Coroner's Court of Western Australia

Inquest into the Death of Ali JAFFARI

Inquest into the Death of Ali JAFFARI

Delivered on :7 January 2019

Delivered at : Perth

Finding of : Coroner King

Recommendations :N/A

Orders/Rules : N/A

Suppression Order : N/A

Summary : The deceased entered Australia in October 2010 as an illegal maritime arrival and was granted a protection visa in January 2012. In May 2014 the protection visa was cancelled due to criminal charges. He was detained at Yongah Hill Immigration Detention Centre from 16 December 2014 until his death on 16 December 2015.

In the first half of 2015 the deceased’s mental state deteriorated, with paranoid ideation, persecutory delusions and isolation in his room. He believed that his own countrymen would attempt to kill him, and he was xenophobic and paranoid of people with dark skin. He was assessed as a high risk of harm to others and passive risk to himself.

On 21 August 2015 the deceased cut the front of his neck with a razor and told detention centre staff that he did wanted to die. He was treated at Northam Regional Hospital and then transferred to Royal Perth Hospital (RPH) where a psychiatric assessment found no evidence of psychotic, depressive or organic illness. His suicide attempt was considered to be the result of the long detention.

On 4 September 2015 the deceased notified staff that he wished to be returned home to Afghanistan. He appeared to be at peace with himself.

On 11 September 2015 the deceased ingested shampoo and re-opened his previous neck wound with a plastic knife. Psychiatric assessment a RPH found that he was of sound mind but had self-harmed as a political statement related to being in a detention centre. He was at high risk of self-harm. He was discharged back to Yongah Hill for regular psychiatric follow-up.

On 12 September 2015 the deceased was moved into a compound where he would be close to his associates. On 15 September 2015 he was in his room or a friend’s room, walked around the common area, or was had meals. At 9.20 pm the deceased went to the common area for a walk with an associate and then returned to his compound. The deceased’s associate was not allowed to enter the compound, which upset the deceased. Another associate walked him to his room and sat with him for a few minutes. Minutes after the associate left the room, a fire broke out in the deceased’s locked room and smoke could be seen.

Detention centre staff rushed to the scene and found the deceased lying unconscious in the locked bathroom, covered with a burning blanket. They pulled him outside and administered first aid. Ambulance officers took him to Fiona Stanley Hospital where he died from thermal injuries on the next day.

The focus of the inquest was on the means by which the fire had started and on the supervision, treatment and care provided to the deceased while he was in immigration detention, particularly in relation to treatment for potential mental illness and any associated risk of self-harm or suicide.

The Coroner was satisfied that the deceased had ignited flammable material and had caused himself thermal injuries which caused his death.

The Coroner found that the supervision, treatment and care of the deceased at Yongah Hill was reasonable and appropriate in the context of detention.

Catch Words: Immigration Detention Centre : Mental Health : Suicide : Fire : Thermal Injuries

Last updated: 30-Apr-2019

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