Over the last 30 years, an Aboriginal Australian dies in custody at least once a month on average. In December 2015, my worst nightmare came true when I received the call telling me that my youngest son David had become one of them.
My name is Leetona Dungay, I am from Kempsey NSW, and I am determined to see justice for my son.
David was being held at Long Bay Gaol in Sydney. By December, he had almost finished his sentence and was looking forward to coming home. From what I’ve learned through the Coronial Inquest, I know that he died surrounded by six guards, gasping for air as he screamed for help. Parts of the episode were caught on video, so I had to watch my child’s last moments as he screamed “I can’t breathe!” as the guards continued to press on his neck. I cannot describe how hard that was to watch.
The Campaign So Far
Over the last five years, we have been to two sessions of the Coronial Inquest, dozens of marches, and countless legal consultations.
In September 2019, the NSW Coroner presented his findings on the Inquest. He decided that the Corrective Services officers were not responsible for my son’s death, despite the video evidence.
I cannot accept this ruling, and will not stop until the NSW government accepts responsibility for the murder of my son. I made an appeal to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) in 2020 to investigate the Coroner's ruling, but they have failed to start the investigation, despite claiming to be an independent body. With the help of overseas lawyers, I have made a complaint to the United Nations Human Rights Committee in Geneva, who are now considering my submission. If they take on the case, I may have the opportunity to travel to Geneva to tell my story.
On this journey, I have found solidarity with other families who have suffered similar experiences. I am very humbled to be invited to visit George Floyd's family I'm Minnesota. If this campaign is successful, I would like to travel there to strengthen Australia's bond with the Black Lives Matter in the US.
This fight is obviously personal for me, but it also represents a key case in the broader Aboriginal Deaths in Custody movement. Never before have Corrective Services officers been caught in the act like this, with video evidence. If the DPP can convict the officers for my son’s death, it will be a win for all deaths in custody, setting the precedent that prison guards cannot get away with murder.
I need help to continue my fight for David’s justice. Please donate to help us show the government that David is not just a statistic; that he was loved, and that he did not deserve to die in prison.
Funds received from this page will cover the ongoing expenses of our campaign. Expenses include travel costs to campaign events within Australia for my family members and me. The opportunity to travel to Minnesota or Geneva would be life-changing, and increase the global scrutiny on our justice system.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has given to this campaign so far, and anyone reading this now.
Justice for David Dungay!