WHS charges over detention centre death (Media release)
10 March 2021
The Department of Home Affairs and its healthcare provider International Health and Medical Services (IHMS) have been charged with breaching Commonwealth work health and safety laws over the death of a man in immigration detention.
Following an investigation by regulator Comcare, the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions has filed two charges each against Home Affairs and IHMS alleging they failed in their duties under the federal Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (WHS Act).
The charges relate to an incident on 4 March 2019 where a 26-year-old Iraqi national took his own life at Sydney’s Villawood Immigration Detention Centre.
It is alleged that Home Affairs and IHMS failed to provide and maintain a safe system of work at the facility as part of their health and safety duties that extend to detainees.
It is also alleged that Home Affairs and IHMS failed to provide necessary training, information and supervision to mental health staff in relation to their care for the detainee.
Each charge is a Category 2 offence under the WHS Act, carrying a maximum penalty of $1.5 million.
The matter is listed for mention in Sydney’s Downing Centre Local Court on 27 April 2021.
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