Aboriginal prisoner braindead after brawl with five guards

Wayne Morrison with sister

An Aboriginal inmate has been left braindead after an altercation with guards at a South Australian prison, his family says. Twenty-nine-year-old Wayne Morrison allegedly attacked five prison guards at Yatala Labour prison on Friday while waiting for a scheduled video-link court appearance. But Morrison’s sister Latoya Rule disputes the allegation, saying her brother, who is 1.52 metres tall, “was a non-violent fisherman and artist”. The sister says Morrison is on life support after he allegedly attacked five prison guards during a ‘critical incident’ at Yatala Labour prison. 


“This is beyond heartbreaking,” she posted on Facebook. “All prison officers involved have been released from the hospital with minor to no injuries, and my brother is brain dead and has no life left.”

The PerthNow website quotes Ms Rule saying she’s planning a series of national protests. “There definitely will be national protests – they will be happening,” she told a local newspaper. Ms Rule said doctors had told her family that Mr Morrison was brain-dead and would not wake from the incident, which happened in the prison’s admissions area.

Correctional Services, the authority in charge of prisons, said there was a violent altercation between a prisoner and guards on Friday and that the prisoner suffered an unspecified medical emergency while being brought under control. Two of the five guards involved suffered facial injuries including fractures. Not all of the guards have been released from hospital.


Major Crime Detectives are investigating the incident.

The Aboriginal Legal Rights Movement (ALRM) is calling for an independent investigation into the incident.

ALRM chief executive Cheryl Axleby said Morrison had been arrested only days earlier, and was waiting to be released on bail pending suitable accommodation.

She said it had been reported to ALRM that Morrison was "not breathing for some 50 minutes" before ambulance officers resuscitated him.

She said ALRM was concerned by the Department of Correctional Services (DCS) attempt to absolve itself of responsibility for his critical condition. 

ALRM seeks further explanation from the Department of Correctional Services as to how such a serious and critical incident occurred.

Correctional Services describes its role as follows:

The department’s vision is for ‘a safer community by protecting the public and reducing re-offending. Our mission is to 'contribute to public safety through the safe, secure and humane management of offenders and the provision of opportunities for rehabilitation and reintegration.’



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