Black Death (in Custody)


Black Death is an ABC Four Corners investigation into the deaths of John Pat and three other Aboriginal men in police custody in Western Australia.

The program helped crystallise the growing unease about black deaths in custody and precipitated the setting up of a Royal Commission that investigated more than 100 Aboriginal deaths in custody throughout Australia.

At the time of the broadcast Western Australian police rejected the documentary, claiming it was "biased, unfair and untrue reporting" and banned ABC reporters from their briefings.


David Marr - Reporter
Andrew Olle - Presenter
Release dates
September 1985 - Australia
1986 Walkley Award: Best TV Current Affairs Report
PG - Parental guidance
Nick Wood

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View article sources (1)

[1] 'Tele-ology: Studies in Television', John Hartley, Routledge, 2003, p. 61

Harvard citation

Korff, J 2020, Black Death (in Custody), <>, retrieved 17 May 2021

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