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Research Guides


Aboriginal Deaths in Custody: The Royal Commission and its Records, 1987–91


5 Records of Counsel Assisting the Commission

The inquiries into the individual deaths were conducted under quasi-judicial conditions, with formal hearings at which interested parties (the family of the deceased, the State Government concerned, the Police and/or Prison Officers’ Union and individuals who may have been associated in some way with the death) were represented. In these hearings the individual Commissioner was assisted by Counsel.

As well as assisting with the day-to-day proceedings of the Commission, Counsel assisted with a number of rulings on jurisdiction which arose challenges were made by way of appeal to the Federal Court of Australia. The rulings of the Commissioners during the Commission’s hearings. In most cases jurisdictional rulings of Commissioners were accepted by the parties given leave to appear, but in a number of cases formal legal were upheld in each case.

RECORDS AT THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES
The Commission's records identified as those of Counsel Assisting are:
General correspondence records of M Dodson, Counsel Assisting, Northern Territory D4087
General correspondence records of G Barbaro, Instructing Solicitor, Northern Territory D4089
General correspondence records of M Jordan, Instructing Solicitor, Western Australia D4102
General correspondence records of K O'Brien, Counsel Assisting, Western Australia D4105
General correspondence records of D Wilson, National Solicitor National Solicitor's files D4110
National Solicitor's files D4111
Underlying issues response records, National Solicitor D4113
General correspondence records of C Caruana, Instructing Solicitor, Northern Territory, single number series D4114
General correspondence records of R Bleechmore, Counsel Assisting, South Australia D4128
General correspondence records of G Eames, QC, Counsel Assisting, South Australia D4136
General correspondence Records of D Allen, Instructing Solicitor, Northern Territory D4148
Miscellaneous research records of D Fyfe, Instructing Solicitor, South Australia D4149
GENERAL CORRESPONDENCE RECORDS OF M DODSON, COUNSEL ASSISTING, NORTHERN TERRITORY, SINGLE NUMBER SERIES, 1988–90
This series consists of original and copied material accumulated by Michael Dodson as Counsel assisting the Royal Commission. All of the files are related to the Northern Territory and include information relating to the education and coronial systems of the Northern Territory and also include material relating to such things as media, crime, and Commission exhibits and working papers.
Series: D4087
Quantity: 0.54 metres in Darwin
'White Man's Magic makes Black Deaths in Custody Disappear' D4087, 1
Economic development in NT Aboriginal communities June 1990 D4087, 11
Information relating to the Human Rights Commission, 1988–89 D4087, 40
Public access to the records: If any material from this series is sought the formal access arrangements must be applied (see page 12 of the Guide for an explanation of the formal access arrangements).
GENERAL CORRESPONDENCE RECORDS OF G BARBARO, INSTRUCTING SOLICITOR, NORTHERN TERRITORY, SINGLE NUMBER SERIES, 1988–90
This series consists of original and copied material accumulated by Geoffrey Barbaro as an Instructing Solicitor of the Royal Commission. All of the files are related to the Northern Territory and include information relating to resource material and cases in the Northern Territory and also include material relating to such things as meetings, guidelines and procedures.
Series: D4089
Quantity: 0.36 metres in Darwin
Resources, addresses, lists etc. D4089, 1
Meetings, discussion papers and reports D4089, 22
Notes of informal meeting at Yuendumu 18/10/1988 D4089, 38
Public access to the records: If any material from this series is sought the formal access arrangements must be applied (see page 12 of the Guide for an explanation of the formal access arrangements).
GENERAL CORRESPONDENCE RECORDS OF M JORDAN, INSTRUCTING SOLICITOR, WESTERN AUSTRALIA, SINGLE NUMBER SERIES, 1988–90
These files consist of administrative material accumulated by Margaret Jordan, Instructing Solicitor, during the course of the RCIADIC. They consist mainly of material relating to legal issues and correspondence with other concerned bodies. The files also include some overview issues, as well as material such as reports and administrative minutes.
