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WA Police took six hours to advise family of Indigenous man's death in custody

Giovanni Torre -

Questions in Western Australian parliament have revealed WA Police took almost six hours to inform the family of Noongar man Wayne Ugle that he had died in custody.

Mr Ugle, a 41-year-old father of three, died at 11.03am on 6 November at Hakea Prison.

Under questions from Liberal MP Peter Collier in WA's legislative council, the WA government revealed this week that the Department of Justice advised WA Police of his death at 1.33pm that same day, 2.5 hours later, and requested that they notify the Next of Kin in accordance with standard operating procedure.

Mr Collier, and parliament, heard from a representative for the Minister for Police, Paul Papalia, that WA Police advised the Ugle family of Mr Ugle's death at 7.30pm that day - almost six hours after the Department advised WA Police and requested they notify the family.

Members of Mr Ugle's family and justice advocates said earlier this week that Mr Ugle had asked for medication before his death and his requests were ignored.

Mr Collier also asked when the results of the internal investigation into Mr Ugle's death would be made public.

A representative of Mr Papalia, who also holds the Corrective Services portfolio, said the Department of Justice will conduct an internal investigation into the circumstances surrounding Mr Ugle's death, including consideration of his medical conditions.

"The Coroner will also conduct an inquest into Mr Ugle's death, in line with normal practice," they said.

Mr Papalia is a member of the legislative assembly, Western Australia's lower house, which is why another Member responded to Mr Collier on his behalf.

Justice advocate Megan Krakouer told National Indigenous Times, in relation to the statements to date from authorities on the death of Mr Ugle, that "the untruths are shocking".

A spokesperson for WA Police told National Indigenous Times: "As this matter is subject to a Coronial report, we are unable to make further comment."

Wayne Ugle. Image: Supplied by Mr Ugle's family.

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