tough love” to juvenile offenders, arguing her...
Dechlan Brennan 23 Feb 2024
Mick Gooda says PM should have adopted "watered down" Voice to secure bipartisan support
Former Australian Human Rights Commissioner and prominent Yes campaigner Mick Gooda says the Prime Minister and fellow Yes campa...
Dechlan Brennan 23 Feb 2024
First Nations Business Trade Fair back in Naarm
The First Nations Business Trade Fair in Naarm was held on Wednesday, on the banks of the Birrarung (Yarra River). Hosted by Su...
Dechlan Brennan 23 Feb 2024
'There need to be consequences for actions' : Legal groups condemn NSW police after guilty officer keeps job
Legal groups in NSW say they are concerned a police officer found guilty of assaulting an Indigenous teenager is still employed...
Dechlan Brennan 22 Feb 2024