Series: D4102
Quantity: 1.8 metres in Perth
Overview file D4102, 1
Media D4102, 52
Port Hedland notes D4102, 73
Public access to the records: If any material from this series is sought the formal access arrangements must be applied (see page 12 of the Guide for an explanation of the formal access arrangements).
GENERAL CORRESPONDENCE RECORDS OF K O'BRIEN, COUNSEL ASSISTING, WESTERN AUSTRALIA, SINGLE NUMBER SERIES, 1988–90
These eighteen files consist of material accumulated by Ms Kate O'Brien, Counsel Assisting the Commission in the Western Australian Office of the RCIADIC. They include terms of reference, procedures, research and notes made by Ms O'Brien relating to her work with the Commission.
Series: D4105
Quantity: 0.9 metres in Perth
General correspondence records of Kate O'Brien Western Australia – Counsel Assisting notes – delirium tremens by Doctor Hecker D4105, 1
General correspondence records of Kate O'Brien Western Australia – Counsel Assisting notes – terms of reference Part 2 D4105, 7
General correspondence records of Kate O'Brien Western Australia – Counsel Assisting notes – general (bundle 2) undated D4105, 11
Public access to the records: If any material from this series is sought the formal access arrangements must be applied (see page 12 of the Guide for an explanation of the formal access arrangements).
GENERAL CORRESPONDENCE RECORDS OF DIGBY WILSON, NATIONAL SOLICITOR, SINGLE NUMBER SERIES, 1988–90
These files consist mainly of working papers of Digby Wilson, National Solicitor of RCIADIC. The series deals with individual cases throughout Australia and includes general material relating to alcohol, violence, legal opinions, submissions and other related matters.
Series: D4110
Quantity: 3.78 metres in Adelaide
File G Eames Melbourne office – Darwin from 13/12/1988 D4110, 1
Commissioners' rulings 13/11/1987 D4110, 17
General Correspondence Records of Digby WILSON, National Solicitor: NSW Cases – Rulings on Jurisdiction D4110, 58
Public access to the records: If any material from this series is sought the formal access arrangements must be applied (see page 12 of the Guide for an explanation of the formal access arrangements).
NATIONAL SOLICITOR'S FILES, MULTIPLE NUMBER SERIES WITH 'NS' PREFIX, 1988–90
These files consist mainly of working papers of Digby Wilson, National Solicitor of RCIADIC. They appear similar to series A4110 except that they were all raised in South Australia and have a different system of control. The series also deals with individual cases throughout Australia as well as general material relating to alcohol, violence, legal opinions, submissions and other related matters.
Series: D4111
Quantity: 3.96 metres in Adelaide
South Australia: correspondence – general D4111, NS/1/1
South Australia: hypercard information – RID database information D4111, NS/9/8
South Australia: Queensland Royal Commission – appeals against rulings – Commissioner Wyvill D4111, NS/48
Public access to the records: If any material from this series is sought the formal access arrangements must be applied (see page 12 of the Guide for an explanation of the formal access arrangements).
UNDERLYING ISSUES RESPONSE RECORDS, NATIONAL SOLICITOR, ALPHANUMERIC SERIES WITH 'UI' PREFIX, 1988–90
This series is correspondence sent to the Commission dealing with underlying issues and the advice from the National Solicitor about what action should be taken. The letters are from a wide range of individuals, organisations and authorities. They are stored in manilla folders and have a title and number recorded on the cover.
Series: D4113
Quantity: 2.52 metres in Adelaide
2/1 – UI – N Greiner (Premier of NSW) A&B D4113, 1
4/40 – UI – Nanyetta Community Advancement Co-op Soc Ltd – Confidential D4113, 71
5/90 – UI – action for world development (Aboriginal Justice Support Group) D4113, 168
Public access to the records: If any material from this series is sought the formal access arrangements must be applied (see page 12 of the Guide for an explanation of the formal access arrangements).
GENERAL CORRESPONDENCE RECORDS OF C CARUANA, INSTRUCTING SOLICITOR, NORTHERN TERRITORY, SINGLE NUMBER SERIES
