How The State Killed My Brother
By Christopher J. Holcroft
On Thursday, 27th August 2009 Mark Holcroft died while being transported in a New South Wales Department of Corrective Services prison van to a minimum security jail.
Almost 70 years before Mark took his final breath, the last man to be legally hanged in the State met his fate for a vicious crime. Was he the last person in NSW to die by capital punishment or was it Mark?
Mark had been found guilty of drink driving offences and was on his way to begin his sentence on a prison farm - instead he died in the 'care' of the State.
Corrective Services never contacted the family about Mark's death. Police only made contact with Mark's surviving relatives after a State Government employee told them to 'go look for him.'
How was it the family knew graphically how Mark died long before Police evidence was made available? How did the family know the outcome of the subsequent Inquest almost a year before it took place?
Mark left a lasting legacy that prisoners throughout NSW toast daily. What pushed the Government to usher in a new cultural change throughout Corrective Services?
ABC Lateline program
On March 2nd 2010, Lateline aired a news story regarding the death in custody of Mark with a special re-creation of events. Reporter Steve Canaan worked with my family for some time to gather the information and interview former inmates who were with my brother as he died. This story was aired in the Coroner's Court at Wagga Wagga during the Inquest.
Following Steve's story, presenter Leigh Sales interviewed law professor Chris Cunneen about the legalities of the event. This ABC story was the powder keg to light up the Media regarding the death of Mark and was followed by national and State stories of Mark's tragic death.
Click on the Lateline photo to be taken to the ABC transcript of the program.
ABC Journalist Karl Hoerr followed up on Mark's story and his film is still available on YouTube by clicking here
Hear My Roar! How The State Killed My Brother is expected to be published in 2014.
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My Roar! How The State Killed My Brother For PCs
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