5,000 NSW Corrective Services officers to strike today

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5,000 NSW Corrective Services officers to strike today

More than 5,000 NSW Corrective Services officers will be on Friday in response to one of their colleagues facing an upgraded murder charge over the fatal shooting of an inmate in 2019.

WARNING: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander readers are advised that this article contains the image of a person who has died.

Indigenous man Dwayne Johnstone, 43, had received treatment and was leaving Lismore Base Hospital in March 2019 when he tried to escape custody.

A Corrective Services officer fired three shots, with Johnstone dying of a single bullet wound, despite receiving medical care, an inquest has previously heard.

The officer, who can't be named due to a court suppression order, was previously charged with manslaughter.

A spokeswoman for the NSW Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions said all available evidence in this matter, including newly subpoenaed material, has been reviewed in preparation for the upcoming trial.

The Director has determined that the appropriate charge is one of murder. A duty of care will be provided to inmates, with commissioned officers still deployed on sites and critical legal visits allowed, according to the Public Service Association general secretary Stewart Little, who said members would strike from 6 am on Friday.

He said that the officer had an impeccable record and the original charge came as a shock and that our members look after over 12,000 inmates across the prison system.

When they have to take those inmates into the community, their job is to protect the community from those people. The events had caused members to question how they will deploy their weapons in the future, according to Mr Little.

He also called on the state government to support the very difficult and dangerous job they do.

Mr Little said that when you try to escape a weapon, you are told unambiguously that if you try to escape, the weapons carried by Corrective Services officers were not there for show. A magistrate asked the officer to surrender his passport and not travel outside Australia, so he was granted bail last year.

Kerry Crawford-Shanahan's mother, Kerry Crawford-Shanahan, had travelled from Sydney to Lismore for the hearing, only to be told it would take place in a closed court.

The case will go to court next month.