Family of Cleveland Dodd reeling after watchdog determines no corruption or misconduct involved in his death

Tyler Mitchell By Tyler Mitchell Jun3,2024
Warning: this article includes the name and image of an Aboriginal person who has died. It also discusses distressing themes, including suicide.
The family of Cleveland Dodd have been left “dismayed and disappointed” after an independent corruption watchdog determined there was no misconduct or corruption involved in his death.
The Yamatji teenager was found unresponsive in a defective cell at Unit 18 in Casuarina Prison in the early hours of October 12.

He died eight days later in hospital.

The 16-year-old’s death was the first juvenile death in custody in Western Australia.
It was reported that before his passing, Mr Dodd made eight threats of self-harm, requested medical help multiple times and interfered with surveillance of his cell.
WA’s Corruption and Crime Commission (CCC) investigated serious misconduct allegations against correctional officers who were on duty at the time Mr Dodd self-harmed.
The report was tabled in state parliament on Tuesday, and determined that there was ““.
The report determined that the cell was defective because “young people destroy them”.

“They are repaired and then damaged again,” it read.

It noted that Mr Dodd had been placed in that particular cell because it was available to be used and there was “no serious misconduct involved in the decision to keep him there”.
The report also determined that staff had not ignored Mr Dodd’s multiple threats of self-harm.
“While they were not recorded as they should have been, they were not disregarded,” it read.
It found that officers had responded to Mr Dodd’s final two threats within one minute.

Allegations of falsified welfare check entries were also made against officers on duty. However, the Commission determined they were made “inattentively, but not corruptly”.

‘State investigates state’


People hold placards during a rally calling for justice following the death of Cleveland Dodd. Credit: AAP Image/Aaron Bunch Source: AAP / AARON BUNCH/AAPIMAGE

Mr Dodd’s family voiced their frustrations at the CCC’s findings.

It “absolved staff of serious misconduct in relation to his death, without apparent evidentiary basis”, they said in a statement.
“The evidence is clear cut – that YCO [Youth Correctional Officers] made false entries to record that they had conducted welfare checks on the late Cleveland Dodd on the night of his death.
“The CCC has stated that the false entries must have been the result of inattention, rather than dishonesty.”
The family shared their anger at the Commission’s rejection of allegations Mr Dodd was harmed because of neglect despite acknowledging staff were aware of hanging points in his cell, failed to remove the CCTV obstructions, and denied his request for water.
They also acknowledged the state’s decision to transfer Mr Dodd from Banksia Hill to Unit 18 due to his ‘complex needs’ and that staff seemed to “not appear to have made any reasonable adjustments”.

Senior Partner of Levitt Robinson, Stewart Levitt is representing the family, and said the report is an example of “state investigates state”.

Hope remains for Coronial Inquest

Mr Dodd’s mother, Nadene, said she was “dismayed and disappointed” by the findings, but that she had not given up hope.
“[I hope] that the coronial inquest into Cleveland’s tragic death will shine a light on how impatient, unempathetic and unprofessional the staff at Unit 18 were in the lead up to and aftermath of, my son’s death”
The CCC report will be handed to the Coroner, for their determination.
Commissioner John McKechnie acknowledged the scope of the CCC’s investigation, saying that it would not make recommendations to the Department of Justice, as that is the place of the Coronial Inquest.
“Its focused nature means this report may not answer all questions raised by the tragic death of this young man, nor satisfy anyone looking for quick or simple solutions.”

The next hearing for the Coronial Inquest into Mr Dodd is set for July.

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Tyler Mitchell

By Tyler Mitchell

Tyler is a renowned journalist with years of experience covering a wide range of topics including politics, entertainment, and technology. His insightful analysis and compelling storytelling have made him a trusted source for breaking news and expert commentary.

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