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March 2, 2021

Inquest into fatal shooting of Dwayne Johnstone in Lismore suspended

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The inquest into that began in Ballina on Tuesday into the shooting death of Indigenous man Dwayne Johnstone outside Lismore Base Hospital in March 2019 has been suspended.

Mr Johnstone, a 43-year-old Wiradjuri man, was handcuffed and shackled when he was shot in the back as he tried to escape.

According to reports at the time, ‘The male inmate assaulted one of two officers and attempted to run away as he was being led from the hospital following treatment at about 7.30pm, Friday 15 March’.

Mr Johnstone ‘received immediate treatment by paramedics’ for the single shot wound but died two hours later.

According to The Guardian report, ‘State coroner Teresa O’Sullivan suspended the inquest on Thursday after referring a known person to the NSW director of public prosecutions…

‘Johnstone had been taken into custody earlier in the day after being denied bail for assault charges.

‘He suffered from epilepsy and appeared to have a seizure in the cells at Lismore local court in the afternoon.

‘Johnstone had disclosed childhood sexual abuse at school and in state care to his parents and was participating in a civil claim against a boys’ home at the time of his death, Dwyer said.

‘“There is little doubt that those traumas impacted deeply upon Dwayne in his adult life,” she [O’Sullivan] said.

“He was a father who was much loved by his parents and siblings, and was funny and warm,” she said.’

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  1. It sounds like this poor man is going to receive justice eventually. But nothing will bring him back to his family. So extremely sad.

  2. Honestly l don’t get why police can’t just shoot someone resisting arrest in the leg to bring them down. Then the victim can live and let the justice system decide their fate. I am sick in my heart of hearing unarmed people usually with mental disorders and especially Black getting killed by police. Another family in mourning now with no chance of an end to their grief.

  3. OMG this poor man is now dead due to police brutality. Why shoot at a man in handcuffs & shackled?? When I first heard this I thought it was in that insane nation called America? I could not believe that even our police here would shoot a prisoner in the back, when cuffed & shackled.Why has this ‘enquiry’ been suspended ??? He obviously could not out run them , so why execute him ?? An echidna could have out raced this guy , so why …why would the cops murder him in broad daylight ?? Does this demonstrate that the police feel they have impunity & realise that the ‘system’ will always defend them? WHAT A TRAGIC OUTCOME FOR HIS FAMILY, they will no doubt be asking how long will this abuse go on…& on & on ? Hopefully the Indigenous community is organising a protest, if they have the mental capacity after having to deal with their intense grief.I’ll be there…..

  4. Words escapee me to express my disbelief and sorrow over reading this article. Obviously we are not privy to all the facts but I too fail to understand why someone handcuffed and shackled, could not have been apprehended, without shooting him. We put great trust in our police and military forces under the impression that they are trained professionals. Nothing about this story lends credence to this trust and I cannot but wonder when Lismore became part of the southern states America.


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