Highfold pamphlet.pub

The Case of John Highfold
(as discussed in A State of Injustice)
15 April 1988 – the Advertiser – Peter Hackett, “Coroner, police and pathologist criticised” 19 April 1988 – The Advertiser – Peter Hackett, “Expert The Highfold and Dixon cases are similar – both cases involved the death of aboriginal prisoners and in both 20 April 1988 – The Advertiser – Peter Hackett, “Prisoner’s cases their clothing went missing and could not be exam- ined. Both cases were the subject of a Coroner’s Inquest 21 April 1988 – The Advertiser – “Pathology test for gaol and subsequently were among the first cases dealt with by the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in 22 April 1988 – The Advertiser – “Epilepsy “may not” John Highfold
16 August 1988 – The Advertiser – “Coroner and police John Highfold, 30, was an Aboriginal man who was found dead in his cell at Adelaide Gaol on 4 January 25 January 1989 - Report into Aboriginal Deaths in Cus- [Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody – Report of the Inquiry into the death of John Highfold 25 2 February 1989 – The Advertiser – Peter Hackett, “Jail January 1989 – JH Muirhead Commissioner] officers face criticism over Dixon’s Death” He was known to be epileptic, and was being treated for it by medication. Dr Colin Manock commenced the au- topsy within two and a half hours of the death and deter- mined that the cause of death was a massive internal oedema in the lungs as a result of an epileptic seizure. An Inquest was held just four days later and the Coroner (Mr Ahern) found that Highfold died from ‘natural At the hearing of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody, the Senior Director of Neurology at Flinders Medical Centre in Adelaide, who was a special- ist on epilepsy, said that there was no test which could establish epilepsy as the cause of death. He said it was ‘circumstantial’ to conclude that Highfold had died from a seizure. He said it was quite possible that Highfold had not died from epilepsy as found by the Coroner -- he had never seen anyone die from a single epileptic seizure. He said that all the major organs should have been examined and the blood should have been tested for drugs, espe- cially Dilantin, which was being used to treat Highfold’s epilepsy. [The Advertiser, 19 April 1988] Dr Manock, he said, did not do that. Another doctor said topsy ‘with an open mind’. Dr Byron Collins, a consult- To know so much and see so little
that Highfold’s prison medical file ‘appeared to have ant pathologist retained by the lawyers for Highfold’s been lost’. It could not be found, and there was no record family to evaluate Dr Manock’s work, criticised in his The lawyer for Highfold’s family said that the deceased of it being passed to the Coroner and it was therefore report the lack of thoroughness of the autopsy, saying that had been buried in a pauper’s grave because the family doubtful if it was seen by the pathologist. His clothing the only major organ to be checked microscopically was had not been notified. A police officer agreed that his had also ‘gone missing’ and it was not therefore able to the brain. Dr Manock claimed in court, however, that he running sheets showed that no attempt had been made to had microscopically examined the heart and lungs as contact Highfold’s South Australian relatives. He agreed that, as the first police officer on the scene, he Cost was a factor
well. It was said that Dr Manock produced microscope slides from his pocket to show that he had done this, even had a responsibility to investigate the death. He said that Dr Manock told the Royal Commission that cost had though it was not noted in his report [Royal Commission he did not, however, seize Highfold’s clothing for ex- been a factor in deciding not to undertake the blood tests. Report and The Advertiser, 20 April and 21 April 1988]. amination. He had only interviewed one person, another He said that full toxicological testing could have cost inmate, on the day Highfold died. He did not seek to $2,000 (in 1988 terms). When asked if that would not Dr Collins told the Commissioner that a single section of examine a stain on the pillow, or the collar torn from his have revealed any poisoning, Dr Manock said that he did the heart was insufficient to exclude heart disease as a shirt, and did not receive, or seek to obtain, a copy of not do the test as Highfold did not have access to poison. cause of death. [See Royal Commission Report the autopsy report. ‘I never saw the body at all’, he said. Counsel Assisting the Commission told Dr Manock that ‘To me it seemed to be a simple death in custody. I did- this was an assumption. Testing could, however, have No need to look at all possibilities
n’t see anything at all at the time to indicate that it was a ruled out the possibility that Highfold had taken any death of a suspicious nature’. [The Advertiser, 15 April drugs or that they could have been administered to him Dr Collins said that the autopsy report did not canvass all possibilities. There was no toxicological analysis of the blood, which should have been examined for both alcohol The Royal Commissioner’s finding
Dr Manock said that because Highfold’s stomach was When the Royal Commissioner released his findings he empty, a drug overdose was unlikely. However, there are was critical of both Dr Manock and the Coroner, Mr many mechanisms by which drugs can get into some- Counsel Assisting the Commission asked Dr Manock Ahern. He said that the Coroner’s investigations had not one’s system. Absorption through the stomach is only that, where a prisoner is found in a cell with no apparent been thorough and that Highfold’s family had not been one of them. Dr Manock was asked why he had not tested cause of death, would he not agree that a heavy responsi- made aware of their right to be present at the inquiry. the level of Dilantin in the blood. This was the drug being bility is placed on the pathologist to examine and exclude used to control Highfold’s epilepsy, and the level found all possibilities? Dr Manock replied ‘No I would not’. He said that Dr Manock had regarded the autopsy as might help to determine if he was being properly looked He asked if it would be a failure by a pathologist not to ‘routine’ once it was concluded that the death was not after. Dr Manock said that the presence of Dilantin would gain access to the full medical records of a prisoner who suspicious. He had ‘relied perhaps too far on assump- not necessarily prevent a seizure, although the risk of had died in custody. Dr Manock said ‘Yes’. [The Adver- tions that had not been satisfactorily proven’ and had death would have been greater without it. He said that not made all relevant investigations. The administration cost was a factor here as well – $18.40 in 1983. of poisons or drugs could not be excluded as a cause of [See Royal Commission Report (Highfold), at 8.3] Counsel Assisting the Commission said the Coroner must death because no toxicological analyses were per- be criticised for not ensuring ‘more rigorous scrutiny’ of formed. He said that the likely cause was heart failure Epilepsy assumed?
Highfold’s death. No photographs were taken of his cell. due to a sudden change of heart rhythm (arrhythmia) Counsel Assisting the Commission said that by regarding His clothing was not retained and a torn shirt collar at- which resulted from a single epileptic fit and it was Highfold’s death as routine, Dr Manock’s approach had tracted no suspicion. This was not examined, nor was a probable that Dr Manock’s opinion as to the cause of been ‘inappropriate’ as part of vital investigations into a damp patch noted on his pillow. The police investigations death was incorrect. [See Royal Commission Report death in custody. Counsel asked Dr Manock if he began had been ‘quite inadequate’, counsel said. Counsel told the autopsy assuming the conclusion was to be death the Commissioner that it was ‘unfortunate’ that the Coro- from epilepsy. Dr Manock said he would start every au- ner’s inquiry had relied on written statements only. [The Advertiser, 16 August 1988. See also endnote 1, at 8.1]

Source: http://netk.net.au/pamphlets/Highfold.pdf


BEFORE THE ALASKA OFFICE OF ADMINISTRATIVE HEARINGS ON REFERRAL FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF ADMINISTRATION ORDER GRANTING SUMMARY ADJUDICATION S E is a retiree under the Teachers’ Retirement System (“TRS”) and is entitled to benefits of the AlaskaCare Retiree Health Plan (“Plan”). On September 26, 2007, Mr. E underwent radical retropubic prostatectomy surgery at the Mayo Clinic.


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