John Peter Pat: The RCIADIC enquiry

Essay by missdvsUniversity, Bachelor'sB, July 2006

download word file, 13 pages 3.0


In 1987, the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody (RCIADIC) was established to investigate 99 Aboriginal deaths that occurred while in police custody or prison (McDonald, 1999). From this investigation, the commission established a vivid profile of the lives of those who died - mostly young people who had experienced unemployment, inadequate education, separation from their families, early contact with the criminal justice system, poor health, problems with alcohol, as well as social and economic disadvantage (McDonald, 1999). Today, Indigenous people are still heavily over-represented in custody and ultimately the cause of so many deaths in custody. In this paper I will be explaining the criminalisation and imprisonment of John Peter Pat from Roebourne, Western Australia - one of the 99 Aboriginal deaths in custody that the RCIADIC investigated. John Pat died on 28 September, 1983, in a police station lockup after receiving closed head injuries (Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody, 1991).

In this paper, my aims are to identify five major factors that explain John Pat's pathway to crime and conflict with the law. To do this I will begin by describing the life of John Pat and how he came to end up in police custody. A summary of the Commissioners explanation of John Pat's pathways to crime will then be presented which will lead into my discussion, with the assistance of relevant secondary resources, of the five factors that explain John Pat's pathway to crime.

John Peter Pat

John Peter Pat was born on 31 October 1966 to Mavis Pat and Len Walley of Roebourne, located in the Pilbara region of Western Australia, 1500 kilometres north of Perth (RCIADIC & Johnston, 1991). The Pat family moved to Roebourne reserve when John was about nine after living at Mt Florence station. The...