My colleague, Karina Goodall and I acted for the mother of two young Aboriginal brothers who were tragically killed on 5 January 2021 when they were hit by a speeding, out-of-control car as they were walking on a footpath in Wellington, in rural New South Wales.
Our client and two other boys were seriously injured in the accident.
When our client was released from hospital she was informed by her ex-partner, the boys‘ father, that he intended to arrange for their sons to be cremated so that he and our client could share their ashes. He lives in far north Queensland.
This caused our client tremendous grief and angst as it is tradition for Aboriginal people to be buried at a final resting place to allow their spirits to enter Mother Earth and to ensure that they will remain ‘on country’.
Our client wanted her sons to be buried in Wellington, where they had lived for most of the young lives, as their final resting place so that their spirits can enter into the Dreamtime.
Also, by having her sons buried in Wellington, their relatives and others in the Aboriginal community could visit them and maintain a close connection with them.
Our client’s ex-partner refused her request and insisted that the boys be cremated.
Karina and I commenced an action for our client in the Supreme Court of New South Wales to allow a Judge to resolve the dispute.
The matter came on for a hearing expeditiously because the boys’ bodies were being kept by the coroner, pending the outcome of the dispute.
The case was heard by Justice Sackar on 17 February 2021.
He handed down his Judgment, in favour of our client on 24 February 2021.
(Frail v Shorey and Anor (2021) NSWSC 122)
The Judgment has allowed our client to finally be able to lay her young sons to rest in Wellington where they will forever be close to their Aboriginal community, including their mother, grandparents and other relatives who will be laid to rest with them when their time comes.
Written by Tom Goudkamp.
Tom Goudkamp is Managing Director of Stacks Goudkamp. He has over 40 years of experience of successfully bringing compensation claims for people injured in motor vehicle accidents.