These twelve files consist mainly of general correspondence and working papers of Catherine Caruana, Instructing Solicitor for the Royal Commission in the Northern Territory. This series includes general material dealing with individual cases as well as material relating to discussion papers, resource material, legal opinions, submissions and other related matters.
Series: D4114
Quantity: 0.18 metres in Darwin
Aboriginal Issues Unit D4114, 1
Case summaries (undated) D4114, 4
Paper 'Doing Business – Socialisation, Social Relations and Social Control in Aboriginal Societies' May 1990 D4114, 12
Public access to the records: If any material from this series is sought the formal access arrangements must be applied (see page 12 of the Guide for an explanation of the formal access arrangements).
GENERAL CORRESPONDENCE RECORDS OF R BLEECHMORE, COUNSEL ASSISTING, SOUTH AUSTRALIA, SINGLE NUMBER SERIES, 1988–90
These files consist of general correspondence and working papers of Ralph Bleechmore, Counsel Assisting the Royal Commission in South Australia. This series includes general correspondence dealing with individual cases as well as material relating to discussion papers, South Australian Court Hearings, legal opinions, submissions and other related matters.
Series: D4128
Quantity: 3.4 metres in Adelaide
Transcripts of proceedings, Coronial Hearing Adelaide – pp. 1 to 129, 130 to 230 8/9/1989 D4128, 1
Session on Coronial matters – rulings as to representation by Counsel D4128, 36
Draft report Aboriginal Issues Unit June, 1990 D4128, 55
Public access to the records: If any material from this series is sought the formal access arrangements must be applied (see page 12 of the Guide for an explanation of the formal access arrangements).
GENERAL CORRESPONDENCE RECORDS OF G EAMES, QC, COUNSEL ASSISTING, SOUTH AUSTRALIA, SINGLE NUMBER SERIES, 1988–90
These files consist of general correspondence and working papers of Geoffrey Eames, QC, Counsel Assisting the Royal Commission, South Australia. Mr Eames was based in Adelaide and he concentrated on the South Australian and Northern Territory cases. This series includes general correspondence dealing with analysis of individual cases as well as material relating to discussion papers, reports, procedures, legal opinions, statements and other related matters.
Series: D4136
Quantity: 12.24 metres in Adelaide
Addresses D4136, 1
Discussion Dr E Young D4136, 212
NT Case material – Aboriginal organisations 15/9/1988 D4136, 1
Public access to the records: If any material from this series is sought the formal access arrangements must be applied (see page 12 of the Guide for an explanation of the formal access arrangements).
GENERAL CORRESPONDENCE RECORDS OF D ALLEN, INSTRUCTING SOLICITOR, NORTHERN TERRITORY, SINGLE NUMBER SERIES, 1988–90
These forty files consist mainly of general correspondence and working papers of David Allen, Instructing Solicitor for the Royal Commission in the Northern Territory. The series covers general correspondence about specific cases as well as material relating to criminal law, resource material, legal opinions, health and other related matters.
Series: D4148
Quantity: 4.26 metres in Darwin
Administration D4148, 1
Employment D4148, 15
Drafts – For national and regional reports and various papers relating D4148, 40
Public access to the records: If any material from this series is sought the formal access arrangements must be applied (see page 12 of the Guide for an explanation of the formal access arrangements).
MISCELLANEOUS RESEARCH RECORDS OF D FYFE, INSTRUCTING SOLICITOR, SOUTH AUSTRALIA, SINGLE NUMBER SERIES, 1988–90
These files consist mainly of general correspondence and working papers of Deborah Fyfe, Instructing Solicitor for the Royal Commission in the Northern Territory. The fifty files are divided into two main groups: one is regional material covering topics such as alcohol, culture, education, underlying issues and case records; the other material relates to the final reports and includes research information, coroners reports, police and prison material.
Series: D4149
Quantity: 2.34 metres in Adelaide
Aboriginal Issues Unit D4149, 1
Case material re: summaries, opening address, statements, medical records D4149, 20
Interim report – implementation D4149, 35
Public access to the records: If any material from this series is sought the formal access arrangements must be applied (see page 12 of the Guide for an explanation of the formal access arrangements).

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